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José Padilha shares his vision for “RoboCop,” clears up Michael Fassbender casting rumors

José Padilha shares his vision for “RoboCop,” clears up Michael Fassbender casting rumors (photo)

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Brazilian director José Padilha came to Fantastic Fest 2011 with his new movie “Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within,” the sequel to the controversial 2007 Brazilian blockbuster about dirty cops on the dirtier streets of Rio de Janeiro. It picks up “Elite Squad”‘s story fifteen years later, with another morally twisted tale of corruption and crime peppered with intense action scenes. It’s one of the coolest movies here at the festival, but Padilha’s next project might be even cooler: a remake of the seminal ’80s sci-fi film “RoboCop.”

There’s a lot of interest around this project; just yesterday, rumors started swirling about an interview Padilha gave where he supposedly said he wanted Michael Fassbender to play the title role. With the last few minutes of my own interview with Padilha, I picked his brain about the remake, and he confirmed that that story was getting blown way out of proportion.

“I was doing an interview with a Dutch guy because ‘Elite Squad’ was opening in Holland,” Padilha said. “They wanted to talk about ‘RoboCop’ because of [Paul] Verhoeven, the Dutch director [of the original film]. So he asked me ‘Who is going to be RoboCop?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, I’m not there yet.’ ‘Who is going to be RoboCop?’ ‘I don’t know!’ So he says, “How about Fassbender?” I said, ‘I think he’s great.’ That was it!”

Padilha did admit that he thought Fassbender would be a good RoboCop, but he was quick to add that he’s not the only guy he can envision in the part. “He’s a great actor but there are other great actors that I really love, that could also do it,” he told me. “I can give you other names if you like, like Chris Pine; there’s several of them. But I haven’t discussed this film with any actors.”

The Internet rumor mill, it seems, is getting ahead of itself. Padilha said that the film is still at the treatment stage, and there won’t be any casting until they’ve got a final script. That treatment, by the way, is a totally new one based on Padilha’s own interpretation of the material; he decided not to read any of the scripts from Darren Aronofsky’s aborted “RoboCop” remake that fell apart a few years ago. Why? “I wanted to focus on my own thing and do my take, even though Aronofsky is a genius.”

Details on his take were in short supply, but Padilha did explain what drew him to remake such iconic material: “‘RoboCop’ is a brilliant premise because the character is not a super-hero,” he said. “He’s a man who’s been transformed by technology for certain purposes. And so that premise alone touches so many interesting subjects. What does it mean to be immersed in automated systems and deprived of free will? What does it mean to be used by corporations for certain purposes? How does the media spin things around to make certain interests accepted by the public? Those are all things you can see in the first ‘RoboCop,’ and those are all things that are coming closer and closer to being real. Science is taking us there. And so that premise alone is really interesting to me.”

One detail he did confirm: his “RoboCop” will be set, like the original, in Detroit. It sounds like it will be shot there too. “If you go to shoot a movie in Detroit, you better put Detroit in it. I’ve been researching a lot about Detroit — and they’re making the statue!” Padilha added excitedly, referring to the news earlier this year that fans were raising money to build a statue of everyone’s favorite cyborg police officer in his home town. “It got a little polemic,” he noted, “but I think finally they made the right choice.”

It’s hard to talk to Padilha or watch his movies and not think he’s the right choice for the project as well. I’m very interested to see his version of the material. And after you see “Elite Squad 2” — and you really should, it’s great — I have a feeling you’ll agree with me.

Who do you think should play “RoboCop?” Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter. And be sure to follow all of our coverage of Fantastic Fest 2011.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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