Joel Kinnaman, Michael Keaton, and Gary Oldman Talk Suiting Up for RoboCop
While the idea of a RoboCop reboot may not be to everyone’s liking, we can pretty much agree that a kick-ass action movie can stand on its own merit.
While the new RoboCop is rated PG-13 and doesn’t have even near the same level of gratuitous (read: awesome!) violence as Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 original, there are plenty of fight scenes, guns blazing, bones breaking and murder and mayhem in director Jose Padhila’s version.
For the remake, RoboCop’s partner is no longer an apple-cheeked blonde female – it’s the big ‘n bad Michael K. Williams from HBO’s gritty series "The Wire". Joel Kinnaman, who’s in the title role, told us, “When I heard Michael was one of the names discussed for the part, I jumped on Jose and was like, ‘Look, if we get the opportunity to get Michael, we've got to get him!’ I mean… I have seen the whole series of 'The Wire' twice."
“We had a lot of fun on set. There were a couple of times where we had scenes when we were undercover and I was like, ‘Mike come on, we were about to go into a house,’ and I was like, ‘Give me a whistle, give me a whistle.’ He did, and I was like, ‘I am in "The Wire". I am in "The Wire"!’ That was a great moment for me. We had a lot of fun and he brings so much flavor to it and so much heart.”
Speaking of heart, RoboCop is physically reduced to a heart, lungs and a head. The rest is all robotics. When it comes to conveying emotions with only a small part of your face showing, costar Michael Keaton had a few things to say about that, having done the same thing, basically, in the Bat-suit he so famously wore and emoted from in the 80s.
“Joel’s job is particularly difficult because [when you see an actor in a costume like this,] people don’t know how hard it is to do what you need to do. Because your natural instinct, or your unnatural instinct, might be to say, ‘Let’s face it, you know, I’m in this suit.’ Out of context it is kind of ridiculous, you know what I mean? So your inclination or your desperation might make you want to kind of go out, you know, way over the top -- and what he didn’t do, was that. What he did do was suck back and went kind of inside. He makes these unbelievable transitions, too, from when he’s human, then he’s robot, then he’s robot and human. That’s really hard to do when you’re wearing a big black suit."
“I was really knocked out by it, when I finally saw the whole movie. I kept watching him, and [sadly] he probably won’t get credit for it, for the degree of difficulty which was required. "
“When I was doing the first Batman I made a joke, but I was actually serious: I just worked the suit, man, I just let that suit go to work for me. And that’s kind of what you have to do. I’m very claustrophobic and we didn’t know that the suit was going to work at all, until literally hours before we were about to shoot. We had shot a lot of the Bruce Wayne stuff and I never worried about the Batman thing… the way it was Bruce Wayne. That was always it for me. The Batman thing was, well… I didn’t know what I was going to do with that, but when we got in it I thought, ‘Oh I’m in trouble man, I’ve gotta really face this thing.’ Because you couldn’t get out of it. This thing was like wrapped around me… and I’ll take some credit for this, but really it was practical, this whole thing, when I turned in the suit using my whole body, because I couldn’t turn my neck!”
Keaton was all smiles, but reiterated, “I’m very claustrophobic. I get in this thing, and they actually use this kind of plywood, one of those old boards, a leaning board for the costume. I had to recline on that between takes. I drink a lot of coffee, drink a lot of water with vitamins, and I could do none of that because I couldn’t get out of this thing to go to the bathroom, so they put me in this thing… inside, honestly I started having panic attacks, literally panic attacks, and I thought, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to do this, man, I’m feeling really, really scared.’ …”
Gary Oldman, taking the piss out, quips, “I had all of that in The Dark Knight, and I wasn’t wearing the suit.” Keaton nods. “Forget everything I just said.”
Kinnaman chimes in, “I got no sympathy from Michael Keaton when I was complaining about my suit. He was like, “Shut the fuck up. You have air conditioning in it, and everything!’”
Oldman adds, alluding to his roles in Dracula and Hannibal, “The great thing about having been in makeup, and a lot of stuff like that, is that when you’re working with someone else who’s in it and you’re not in it anymore… you feel so good!”
Kinnaman rolls his eyes, “Yeah. YOU feel so great!”
Oldman adds, “You say something like, Oh, are you hot in that?’”
Keaton chimes in, “I know. I enjoyed every minute sitting and watching him in that suit. There was a lot of gloating.”
Jose Padilha's film stars Joel Kinnaman as the title hero plus Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Jay Baruchel, Michael Keaton, Michael Kenneth Williams, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Abbie Cornish, Aimee Garcia, and Jackie Earle Haley. Look for it in theatres February 12, 2014.
Related Story: RoboCop News Archive
In RoboCop the year is 2029, and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Their drones are winning American wars around the globe, and now they want to bring this technology to the home front.
Alex Murphy is a loving husband, father, and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit. After he is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp utilizes its remarkable science of robotics to save Alex’s life.
He returns to the streets of his beloved city with amazing new abilities but with issues a regular man has never had to face before.
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