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Joel Kinnaman talks about Jose Padilha's Robocop and how he landed the part

Feb. 4, 2014by: Jesse Giroux

From the PG-13 rating to the black suit and human hand, it seems like every fan of the original ROBOCOP has a reason why they're not too high on the remake. Maybe you'll feel a little bit better after reading what star Joel Kinnaman has to say. The actor opened up about ROBOCOP in an interview with IGN, and revealed some details about the film, including how he got the part.

Joel Kinnaman says when he first heard about the remake he wasn't interested in being in it, but changed his mind after seeing what director Jose Padilha was planning to do with the film.

"When I first heard Robocop was going to be remade. I said “Yeah, that’s interesting, I’ll probably watch that at some point, but I’m not interested at all to be in it.” Then I found out that Jose wanted to do it and meet me, which I was very flattered by. I followed his work from way before he was going to do this movie, and I was very impressed with both his political analysis of Brazil and the style of filmmaking. The quality of his action that he blends with a very strong visual sense and very strong acting. For me he’s one of the big young directors. After I met him and he told me his vision for this movie, it was something that I really wanted to do. And I had to fight for it. It wasn’t an easily won audition. I had to audition three times. It was while I was filming The Killing up in Vancouver, so I was going up and down."

So why did Kinnaman fight for this role?

"At this point in my career, I’d done a TV show that had given me some visibility in the States, but I was still hearing from directors that were interested in doing a movie with me that they couldn’t have me in the lead because I wasn’t a name, even though I was the best person for the part. It’s not bankable – that whole rhetoric. So at some point I wanted to take a step into a bigger movie so that I could get to a position so that I could be of help to a director that wanted to get a movie made. To a certain degree, as an actor, the only way we have to define our artistry is by our choices. What choices we make. Because we’re not authors of our own projects. So of course you want to have as many options as possible. So I wanted a bigger movie that would elevate me hopefully to some degree. But I still really, really hope that that opportunity will be something with quality, and I felt that this was that."

Joel Kinnaman was also asked when he realized ROBOCOP was the right project for him.

"I was confident from the get-go. When I read the first script – the first draft – I didn’t feel that 100%. But Jose explained that that was a very rough outline. While we were getting close to shooting, after his first draft, I realised it was really going to be his vision. We actually had a very impressive preparation period where he had the whole cast for two-and-a-half/three weeks where we went through the whole script and worked through every scene and pretty much re-wrote the whole script… Jose is a very confident man, and he has a strong vision. I think he won a couple of big battles and gained the confidence of the people putting the money into this movie. He was able to really have that process. So we took away everything that we didn’t like. Everything that was cheesy, that felt adolescent, that didn’t feel mature. Because that’s what we set out to do. Not to do a superhero movie, but to do an adult, mature film, that takes itself seriously, and really wants to portray... it’s a tragedy. It’s an action tragedy."

To prepare for the role Kinnaman says he read a few books about neuroscience, but says most of his research was for Alex Murphy before he becomes the cyborg law enforcer.

"I read a couple of books about neuroscience and the relationship between the mind and the body. There are some philosophical questions that are raised in this movie – Where is the soul? Where is the personality? Is it just in the mind or is it in the body? What do you lose of your personality when you lose your body? And when you have a body that mimics a lost limb. The philosophy of this is that the phantom memory is recreated digitally and manifested in the body. So there are signatures of Alex’s body language that are expressed in his robotic body. But in terms of research, it was was more like walking through the script over and over again… I did more research for Alex before he became Robocop. And the reality of his life. That was what I was preparing for. Then after the accident happened I’m sort of finding a way to deal with that like Alex was doing."

Joel Kinnaman goes on to talk about putting on Robocop's suit for the first time.

"It was really uncomfortable. We did it in stages. So first we tried on some of the head piece and skull cast. It was a process that took three months. But when I finally had the whole thing on, I was really excited. I’d been at home trying to sketch out how my movement was going to be and so on. But I realised I had to throw all that out the window because the suit had its own movement. So that was what I was focussing on the most at that time – finding my way in, to see what was possible."

Speaking of Robocop's suit, Kinnaman says he had to do most of the stunt-work himself because of how the character moves while fighting enemies.

"I have to do most of my stunts because we realised that the movement pattern that I had decided for the character was hard to mimic in the battle situations. So I’ve been doing most of that, which has been pretty taxing."

Joel Kinnaman also revealed the way Robocop talks will change in the new movie.

"There are some transitions in the movie that have an effect on how I talk. I change the way I speak throughout the film. Different stages of being Robocop. So I made a point to find the differences in those."

Joel Kinnaman was then asked if he got to say any of the character's signature lines from the original, and the actor says he does, but only one of them.

"We kept one. We’ve tried to stay away from all those references, because we’re trying to make a very different movie in a completely different universe that does not have Verhoeven’s tone. So it feels like that would be untruthful to what we’re doing. But we kept one..."

I don't expect the remake to be as good as the original, and there are certainly things about it I don't care for (A car bomb is what f*cks up Murphy? Really?), however I'm going to give Jose Padilha's film a chance. It can't be any worse than ROBOCOP 3, right?

ROBOCOP also stars Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Abbie Cornish, and will be released on February 12th, 2014.

Source: IGN

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9:14AM on 02/04/2014

Considering

That the reviews so far (including those from joblo members who have seen the movie) have all been favorable and positive shows that everyone here has had their bias. While not as strong as the original, its good to see we now have TWO solid Robocop movies. 1 ok one and one shitty movie.

Id rather have a new solid movie to add to my Robocop collection then have to settle with an ok 2nd one and outright disastrous 3rd and television series.

Im gonna get thumbed down to all hell now.
That the reviews so far (including those from joblo members who have seen the movie) have all been favorable and positive shows that everyone here has had their bias. While not as strong as the original, its good to see we now have TWO solid Robocop movies. 1 ok one and one shitty movie.

Id rather have a new solid movie to add to my Robocop collection then have to settle with an ok 2nd one and outright disastrous 3rd and television series.

Im gonna get thumbed down to all hell now.
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9:18AM on 02/04/2014
I up-voted you because at least you're being reasonable and not a hater right out of the gate. Although I've always thought Robocop 2 was a solid film and I enjoy it a lot.
I up-voted you because at least you're being reasonable and not a hater right out of the gate. Although I've always thought Robocop 2 was a solid film and I enjoy it a lot.
9:55AM on 02/04/2014
I'm with you. I love ROBOCOP 2, maybe even more than the first. it's a solid film, and funny.
I'm with you. I love ROBOCOP 2, maybe even more than the first. it's a solid film, and funny.
1:16PM on 02/04/2014
Robocop 2 could and SHOULD have been better, but it's still one hell of an entertaining and not (that) dumb film !
Robocop 2 could and SHOULD have been better, but it's still one hell of an entertaining and not (that) dumb film !
1:04PM on 02/04/2014
I've seen the movie and, without being a masterpiece, it's FAR from being bad.
Yes, it's PG13, but hard PG13. Yes the new ED 209 is nowhere as iconic as the old one. Yes some CGI effects are not THAT perfect...
Still, the criticism to the consumerism and US imperialism are still here, the actors are good and the action ain't too bad either.
So, really not a bad movie, and a far better remake than Total Recall...
Just my opinion though !
I've seen the movie and, without being a masterpiece, it's FAR from being bad.
Yes, it's PG13, but hard PG13. Yes the new ED 209 is nowhere as iconic as the old one. Yes some CGI effects are not THAT perfect...
Still, the criticism to the consumerism and US imperialism are still here, the actors are good and the action ain't too bad either.
So, really not a bad movie, and a far better remake than Total Recall...
Just my opinion though !
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8:12PM on 02/04/2014

meh

I'll buy that for a dollar.....from Redbox
I'll buy that for a dollar.....from Redbox
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8:47AM on 02/04/2014
Honestly, no matter if it was the sequels or this reboot, whenever I heard "Dead or alive, you're coming with me" my reaction is: Well I'm sold.
Honestly, no matter if it was the sequels or this reboot, whenever I heard "Dead or alive, you're coming with me" my reaction is: Well I'm sold.
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5:39PM on 02/04/2014

Don't understand the hate

I really don't understand all the hate for this movie. It's like it's the cool thing to hate on and every internet geek jumps on the bandwagon. It's very petty. The movie looks fun and exciting.The original is hardly The Godfather
I really don't understand all the hate for this movie. It's like it's the cool thing to hate on and every internet geek jumps on the bandwagon. It's very petty. The movie looks fun and exciting.The original is hardly The Godfather
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8:24PM on 02/04/2014
same here, the fanboys basically say, this movie will be bad unless its A!! and only A!! If the movie diverges in anyway from A its bad. If the movie is B. Garbage. C? Garbage. ummm if it retains the theme and idea of robocop and is different but still good. Im happy
same here, the fanboys basically say, this movie will be bad unless its A!! and only A!! If the movie diverges in anyway from A its bad. If the movie is B. Garbage. C? Garbage. ummm if it retains the theme and idea of robocop and is different but still good. Im happy
10:02AM on 02/04/2014
I'm starting to think this new RoboCop would follow the new Evil Dead remake - a remake that has rough framework of what it should do but takes on its own path to create a story. I'm still hopeful for the new RoboCop and Joel Kinnaman sounds passionate about the role which is a good. Fingers crossed.
I'm starting to think this new RoboCop would follow the new Evil Dead remake - a remake that has rough framework of what it should do but takes on its own path to create a story. I'm still hopeful for the new RoboCop and Joel Kinnaman sounds passionate about the role which is a good. Fingers crossed.
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9:15AM on 02/04/2014
I'm not understanding the hate for the car bomb thing. It would be too hard to top the brutal murder of Murphy in the first film, plus the rating wouldn't allow it anyway. What's the problem with doing something different?
I'm not understanding the hate for the car bomb thing. It would be too hard to top the brutal murder of Murphy in the first film, plus the rating wouldn't allow it anyway. What's the problem with doing something different?
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9:36AM on 02/04/2014
I was initially bothered by that but got over it after seeing the remake. The main issue with the car bomb is that it lacks the visceral brutality and cruelty of Murphy's fate at the hands of Boddicker and his men. A car bomb is most certainly traumatic, but it definitely doesn't have that same kind of impact. They do make up for it with some inspired body horror later though.
I was initially bothered by that but got over it after seeing the remake. The main issue with the car bomb is that it lacks the visceral brutality and cruelty of Murphy's fate at the hands of Boddicker and his men. A car bomb is most certainly traumatic, but it definitely doesn't have that same kind of impact. They do make up for it with some inspired body horror later though.
9:39AM on 02/04/2014
Personally Im glad they went in another direction with it. The worst thing a remake/reboot can do IMO is copy key scenes from the original
Personally Im glad they went in another direction with it. The worst thing a remake/reboot can do IMO is copy key scenes from the original
10:01AM on 02/04/2014
@Ocelot_Snake, there are many changes and honestly, most of them are reasonably clever ones. A part of me still clings to Anne Lewis and Clarence Boddicker but some of the new characters are great and there still are impactful, kinda-shocking moments.
@Ocelot_Snake, there are many changes and honestly, most of them are reasonably clever ones. A part of me still clings to Anne Lewis and Clarence Boddicker but some of the new characters are great and there still are impactful, kinda-shocking moments.
10:03AM on 02/04/2014
I agree with you all, but it still doesn't take away from the fact that, that gang beating really set the tone for the rest of the film and really made you empathize with Murphy's character more. But I can see how they wanted to be different and not water down the beating to suit the new rating.
I agree with you all, but it still doesn't take away from the fact that, that gang beating really set the tone for the rest of the film and really made you empathize with Murphy's character more. But I can see how they wanted to be different and not water down the beating to suit the new rating.
10:04AM on 02/04/2014
My only gripe with the remake is Murphy's face after him being RoboCop. It lacks the original's human face with wires and grafts to connect the face. That gives Murphy a sense of being a ghost in the machine.
My only gripe with the remake is Murphy's face after him being RoboCop. It lacks the original's human face with wires and grafts to connect the face. That gives Murphy a sense of being a ghost in the machine.
8:47AM on 02/04/2014
He was not bad at all, a little bland perhaps but not bad. I really missed Peter Weller's Robo-walk and Robo-voice but Kinnaman was alright. This really is the supporting cast's movie to steal. Gary Oldman is brilliant in this, he could have easily phoned it in but he didn't. Michael Keaton is a deliciously slimy corporate creep, Samuel L. Jackson is lots of fun as future-Glenn Beck/Bill O'Reilly and Jackie Earle Haley is really entertaining as a mercenary tasked with training RoboCop and isn't
He was not bad at all, a little bland perhaps but not bad. I really missed Peter Weller's Robo-walk and Robo-voice but Kinnaman was alright. This really is the supporting cast's movie to steal. Gary Oldman is brilliant in this, he could have easily phoned it in but he didn't. Michael Keaton is a deliciously slimy corporate creep, Samuel L. Jackson is lots of fun as future-Glenn Beck/Bill O'Reilly and Jackie Earle Haley is really entertaining as a mercenary tasked with training RoboCop and isn't too happy about it.
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+4
3:41PM on 02/04/2014
Hoping this turns out good.

Robocop is much more relevant today. And probably will be tomorrow.
Hoping this turns out good.

Robocop is much more relevant today. And probably will be tomorrow.
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10:26AM on 02/04/2014
Will be seeing this in theaters, but I will be going in with low expectations. I'm sure it's a fun film and nice to look at, but it looks like it has no depth. Sort of like the Total Recall remake.

I would love to be proven wrong and for this film to totally blow the hat off my head.
Will be seeing this in theaters, but I will be going in with low expectations. I'm sure it's a fun film and nice to look at, but it looks like it has no depth. Sort of like the Total Recall remake.

I would love to be proven wrong and for this film to totally blow the hat off my head.
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10:39AM on 02/04/2014
Ull probably feel like youre proven wrong as all reviews point at it having depth and some satire on modern day society.
Ull probably feel like youre proven wrong as all reviews point at it having depth and some satire on modern day society.
1:10PM on 02/04/2014
You're right ConMan.
It has depth and satire. Without being THE Robocop, it's a good film
You're right ConMan.
It has depth and satire. Without being THE Robocop, it's a good film
7:51PM on 02/04/2014
It has surprising depth. [link]
It has surprising depth. [link]
5:39PM on 02/04/2014
The suit looks terrible, the production design seems generic and bland, etc. I am really not looking forward to this. However, after reading this interview, I feel they at least got somebody that understands Alex Murphy, which is nice. Still not totally sold, but slightly more intrigued,
The suit looks terrible, the production design seems generic and bland, etc. I am really not looking forward to this. However, after reading this interview, I feel they at least got somebody that understands Alex Murphy, which is nice. Still not totally sold, but slightly more intrigued,
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8:50AM on 02/04/2014
Why is Robocop wearing a Batman suit?
Why is Robocop wearing a Batman suit?
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8:57AM on 02/04/2014
Furthermore, why is Batman not wearing it?
Furthermore, why is Batman not wearing it?
10:03PM on 02/04/2014
Any tool can do a remake.
Any tool can do a remake.
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12:52PM on 02/04/2014
First off, didn't even realize it was Holder from the killing playing Robocop. So this has one thing going for it that they found a decent actor for the role. Honestly, I could be down for this movie but there are certain things I just can't get past, and I know they seem like non-issues but the fact they made these changes makes me feel like they were going for all show and no content: 1) The black stealth suit?, 2) The one human hand? The rest of his body is massacred except for his face
First off, didn't even realize it was Holder from the killing playing Robocop. So this has one thing going for it that they found a decent actor for the role. Honestly, I could be down for this movie but there are certain things I just can't get past, and I know they seem like non-issues but the fact they made these changes makes me feel like they were going for all show and no content: 1) The black stealth suit?, 2) The one human hand? The rest of his body is massacred except for his face and hand? Why not just save the face and put the rest of the body into the cyborg suit?, 3) The car bomb is what kills Murphy? I know they're trying to make their own film, but that death scene is one worth re-enacting, just for the SFX alone.

I dunno, I'll maybe check this one out. After I check out the LEGO movie first.
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9:17PM on 02/05/2014
I will say that I'm not sold on the hand but if you remember correctly in the original Robocop the team that puts him together saves his left arm and Bob Morton tells them to lose the arm. So in a way the hand is kind of a throw back to an idea they put out there in the original.
I will say that I'm not sold on the hand but if you remember correctly in the original Robocop the team that puts him together saves his left arm and Bob Morton tells them to lose the arm. So in a way the hand is kind of a throw back to an idea they put out there in the original.
11:18AM on 02/04/2014
Someone explain why this movie is PG13, not his speech, not why he took the role...etc.

America needs to adopt a PG15 rating like other countries.
Someone explain why this movie is PG13, not his speech, not why he took the role...etc.

America needs to adopt a PG15 rating like other countries.
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12:26PM on 02/04/2014

outch

I had a positive eye on th movie. but know that I read this.. I'm not so sure it's going to be good..
I had a positive eye on th movie. but know that I read this.. I'm not so sure it's going to be good..
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12:43PM on 02/04/2014
'So we took away everything that we didnt like. Everything that was cheesy, that felt adolescent, that didnt feel mature. Because thats what we set out to do. Not to do a superhero movie, but to do an adult, mature film, that takes itself seriously, ' Really ??? So you set out to make a mature movie but make it PG13. You set out to take away the cheese but have those shitty lines and awful music during that awful training exercise scene. Sorry but something isnt adding up here.
'So we took away everything that we didnt like. Everything that was cheesy, that felt adolescent, that didnt feel mature. Because thats what we set out to do. Not to do a superhero movie, but to do an adult, mature film, that takes itself seriously, ' Really ??? So you set out to make a mature movie but make it PG13. You set out to take away the cheese but have those shitty lines and awful music during that awful training exercise scene. Sorry but something isnt adding up here.
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12:45PM on 02/04/2014
And not do a superhero movie, but there are scenes where this robocop is jumping off bikes and rooftops.
And not do a superhero movie, but there are scenes where this robocop is jumping off bikes and rooftops.
2:18PM on 02/04/2014
Geez, a movie being mature has absolutely NOTHING to do with it having an R rating. Swearing and blood and boobs don't make a movie more mature, in fact I'm sure many would say it makes it less mature. Many PG-13 movies are more serious and mature than some R rated movies. It makes complete sense what he's saying. Look at the Christopher Nolan Batman movies for example, they're even superhero movies but they're mature and serious -- and are all rated PG-13.
Geez, a movie being mature has absolutely NOTHING to do with it having an R rating. Swearing and blood and boobs don't make a movie more mature, in fact I'm sure many would say it makes it less mature. Many PG-13 movies are more serious and mature than some R rated movies. It makes complete sense what he's saying. Look at the Christopher Nolan Batman movies for example, they're even superhero movies but they're mature and serious -- and are all rated PG-13.
11:30AM on 02/04/2014
They should have just given it a different title and different characters and sold it as a different movie all together.
They should have just given it a different title and different characters and sold it as a different movie all together.
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12:44PM on 02/04/2014
They did, its called Iron Ma... nvmd its not worth it.

This is just a shiity reboot that is going to bomb.
They did, its called Iron Ma... nvmd its not worth it.

This is just a shiity reboot that is going to bomb.
-6
10:20AM on 02/04/2014

bla bla bla...

no matter how much they try to "sell" this movie, at the end of the day... they didnt have the balls go full on Hard R like the original...

from there on.. everything else is just meh
no matter how much they try to "sell" this movie, at the end of the day... they didnt have the balls go full on Hard R like the original...

from there on.. everything else is just meh
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12:48PM on 02/04/2014

First big bomb of the year!

I can't wait to see its Rotten rating on RT or to see all the backlash online from the director when he says "my movie made no money because of P1R@T3S"
I can't wait to see its Rotten rating on RT or to see all the backlash online from the director when he says "my movie made no money because of P1R@T3S"
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8:57AM on 02/04/2014

How to land a role in a shitty reboot:

Step 1.) Be an unknown, crappy actor

Step 2.) Wait for a reboot to be announced but make sure it isn't a good one. If its launch date is April-August, it is too good for you. Make sure it is getting a January/February or September release date.

Step 3.) Wait for every well known actor to turn down the role. Then wait for every B-C list known actor to turn down the role.

Step 4.) When you are the last one to be picked, make sure you let them know you will do the job for 1/3 of what
Step 1.) Be an unknown, crappy actor

Step 2.) Wait for a reboot to be announced but make sure it isn't a good one. If its launch date is April-August, it is too good for you. Make sure it is getting a January/February or September release date.

Step 3.) Wait for every well known actor to turn down the role. Then wait for every B-C list known actor to turn down the role.

Step 4.) When you are the last one to be picked, make sure you let them know you will do the job for 1/3 of what other actors would do it for. This will get you the role.

Step 5.) Once you have the role, start going around with ZERO knowledge of the directors vision or knowledge about how movie companies make movies (you are a talentless, nobody after all) and say shit like "Robocop will be rated R" or "this is a good movie"

Step 6.) Make the movie, be happy with your paycheck and wait in obscurity while the movie bombs.

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12:47PM on 02/04/2014
Joel Kinnaman a bad actor....have you seen any film he has been in. You're a dink, sir
Joel Kinnaman a bad actor....have you seen any film he has been in. You're a dink, sir
1:00PM on 02/04/2014
LiamZH, I agree entirely with you. Joel Kinnaman was amazing on The Killing. Haven't seen any other movies he's been in.

But Masterdebator88, why come down so hard on an unknown actor? Everyone needs their break somewhere, can't fault the guy for taking a shot on something like this.
LiamZH, I agree entirely with you. Joel Kinnaman was amazing on The Killing. Haven't seen any other movies he's been in.

But Masterdebator88, why come down so hard on an unknown actor? Everyone needs their break somewhere, can't fault the guy for taking a shot on something like this.
7:53PM on 02/05/2014
Masterdebator, you were da bomb in Phantoms yo!
Masterdebator, you were da bomb in Phantoms yo!
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