Yesterday’s sitdown with Jose Pedilha, director of Elite Squad: The Enemy Within and the forthcoming MGM Robocop remake, was easy and agreeable. Michael Fassbender‘s name didn’t come up as a possible candidate to star as Murphy (i.e., the role played by Peter Weller in the 1985 Paul Verhoeven original), but he did say casting has to be happen by July. The film will be released in 2013, presumably in the summer.
Elite Squad 2 is the official Brazilian entry for the Best Foreign Language Feature Oscar. Last Sunday, or the day after I saw at the Palm Springs Film Festival, I wrote that it should definitely be considered as one of the top Best Foreign Film Oscar nominees because good is good regardless of genre. I said this knowing there’s a prejudice against action-driven films within the Academy’s foreign-language committee. They want their foreign-language nominees to be solemn, heartfelt social-realism dramas with a lot of talking and hugging.
The irony, of course, is that Elite Squad 2 is social realism — it reflects the tensions and conflicts between the Brazilian government, cops and criminal class. And it works in much the same way as any respectable Serpico-like, Sidney Lumet-like urban melodrama made in this country.
Social commentary will also figure in Padila’s Robocop. Verhoeven’s original was a satire of a lot of things (insane corporate greed, “life in the big city,” violent action films) that apply just as much today as they did 25 years ago. “The satire element of RoboCop is, I think, needed today,” he told a Telegraph reporter last month. “That kind of social, aggressive satire I haven’t seen done well in movies lately. And it’s almost like the politics and violence in the world is asking for this: ‘Someone please make some satire now!’ So we’re going to keep that edge.”