RoboCop remake: 'Hell' for director José Padilha
Fernando Meirelles (photo), the first and to date only Brazilian-born filmmaker to receive a Best Director Academy Award nomination, was recently interviewed by the Brazilian publication Trip. Below are a couple of quotes from the Meirelles interview, including one in which the City of God director explains that (controversial) Golden Bear winner José Padilha (Elite Squad) is having a tough time working on the MGM/Columbia co-production RoboCop, a remake of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 box office hit.
"I spoke with José Padilha on the phone about a week ago. He's going to start shooting RoboCop. He says it has been the worst experience of his life. Out of every ten ideas he has, nine are shot down. Anything he wants, he must fight for it. 'This is hell,' he told me. 'The movie is going to be good, but I've never suffered like this before and I don't want to ever go through this again.' He is embittered, but he's a fighter."
Fernando Meirelles: Working outside the studio system
As for his own filmmaking experiences, Fernando Meirelles added that "I've never made a movie for an actual Hollywood studio. Every movie I've made, including 360, has been an indie I co-produced. For that reason, my relationship with the other producers is that of a partner, not an employee. That changes everything. I get offers and screenplays from the American studios, but I've never wanted to follow up on those. Life is too short and their filmmaking process is too long."
In the interview, Meirelles also states that actors are not cattle, "as Fellini would say." (Actually, that's an Alfred Hitchcock quote.) "Not to make use of actors' sensibilities is an imbecility," the director affirms.
Among the actors with whom Fernando Meirelles has worked, are Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Rachel Weisz and Ralph Fiennes in The Constant Gardener; Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Alice Braga, Gael García Bernal, and Danny Glover in Blindness; and Weisz, Jude Law, Moritz Bleibtreu, Ben Foster, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and Anthony Hopkins in 360.
RoboCop remake cast
Written by Nick Schenk, James Vanderbilt, and Joshua Zetumer, RoboCop features Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, Jay Baruchel, Gary Oldman, Jennifer Ehle, Samuel L. Jackson, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. Peter Weller and Nancy Allen had the leads in Paul Verhoeven's original film.
Also worth noting is that in the new RoboCop crew are two previous José Padilha collaborators: Elite Squad: The Enemy Within cinematographer Lula Carvalho and editor Daniel Rezende. To date, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is Brazil's biggest blockbuster ever (at least in US dollar figures).
Padilha's RoboCop is scheduled for an August 9, 2013, release.
Note: Though a naturalized Brazilian citizen, Hector Babenco was born in Argentina. Babenco was a Best Director Oscar nominee for Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985).