Abe Forsythe was six when Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop, which starred Peter Weller as a terminally ill cop turned powerful cyborg, opened in cinemas in 1987.
He was 12 or 13 when he saw the MGM production and it made a lasting impression. So he was thrilled when MGM asked him to write and direct RoboCop Returns, a direct sequel to Verhoeven’s opus.
The Little Monsters and Down Under filmmaker is keen to shoot the film produced by Ed Neumier and Michael Miner, screenwriters of the original, and Atlas Entertainment’s Richard Suckle in Australia, taking advantage of the Location Offset and local crew and cast.
“RoboCop delivered as a smart, futuristic action movie and a social satire and commentary,” Forsythe tells IF. “A lot of what it predicted is happening now. One of the exciting things about the property is to continue what the original film did.”
Neumeier and Miner wrote the script for the sequel several years ago with Justin Rhodes, one of the writers on Terminator: Dark Fate. Neill Blomkamp was attached to direct but withdrew in August, citing a scheduling conflict. Forysthe is rewriting the latest draft by Rhodes.
The story will pick up right where the original ended. According to an earlier synopsis, the protagonist makes a triumphant return to Detroit to fight crime and corruption as the city is in the grip of anarchy. It is unclear whether Weller will return.
Forysthe rates RoboCop and Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers as among the most important influences on his career, likening the latter to a “fascist recruitment video.”
The Dutch-born director, who is 81, had a direct influence on Forsythe’s last two films. “The influence is there in Little Monsters in twisting the genre on its head and using the genre to say something,” he explains. “With Down Under it was combining violence, comedy and social commentary.”
As IF reported, Forsythe is keen to shoot Miss Universe, a sci-fi comedy for Universal Pictures in Australia, produced by Made Up Stories’ Bruna Papandrea, Jodi Matterson and Steve Hutensky.
Little Monsters’ Lupita Nyong’o will head the large international cast in the film set at a Miss Universe contest in Las Vegas at a time when much of the world is in conflict.