Home Entertainment Joel Kinnaman talks Robocop: Hollywood, age restrictions and acting in the suit

Joel Kinnaman talks Robocop: Hollywood, age restrictions and acting in the suit

4 min read

If you had no idea who Joel Kinnaman was before, I can guaran-damn-tee that you’re going to be getting to know him very soon. Fresh from not solving a murder in AMC’s The Killing, and fighting to the death with Ryan Reynolds out on some Malmesbury farm in Safe House, the Swedish actor has been busy talking to everybody about his next role, as cyborg cop (and a fetishist’s dream) Alex Murphy, in director Jose Padhila’s Robocop reboot.

He most recently sat down with both Collider and MTV, where he discussed the differences between this film and the original, as well as to just how violent this movie should get.

Speaking to Collider’s Christina Radish while promoting season 2 of his AMC drama, Kinnaman revealed a bit about the differences with working in Hollywood, where he is a relative unknown, as opposed to his homeland of Sweden where is already Brad Pitt-level famous.

“It’s frustrating when you come over here, especially from a position that I was in, in Sweden, where most people know who you are, but then you come here. There’s also a different financing system with movies here. Mid-range to low-budget movies have to have a name in the lead to get financing for it. So, I was meeting a lot of directors and reading scripts, and I was like, “Well, I’d love to play this part,” but I couldn’t. You’re not able to do a lot of projects because you don’t have a name. I wanted to get my movies to come over that hedge, so that I could do the movies that I wanted to do.”

Paul Verhoeven’s original Robocop had a very tongue-firmly-lodged-in-cheek tone about it, despite the fact that it contains scenes of immensely graphic violence. Kinnaman explained how the reboot addressed both these points:

“I’m such a huge fan of the original. I think I’ve seen the first RoboCop, 15 or 20 times. I’m like a kid, that way. And, I love all of [Paul] Verhoeven’s movies. He has a very special tone. I love Starship Troopers, too. That’s really smart. I think he really could portray fascism in a comedic way. It’s funny because both José [Padilha] and Verhoeven were accused of being fascists for their movies because they had fascist leads. So, it’s not going to have his tone, but there’s going to be political satire in it.”

“I sincerely hope they’re going for R ‘cause I can’t imagine how RoboCop could be PG-13. That would be a huge mistake. If I have any say in it, I will fight very hard for it. It has to be violent.”

I sincerely hope that it’s a hard R rating as well. A whole new generation of kids need get freaked the hell out by Acid Man:

When speaking to MTV about what Jose Padhila’s vision was for making this film stand apart from its predecessor, as well how the new redesigned Robocop suit tied into that, Kinnaman had this to say:

“Robocop is going to be a lot more human. The first movie is one of my favourite movies. I love it. Of course, Verhoeven has that very special tone, and it’s not going to have that tone. It’s a re-imagination of it. There’s a lot of stuff from the original. There are some details and throwbacks, but this version is a much better acting piece, for Alex Murphy and especially when he is Robocop. It’s much more challenging.”

 “It’s not going to be [just] jaw action. They’re still working on the suit and how it’s going to look, but the visor is going to be see-through. You’re going to see his eyes.”

Now I know that I’m more than likely going against the flow here, but I actually like the idea of having a transparent visor and being able to see more of Robocop’s humanity come through. As impressively intimidating as the original suit was, I noticed a few years back that actor Peter Weller had this unfortunate habit of pursing his lips ever so slightly whenever he was in a firefight. And since you can’t see what the rest of his face is doing, well….

[WARNING: I’m probably about to ruin Robocop for you for the rest of your life.]


That’s right. Robocop is the original Blue Steel. Makes sense now, don’t it?

Last Updated: March 27, 2012


  1. Justin Hess

    March 27, 2012 at 09:55

    It works for that story in the original Robocop that you couldn’t see his eyes (who’da thunk it. SFX and story working hand in hand) He’s a machine, programmed for one thing. Us not being able to see his eyes works to us seeing him as inhuman. 

    When he takes off the helmet, it’s a real dramatic shift because it means that the human side is coming more to the fore. 

    Of course, that works because like I said, the story and the sfx went hand in hand there. Maybe they’ll come up with story that justifies us seeing his eyes in this new one


  2. Wtf101

    March 27, 2012 at 14:01

    Is Robocop gonna cry?  Is he?

    I’m sorry, but this lets make Robocop more human kind of sounds a bit off to me.  Look at the title.  It is called ROBOcop.

    But I have to say, as remakes go, I am kinda hoping this somehow gets canned.  Paul Verhoeven’s version of Robocop was… how can I say it, awesome.

    Peter Weller did an outstanding job as Robocop.  Just how much acting is required?  Is Robocop going to have an emotional range that is going to give the viewer whiplash?


    • Justin Hess

      March 27, 2012 at 14:41

      In point of fact, there was some degree of acting required from Weller for Robocop. Maybe not particularly challenging, but still enough to emphasise the change from idealistic cop to machine at to man at the end.



      • Wtf101

        March 27, 2012 at 15:04

        That he has done brilliantly though.  I guess my worry is that this is going to end up being another Iron Man 2.  At one point during that movie, I felt more like I was watching some or other drama about a madman recovering alcoholic than an honest to goodness superhero movie.


        • Kervyn Cloete

          March 27, 2012 at 16:10

          But most of the greatest Iron Man stories have been about him being a madman recovering alcoholic.


          • Wtf101

            March 27, 2012 at 20:35

             Maybe that would have worked if there was an Iron Man movie every month.  But come on.  It is IRON MAN.  I want him to do Iron Man stuff, not sit in a bar and cry his eyes out…

    • Kervyn Cloete

      March 27, 2012 at 15:12

      Well, the impression that I’m getting is that the “humanity” part is going to be more about the transition period as Murphy becomes RoboCop. Iirc, Padhila has previously referenced the original movie saying that we see Murphy get gunned down, we see them start the traumatic surgeries, and then when next see him, he is a soulless tank. This movie is supposed to be examining what happened in between those moments.


      • Wtf101

        March 27, 2012 at 16:01

        I dunno.  After the brutal shooting Murphy went through, I got the idea the only thing left working was maybe his heart and his brain.
        So I am more curious to see how they plan on doing the transition thing.
        As to the soulless tank thing… that was the point to the first movie, as Justin stated. We see Robocop being just that, more machine than man.
        He gets confronted by his ex partner Lewis, a memory is triggered and bam, we see Murphy’s humanity come to the fore again.


        • Kervyn Cloete

          March 27, 2012 at 16:12

          Don’t get me wrong, I love just how much of a soulless machine Robocop is in that film. But one of my favourite aspects of it was seeing how he slowly but surely began adopting these tiny little quirks as his humanity returned.


  3. Robocopinaz

    April 2, 2012 at 10:57

    I’m excited about Robo coming back on duty and only ask that the suit be kept the same. See through visor? wouldnt by that for a dollar. Changing the suit is likeis like the old school Karate kid and the Next Karate Kid. My advice.. keep the same Robo look, give him another Robo gun like Robo Cable.


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