Here’s the problem with the classic “so and so wants actor X for new film” story: it can so easily turn out to be something that is blown out of proportion. The latest case in point is Jose Padilha‘s remake of RoboCop. On Friday it was widely reported that the director wants Michael Fassbender for the role originated by Peter Weller. Which, for one, was fairly obvious. Fassbender is a rapidly rising talent, and he’d be great in the role and able to convince an audience that the movie is worthwhile. Landing Michael Fassbender would be a slam-dunk for Padilha.

But then there’s this: he only sort of said that he wants the actor in the first place, so the story is thin to begin with. Over the weekend the director clarified that the film remains in early stages, with nothing close to a final script, so casting is a ways off.

Speaking to IFC at Fantastic Fest (where Padilha’s film Elite Squad 2 played) the director explained that he was prodded with Fassbender’s name in another interview, which was the source of the quote. Specifically,

[the interviewer] asked me ‘Who is going to be RoboCop?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, I’m not there yet.’ ‘Who is going to be RoboCop?’ ‘I don’t know!’ So he says, “How about Fassbender?” I said, ‘I think he’s great.’ That was it

The useful information to come out of IFC’s talk with the director is that the film is at the treatment stage, so there’s no script. And as you might have assumed from other recent quotes from the filmmaker, the script will be an all-new one with no trace of scripts written for the proposed Darren Aronofsky version. He also elaborated on recent statements, saying,

[RoboCop] is a man who’s been transformed by technology for certain purposes. And so that premise alone touches so many interesting subjects. What does it mean to be immersed in automated systems and deprived of free will? What does it mean to be used by corporations for certain purposes? How does the media spin things around to make certain interests accepted by the public? Those are all things you can see in the first ‘RoboCop,’ and those are all things that are coming closer and closer to being real. Science is taking us there. And so that premise alone is really interesting to me.

This version will still be set in Detroit, and possibly shot there. And for those who do want to think about possible casting, Padilha says there are other actors he thinks could do the role: “I can give you other names if you like, like Chris Pine; there’s several of them. But I haven’t discussed this film with any actors.”

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