Hugh Laurie Won't Be 'Robocop' Villain [Update: Clive Owen Might Be]

José Padilha's Robocop remake has been adding one award-winning talent after another for the past few months, but now casting is taking one step back. Hugh Laurie has just backed out of the villain role, after entering talks back in June. Still remaining in the film are lead Joel Kinnaman, plus Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Jennifer Ehle, Jackie Earle Haley, Jay Baruchel, Michael K. Williams, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. More details after the jump.Update: Deadline reports that Clive Owen is one of the actors MGM is talking to as options to replace Laurie. More info as confirmation comes. Hit the jump for the rest of Angie's original report.

Laurie was in negotiations to play the filthy rich CEO of Omni Corp, which turns near-dead Detroit cop Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) into a cyborg law enforcement officer with its own power and profit in mind.

It's unclear why Laurie has decided to drop out of the film, which would've been his most prominent cinematic project yet. Although Laurie has found critical acclaim and popular success on the small screen as the cantankerous lead of Fox's House, he's only had a handful of feature roles in both live-action (Street Kings, The Oranges) and animation (Hop, Arthur Christmas). Next up for the actor is Mister Pip, a war drama written and directed by Andrew Adamson (The Chronicles of Narnia).

In any case, expect an announcement about Laurie's replacement sooner rather than later — and, if the remake's track record so far is any indication, expect it to be someone well known and well regarded. Production is targeted to begin in Toronto soon for an August 9, 2013 release, with Padilha working from a script by Josh ZetumerNick Scheck, and James Vanderbilt.