Clive Owen may replace Hugh Laurie in RoboCop remake

Hugh Laurie

Ever since it was announced that there would be a remake of 1987’s RoboCop, we’ve heard nothing but promising news. Though it probably won’t look much like Paul Verhoeven’s masterpiece of action and satire, the upcoming remake boasts a cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman and Jackie Earle Haley, so it just has to have some redeeming cinematic qualities, right? Unfortunately, today we got our first bit of sad news regarding the remake: Hugh Laurie is no longer in talks to appear in the flick. 

Deadline reports:

Though he was expected to play the head of the facility that made the title character, Hugh Laurie is no longer going to star in theRobocop remake at MGM. The film, which stars Joel Kinnaman in the role originated by Peter Weller, is being directed by Jose Padilha and also stars Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Jackie Earle Haley, Abbie Cornish and Jay Baruchel. I’ve heard MGM is talking with a small group of actors to fill the role that Laurie was to play, including Clive Owen. 

Though Deadline offers no specific reasons for why Laurie will not be in the film, we do like the possibility of seeing Clive Owen in this thing. While we love everything we’ve seen Laurie in to date, and are sad to see his name drop off the list of people attached to this project, we’re similarly enraptured with Clive Owen’s work. Did you see Children Of Men? Closer? Even the not-very-good-but-entertainingly-experimental Shoot ‘Em Up was saved almost entirely by Owen’s commanding presence and dry-cool wit (and, in fairness, Paul Giamatti’s hilariously manic attempts to chew directly through any and all nearby scenery).

That said, we’re wondering how exactly the RoboCop script outlines whichever role Laurie may have and Owen may now be playing. We’re going to assume it’s for a British fellow, given the nationality of these two actors, though beyond that we’re having trouble picturing a character equally suitable for Hugh Laurie and Clive Owen. Perhaps the Laurie version was to be more studious and cerebral, while the Owen version will be more physically menacing? Or maybe the actors were to play against type, with Laurie being a scary thug and Owen playing a meek yet duplicitous iteration of the character. Either way we’re very curious to see how this thing turns out.

Unfortunately that’s probably going to be a bit of a wait. The new version of RoboCop is scheduled to hit theaters on August 9, 2013, meaning that we have almost a year left until this project hits theaters. Hopefully the cast can be solidified shortly so we can move on to directly critiquing this thing’s script — therein lie all the interesting comparisons anyway.