So Darren Aronofsky is working on The Wolverine, which I like to pronounce as THE … wolverine the same way that NFL players from Ohio State listing off their college during the first quarter of any game always scream the definitive article and trail off the rest of the name of the college. There are high hopes if only because the fact that Wolverine as a character doesn’t suck combined with a director who does not suck may in fact produce a film that does not suck (see Spiderman 3 for the counter argument).
But Aronofsky has also been attached to a reboot of Robocop for several years now, a project which has sunk into the swamp of MGM’s bankruptcy. Aronofsky though is insisting that he still wants to work on the project next, saying: “Well, RoboCop may still happen one day, who knows? It’s MGM and hopefully they’ll clear their stuff up and I’m still interested. David Self wrote a great script, but the company went under so…”
I didn’t much like the original Robocop, though it seems to have been well received in general, so I don’t necessarily see the appeal of the project. But I have two theories. First, and we’ll call this the “Battlestar Galactica” theory, Aronofsky was eighteen when the original Robocop came out and he probably sees an even darker and more nuanced film lurking underneath the original. Second, and from a point of view of prodigiously sarcastic cynicism, one might note that between THE wolverine and Robocop, Aronofsky might have decided that at this point he’s gotten the critical praise, and so now he wants a $300 million box office to round out the accomplishments. I mean, the guy makes fantastic films, but look at the box office takes:
The Wrestler - $26.2 million
The Fountain - $10.1 million
Requiem for a Dream - $3.6 million
Pi - $3.2 million
At some point, no matter how many Cy Youngs and no hitters you earn, you get to thinking about how chicks dig the long ball.
The lone project that Aronofsky has on the table that feels like an actual Aronofsky project is a new film called Machine Man that is still in the pre-production haze. In it a geek takes to replacing his own body parts with engineered replacements, but soon finds mysterious forces are interested in his pursuits. It’s based on a partially published novel, which means that the author has been publishing it page by page online. I tried that once, but a Hollywood director didn’t pluck me out of obscurity and give me a movie deal so I’ve taken to drinking and writing snarkily online about those directors. Ha! Who showed who now Mister-I’ll-get-a-restraining-order-if-you-keep-mailing-me-your-manuscript?
No word on potential cast for Machine Man, but a fun fact about Peter Weller, Robocop himself? In the last couple of years he finished up a PhD in Italian Renaissance Art History from UCLA. And they said a machine could never understand art.