Ed Brubaker, the writer of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, was recently announced as the writer of the Nicolas Winding Refn-produced Maniac Cop remake, and he’s spoken about how he was convinced to sign on.
Speaking to Fangoria, Brubaker revealed that he was discussing potential projects with the Drive and Only God Forgives director when the remake of the William Lustig cult classic came up.
“We have the same manager and know a couple different producers who I‘ve been talking about a few projects with,” he revealed. “So we were introduced and he was given a bunch of my comics. We were talking about doing something together and then out of left field he brought up Maniac Cop saying that they were looking for a screenwriter and asked if I wanted to do it. I thought, ‘Well, under normal circumstances maybe not, but it’s Nicolas Refn. If he wants to make Maniac Cop, then I’m interested.’ So I worked on that on and off over the last year. Now we’ve got a director and we’re going into production this fall. They’re shopping it at Cannes and we’ve already got a budget. I think they’re even out production scouting already. So that’s kind of crazy. It was a lot of fun.”
He also revealed that he’s been working on the script for a while, writing multiple drafts.
“Well, we’ll see how it comes out,” he said when asked how faithful the film will be.” I wrote a lot of drafts. There’s definitely some intentional humor here and there that’s really dark. I think how it’s shot and the sound design is going to be so important to how scary it is or isn’t. And you know, the director that signed on is really amazing, so I’m really psyched. Like me, he’s really a fan of the 70s and 80s horror movies, like the John Carpenter stuff. I hope it feels somewhat modern, but also feels like a throwback to that era that it was the stepchild of, initially. It was an interesting job.”
He also mentioned that ’80s B-movie figurehead Larry Cohen had been consulted on the script.
“Definitely when I started talking to Refn, I didn’t expect that he was going to offer me a monster movie. So, it was definitely not what I was expecting, but then I realized that I fucking love movies like that, so why not try one and then bring whatever my voice actually is into it. It was a big collaborative process. I worked with Nic and Bill Lustig for a while throwing out lines and ideas and stuff. Then for the last six-eight months I’ve been working on it steadily and having weekly Skype sessions with Refn about the drafts. It was pretty collaborative process. At one point, we even got a bunch of ideas from Larry Cohen. It was a really fun job and a great learning experience for screenwriting. I jokingly told Refn that I went through screenwriting bootcamp with him. I’d been doing it for a couple years and thought I knew the ropes, but now I know that getting a feature ready for production is a fuck-ton of work.”
Fangoria asked, quite reasonably, whether there was any chance of seeing Hannibal star and Refn regular Mads Mikkelsen donning the uniform and scarred face for the lead, and, although he’s sceptical, Brubaker did reveal that he had someone in mind and that the production have free rein when it comes to casting.
“I kind of doubt it. I think he’s probably busy with Hannibal. I don’t have any control over this, but I would love it to be Kevin Grevioux, actually. Have you ever heard his voice in real life? His voice sounds like it’s going through a synthesizer. He’d be perfect for it. He’s great in those Underworld movies. But, I don’t know. I’ll be really curious to see how it comes together now that we have a director and budget. It’s not cast contingent at all, which is amazing. That’s the big difference between Maniac Cop and Coward [An adaptation of Brubaker’s first Criminal book to be directed by I Saw The Devil’s Kim Jee-woon]. Who we cast in Coward is where we’ll get our budget. Whereas Maniac Cop, just the package alone was enough to get the budget. So I’ll actually get a film made that was intended to be a film.”
However you feel about the original, this is definitely a remake to start getting excited about.