The RoboCop movies, then and now, are all about that fusion of humans with technology, or transhumanism. What do you think? Is this a reality that’s coming soon?
MW: It’s odd. Is it evolution? Is it inevitable? Is it right? I don’t have definite answers to any of it, but I think the closeness between humans and technology is inevitable. And it’s incipient. You walk into a mall now, and every person has their head down, staring at a screen. Now they’re moving the screen onto your face. Soon, maybe all you have to do is think [about] Google Maps, and it will appear in your brain. That just doesn’t seem far away.
Is your RoboCop a reboot or a total teardown and rebuild?
MW: It’s definitely an upgrade. We did not want to dismiss the ’80s movie at all. I love it. We all love it. But in terms of the design and look, I just wanted to make it current, but still maintain parts of the original.
MW: There are two suits in the movie. We evolve into the second suit during the film, which was very intentional because we wanted to show how it would evolve in OmniCorp. When the movie starts, they’re dealing in straight-up robotics. RoboCop is the first time they attempt an extrahuman, robotic-human fusion. But for the first suit, the first one he’s fitted with, I took the original suit [from the first movie]. It was, for me, an homage to the original.
You’ve got an impressive background in fine art, including sculpting. How does that inform your work in movies?
MW: My background always helps me because it’s based in the physical world, and we still physically build the sets, the cars, the props, the robots. Having a 3-D mind, being able to think in terms of form, really helps. I’ll pitch an idea about something that doesn’t exist, but having that kind of mind allows me to previsualize and then explain my idea. With most movies now, about half of what you see is a physical build, the rest is computer-generated. What I actually build may end up being just a postage stamp-size part of the scene. But it’s my job to visualize and convey the entire scene.
[This article originally appeared in print as "We Can Reboot Him"]