It’s been two years since it was first announced that filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives) had signed on to produce a continuation of sorts of the 1988 cult horror-action classic Maniac Cop. It was rumored at the time that Refn might even direct the film as well, be it a prequel or sequel. Following the release of that news the project went cold, though Refn’s unabashed love of the original and its two sequels resulted in his teaming up with William Lustig, the director of Maniac Cop and its vastly superior 1990 sequel, for an audio commentary that accompanied last year’s top-notch Blu-ray release of Maniac Cop 2 (a disc I highly recommend by the way).
Now it appears that the new Maniac Cop film is back on and it is officially a remake with Refn and Lustig producing. The French distribution and international sales company Wild Bunch will be announcing it as part of a slate of upcoming features they’re expected to unveil at next week’s Cannes Film Festival. Among them is a sequel to last year’s surprise hit Spring Breakers scripted by Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and new films from controversial filmmakers Paul Verhoeven (Robocop, Starship Troopers) and Gaspar Noé (Irreversible).
The Maniac Cop remake has a director but whoever it is will not be known until Wild Bunch’s announcement at Cannes. What is known is that the script is being written by noted comics scribe Ed Brubaker. In the past Brubaker has written highly acclaimed runs on many major comic titles published by Marvel and DC among others, including Batman and Daredevil. But it’s his celebrated run on Captain America that reintroduced Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier that earned him some of his greatest notices and inspired the recent Captain America: The Winter Soldier, one of Marvel Studios’ finest films.
The 1988 original told the story of a New York City police officer who returns from the dead after being set up for a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison, where he was brutally murdered. The undead cop, played in all three films by Robert Z’Dar, goes on a killing spree, taking down civilians and fellow officers in spectacularly bloody fashion. The cast included cult cinema icons Bruce Campbell, Tom Atkins, and Richard Roundtree.
Getting Ed Brubaker to write the Maniac Cop remake script is a real coup that should help give the project much legitimacy with prospective financiers and potential audiences. His run on DC’s Gotham Central proved he could write realistic stories of law enforcement, and with Refn producing this could possibly be one of the better remakes of a beloved genre feature. I just hope they get a really interesting director to make it a reality and not just some flashy commercial or music video director with strong visual instincts and not the slightest clue about to work with actors and stage elaborate action sequences.
[Source: Bleeding Cool]