Drive/The Neon Demon director Nicolas Winding Refn revealed last year that his company Space Rocket were developing a remake of William Lustig’s gritty 1988 horror thriller Maniac Cop. Refn was to be a creative producer on the remake, with John Hyams (Universal Soldier: Regeneration) directing from a script by Ed Brubaker (Captain America: The Winter Soldier). While the film was set to begin shooting this year, it now seems however, that it may be officially dead.
The news came from genre legend Larry Cohen – who wrote the original Maniac Cop, as well as its two sequels – as he talked to BirthMoviesDeath at Fantastic Fest about new doc King Cohen. The subject quickly turned to Refn’s proposed remake however, and the iconic filmmaker had a lot to say, first revealing the apparent end of the project.
“As far as I know, that’s not happening anymore, and if it is, they might be trying to keep it a secret, as they’d owe me $250,000…”, Cohen told the site, adding:
“Ed Brubaker wrote the script, and I’ve read the script, and it’s not very good. Ed Brubaker is a very good writer of comic books, I think. But if he’s written a good script for a movie, I haven’t read it.”
He elaborates, saying that he did some revision work on Brubaker’s draft, and refuses to pull punches:
“I wrote six new scenes for the picture, based on what I’d read. And, had I written the whole script, the movie would probably be happening, as the script would be good. I wrote three films for Bill Lustig, though they changed a lot of [Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence, 1993] and Bill got fired from it…and I would’ve written the fourth movie, had they asked. But they didn’t, and now it’s not getting made.”
Cohen also took a dig at the plot of Brubaker’s script, which set the events in modern-day LA, saying:
“…it’s a lot like that Bob Hoskins movie [Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa], where he’s driving prostitutes around and then waiting out in the car while they do their business in hotels with the Johns. It’s a direct lift from that, and then turns into a new Maniac Cop…”
After slamming Brubaker’s draft however, Cohen suggests that the blame behind the project’s stalling lies with Refn.
“…as far as I know, he was the one trying to get the money raised to make the picture, and he didn’t get it, so now it’s not happening. If it is, I would like to be paid, or I’m going to call my lawyer, and it’s getting shut down.”
So there we go. An apparently cancelled remake and one seriously pissed off Larry Cohen. It’ll be interesting to see if any word comes back from the other side…
Words: Kevan Farrow (@KevanX)