Rumors of the Maniac Cop remake's demise may have been greatly exaggerated. Filmmaker John Hyams (Universal Soldier: Regeneration) was tapped in 2016 to breathe new life into the 1988 genre classic. However, franchise creator Larry Cohen poured some cold water on the situation when he insisted that the movie wasn't happening anymore. Now, Hyams is saying that it's still very much alive and will be totally different than the original.
John Hyams was recently a guest on the Movie Crypt podcast. During the course of the conversation, the topic turned to his Maniac Cop remake. Hyams was not only very confident that the project is still going to move forward, with Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives) producing via his Space Rocket Nation production company, but that this would be a unique take on the material. Here's what John Hyams had to say about it.
"It will be a completely different thing tonally. I think that's why I was hired. I think the reason why Nick was interested in me was because he saw what I had done with Universal Soldier, in the sense that I took it and made it my own and went completely off the reservation with it. Nick Refn loves exploitation cinema as much as the next guy, but he also is not interested in paying homage to things. He loves Maniac Cop, he loves the idea of it, he loves everything it represents, but he has no intention of making a tribute story."
Remakes are all the rage right now, but the ones that seem to do best tend to add something to the original, as opposed to just being a carbon copy with new actors. It sounds like that's the approach the filmmakers are trying to take with this one. John Hyams continued, explaining that their version will be more of a commentary on the breakdown of our modern society.
"We've spent the last several years now developing this thing and... what we're trying to do is make something that we're taking the ideas of Maniac Cop and exploring then in a deep way.... Our hope is that this is something that people who are fans of the original will find great pleasure in what we're doing, because if you're into genre storytelling you're going to be into it, but I also think we're telling a story about something bigger than that, which is really the breakdown of society.... It's a big story that needed a larger canvas."
This is an interesting development. Larry Cohen proclaimed last year that if the remake were still moving forward, he would be owed $250,000. Cohen wrote the original, as well as the sequels Maniac Cop 2 and Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence. This new take was written by comics legend Ed Brubaker (Captain America: The Winter Soldier). For the time being, there is no word on when the Maniac Cop remake will enter production, but despite Cohen's comments to the contrary, it does appear to still be very much alive. For more with John Hyams, check out the latest episode of the Movie Crypt podcast.