The Maniac Cop remake has finally acquired a director. After months of searching and rife speculation, John Hyams has secured the helm on Nicolas Winding Refn's proposed remake.
Hyams is known for directing two Universal Soldier sequels, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning and Universal Soldier: Regeneration, as well as directing Dragon Eyes, a film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. He also has credits on TV shows, NYPD Blue (2003-2005) and Z Nation (2014).
Refn announced Hyam's involvement on his Twitch page at Fantastic Fest this weekend, and would later confirm the news through his Twitter feed.The Maniac Cop remake entered development a few years ago, with William Lustig and Larry Cohen -- the director and writer of the 1988 original, respectively -- driving the project forward. Shortly after, Refn joined the crew as a producer. In 2014, comic book writer Ed Brubaker signed on to redraft the script.
Fangoria was able to interview Brubaker about his involvement in the project. When asked if the remake will be similar in tone to the original, Brubaker confirmed the following.
"Well, we'll see how it comes out. 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."Brubaker was also asked about the writing process itself.
"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."Lustig and Cohen were originally planning for a prequel, but plans have changed, and the film is now expected to be a straight remake. From Brubaker's comments, it's clear that Lustig and Cohen are very hands-on in the writing process. Cohen and Lustig were deeply passionate about the original film, and it seems they want the remake of their project to respect the original.
The original movie is the story of Matt Cordell, an undead cop who stalks the streets of New York and kills the citizens he is meant to protect and serve. After being sentenced to prison for police brutality, a sentence used to quash Cordell's actual discovery of City Hall corruption, he is sent to Sing Sing. Barely surviving amongst the criminals he incarcerated, he is promptly mutilated and killed in a brutal shower attack. Shortly after, Cordell rises from the grave to seek vengeance on anyone who stands in his way.
Starring the late Robert Z'Dar as the titular undead cop with a mean streak, the film was a B-movie cult classic, which also featured a stellar cast in Tom Atkins, Richard Roundtree, and Evil Dead veteran Bruce Campbell. With excellent turns in Burn Notice and the incoming Ash vs. Evil Dead, Campbell's name might be thrown into the hat for a possible cameo. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen. Campbell doesn't have fond memories of the original, something alluded to in his interview with the AV Club.
Details and release dates for the remake are yet to be confirmed. One thing's for sure – you have the right to remain silent -- again.
[Images - Medusa Pictures, Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment and USA Network]