EXCL: Writer Ed Brubaker on “MANIAC COP” Remake
Last weekend, Fango had a chance to chit-chat with comics legend Ed Brubaker (FATALE, CRIMINAL, SLEEPER, CAPTAIN AMERICA) and of course had to ask about his involvement with the newly announced MANIAC COP remake. It’s difficult to not treat any classic horror remake with a sense of dread. However, as deliciously trashy and entertaining as the MANIAC COP franchise is, it’s not exactly a canonical classic. Remaking the movie isn’t necessarily a fool’s errand. There is room for improvement and plenty of avenues to play in that should lead to all sorts of cheap thrills and lurid entertainment.
It’s especially exciting given that the project was spearheaded by none other than Nicolas Winding Refn (DRIVE), is produced by original director William Lustig and is written by Brubaker, a man with a proven track record for intelligent pulp entertainment in comics. The director of the project should be announced sometime over the next week in Cannes, so expect further internet-baiting headlines to follow. For now, please enjoy this brief but exclusive chat with Brubaker about his work on MANIAC COP.
FANGORIA: You were announced as the screenwriter of MANIAC COP last week. How was that experience? It’s for Refn, right?
ED BRUBAKER: Yeah, it’s Refn. That’s kind of how it happened. We have the same manager and know a couple different producers who I‘ve been talking about a few projects with. So we were introduced and he was given a bunch of my comics. We were talking about doing something together and then out of left field he brought up Maniac Cop saying that they were looking for a screenwriter and asked if I wanted to do it. I thought, “Well, under normal circumstances maybe not, but it’s Nicolas Refn. If he wants to make MANIAC CIP, then I’m interested. So I worked on that on and off over the last year. Now we’ve got a director and we’re going into production this fall. They’re shopping it at Cannes and we’ve already got a budget. I think they’re even out production scouting already. So that’s kind of crazy. It was a lot of fun.
FANG: Will it be a similar tone to the original?
BRUBAKER: 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. It was an interesting job.
Definitely when I started talking to Refn, I didn’t expect that he was going to offer me a monster movie. So, it was definitely not what I was expecting, but then I realized that I fucking love movies like that, so why not try one and then bring whatever my voice actually is into it. 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. I jokingly told Refn that I went through screenwriting bootcamp with him. I’d been doing it for a couple years and thought I knew the ropes, but now I know that getting a feature ready for production is a fuck-ton of work.
FANG: Any chance of Refn getting his old buddy Mads Mikkelsen to play the Maniac Cop?
BRUBAKER: [Laughs] I kind of doubt it. I think he’s probably busy with HANNIBAL. I don’t have any control over this, but I would love it to be Kevin Grevioux, actually. Have you ever heard his voice in real life? His voice sounds like it’s going through a synthesizer. He’d be perfect for it. He’s great in those UNDERWORLD movies. But, I don’t know. I’ll be really curious to see how it comes together now that we have a director and budget. It’s not cast contingent at all, which is amazing. That’s the big difference between MANIAC COP and COWARD [An adaptation of Brubaker’s first CRIMINAL book to be directed by I SAW THE DEVIL’s Kim Jee-woon]. Who we cast in COWARD is where we’ll get our budget. Whereas MANIAC COP, just the package alone was enough to get the budget. So I’ll actually get a film made that was intended to be a film.