Press roundtable - Robocop : Let's talk with Abbie Cornish and Gary Oldman

By Mulder, Paris, George V, 03 february 2014


Gary Oldman : it is funny, people say, how do you like the original Robocop and I’m thinking, yes I am remembering, when I was a kid.

Q : if the same thing actually happened to you in real life, if you had to make a choice as in the movie, what do you think you would do ?

Abbie Cornish : sensitive topic. I think the fact that doctor Norton says that his mind will be intact, that his memories will be there, that he will be cognitive, that he will be there is why she signs that piece of paper. I think that because of the fact that she has a son, she wants to keep her son’s father alive. It is more about his son than it is about her. I think that his mind and memories make him who he is. Your mind, your heart and soul make you who you are. That is my answer in regards to Clara Murphy. In regards to myself, I have no idea. The reason why I say that it is a sensitive topic is because when I was twelve years old, I had a friend who was run over by a motorbike and was on life support. The parents had to live through that very difficult decision. It was a tragic thing to watch. So when I say it’s a sensitive topic, I can’t even talk about this myself, because I could not imagine as a parent, as a wife at all. I have no idea.

Q : Obviously in the movie Doctor Norton seems much more than just a scientist, just a doctor. How do you see his relationship with Alex Murphy. It is about science, about money or about something totally different ?

Oldman : well I think he is a sensitive man we are talking about this. I think he is more artistic. He seems to have an artistic sensibility but I think someone has noted that it is always about science. I think it is an obsession but that changes with the relationship and the situation he is in, because he is in uncharted territory. They can’t make an opposite and go alone in many way. He’s definitely not a corporate man. It’s like a director trying to get money out of a studio. I couldn’t care less if it was fucking Warner Bros. or Fox, as long as they’re giving me the money to make my movie, because I am an artist.

Q: Could you talk about your working experience, your friendship with Joel on the set ?

Cornish : we had a good rehearsal period, a good rehearsal time, which is unusual for big movie like this. On the Jane Campion movie, we had three weeks of rehearsal, which was amazing. So, we were able to develop that family dynamic with John Paul Ruttan during that time, because obviously there are only two moments where we see Clara Murphy happy and the family together as a family, before this tragedy happens and everything falls apart after that. Surprisingly, John and I didn’t have a lot of scenes together. The skype call, we did together. I can say that I am lucky, I have a couple of scenes with Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, but the scenes that I did have with Joel were really important. They sort of held themselves, because of the subject and the family. They write themselves, they play themselves.
Oldman: it’s great we had a rehearsal. Obviously, if you are someone like Jane Campion, you can think of it. But for a one hundred million dollar movie, you don’t.

Cornish : unless it is like, you’ve got to train or something. You’ve got to do three months of training. It was a large, large training.

Oldman: if the camera is rolling, it is pointless for the studio.

Cornish : and particularly in this film, we had such a lovely cast and crew. It was really lovely to go to work every day, everyone across the board. Wasn’t it a lovely bunch ?

Q: In this movie, especially Samuel L Jackson has a particularly strong power. What is your relationship to the media as an actor and the role of the media nowadays ?

Oldman: my relationship with the media. I don’t think that I have responsibility anymore, I don’t feel that they are responsible for their opinions. America is almost as if it was government run. I think there is no honest journalism, you find that rare now. I think it is also the internet and the modern technology in a way that created a whole generation of bullies who sit behind their computers and everybody is a fucking critic. I don’t know what it is like here, but in America you can’t get an honest view.

Cornish : you’ve got to search and you’ve got to seek so hard to find truth.

Oldman: Mainstream is mainstream.

Cornish : if you open your google mail, what you get exposed to is what a lot of the population is getting exposed to. You are going, just before you log into your email, and the things you’ve been spoonfed or the media you are getting exposed to is just there. It is about, for example, Angelina Jolie is pregnant or best and worst dressed or you know what I mean. Why aren’t we being told about factory farming ? Why aren’t we being told that the life export trade coming out of Australia right now is insanely inhumane and needs to be changed. Laws need to be changed. Why aren’t we talking and exposing what is going on in the world and then making decisions together about how to change it and what we would collectively like to do. Just to find real truth and real information, you have to seek and search. I just wish there was a little bit more exposure, a little bit more truth. A documentary like “The Cove” changed so many people’s opinions and changed the way people felt and thought and the way they could expose something. The incident that happened at Sea World, the fact that that got news coverage. I’ll just have to stop talking about this, because I can keep talking about this. I am passionate about these things : human and animal rights and what’s going on.

Oldman: You have got a situation when you have the President of the United States in 2008 and 2009 saying that what Bush was doing with executive orders and going around congress, all of the shenanigans that were going on, was in fact unamerican and the secrecy of Washington, he was going to change all of that. He is doing it now on fucking steroids, but the media aren’t reporting it. You hear about it on Fox News. The rest of the news doesn’t talk about it. You’ll hear about Benghazi on Fox News.
Cornish : I live in a very suburban area, some kind of converted warehouse space. I talk to a lot of homeless people in my area and a lot of them are mentally ill. America has not implemented yet a system where they take care of people that have mental illnesses. There’s not enough care taken to these people. These aren’t choices, this is the way they were born. Sometimes these are people without families, there’s no one else to take care of them. They can’t get a job, because of whatever illness they have or disabilities they have. There is not a system in America to take care of them, to house them or home them. Where will they end up ? They’ll end up on the street. Unless you sit and you talk to these people, you might say, God, walking down the street, talking to himself and his pants are all dirty. But he needs help. We need to build a better system, where we are looking after each other, where we are caring for each other, where we are caring for the world we live in. I think, in regards to what we are talking about, the media can help that a lot.

Q: what did you appreciate in the José Padilha way to shoot a movie ?

Oldman: the movie that you saw, two days ago or yesterday or whatever it was, is the movie that he pitched me when I first met him. He has a point of view, he’s a filmmaker with a point of view. He has a vision, he had a whole vision of it. He said it’s going to be tricky, because I got to get around the studio and I got to do things and throw some things in. It was like he was making a big soup and when the studio wasn’t looking, he threw in another recipe (joke). There is no garlic in that soup.

Cornish : let’s not taste it just yet, wait until he finishes it (joke). He is a warrior.

Oldman: it is always nice to work with someone like him. You don’t know early on if a director has got a point of view. And if he doesn’t, you’re sailing without a captain.

Cornish : yes, straight away. He is also very warm and so his set is a very light set even in dramatic scenes. You’re laughing, there is a warmth amongst the crew and everyone enjoys working for him and working with him and that I think that environment based on trust allows for freedom and creativity to really blossom. I think he is a great advocate for that.

Oldman: I can’t bear the bullies and the shouters on the set. I’m too old for that (joking)

With all our thanks to Gwenn from WayToBlue agency
Intervie, video editing by Boris Colletier