I'm starting to wonder if things might have gone arye on MGM's Robocop reboot. First off, the newly hired director Jose Padilha has found his name linked with the Wolverine sequel at Fox this week and now comes word of another project he is deep into developing and that could end up being his next movie. THR say the Elite Squad helmer is spearheading a political action movie titled Tri-Border with Gran Torino writer Nick Schenk that follows a DEA agent who is sent to Paraguay as a punishment for busting out the son of a senator in a raid. The movie follows his desperate journey to get back home which will only be granted to him if he captures a major dealer.
The script will explore the ins-and-outs of the different crime organizations and law enforcement agencies in the tri-border zone... trisected by Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, where competing crime organizations and law enforcement agencies fight for the upper hand.
If the plot sounds familiar it's because Oscar winning Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow spent the majority of last year developing a movie with almost identical themes and an eerily similar title. Hers was titled Triple Frontiersr which was scripted from frequent collaborator Mark Boal and would be their Traffic style ensemble drugs movie set at the notorious border intersection of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina where the Igazu and Parana rivers converge and crime is impossible to monitor. Tom Hanks would play a Law Enforcement Agent and there were roles intended for Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, Javier Bardem and several other A-list actors but as her Osama Bin Laden takedown movie (also written by Mark Boal) has become the benefit of good timing and just got picked up by Sony, her attention is currently elsewhere. Padilha told THR about his movie;
"The idea is to have a political film hidden inside an action film, a film that can entertain and teach people about the tri-border and the international crime in general,
Momentum seems to be gathering but we should note that no studio or distributor is attached yet. Indeed Padilha seems to have financed development on the film himself from his Elite Squad wages so far, funding the trip Padilha and Schenk are currently undertaking researching out the area;
Its a different reality, in a totally different environment: the frontier of three countries, in which one finds many different players operating, ranging from Italian, Chinese and Serbian mafias, to Bolivian, Colombian and Brazilian drug dealers, including Lebanese smugglers suspected of helping Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as corrupted police and politicians from Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.
Schenk has been given until the end of August to finish his screenplay and presumably it's hoped it can get before camera's in the fall. If nothing else, it definitely sounds like Padilha's attention is well away from Robocop.