Last month I walked backwards into what looks like a real story. I took a snarky Darren Aronofsky reply to a stupid Robocop question as a sign that the director was off the remake project. It turned out that Aronofsky was, at the time, still on. But other details began to emerge. And now more details continue to emerge, and it’s beginning to look possible that the Robocop remake won’t be a Darren Aronofsky film.

First, the basics:

MGM really wants a Robocop movie. Like, hugely so. Their 2011 is pretty much centered on the movie happening. But MGM is also wary. They don’t have a ton of money to throw around, and they’re not interested in a Watchmen-style ‘artistic triumph’ movie. They want an honest to god hit that will make them honest to god large amounts of money.

Darren Aronofsky would like to do Robocop. He wants to do it as a hard R picture. A very hard R. And he wants to spend some money on the film. Sources tell me that the director has begun chafing in the low-budget spectrum and would like to flex his muscles with something in the deeper end of the pool.

MGM is concerned about that. They’re worried that the hard R rating will cap their profits. And they’re worried that a Robocop that comes in at 150 million dollars and is R will really squeeze the profits.

So that was the last I heard about it. MGM will have a Robocop in theaters in 2011, and at the time it looked like they were in the process of figuring out with Aronofsky just how to make that happen in a way that would make everybody happy.

But now there’s new word from The Hollywood Reporter that Aronofsky’s The Black Swan, his ballet film, may be taking precedence, especially as the director tries to make it fit into Natalie Portman’s schedule. If that’s the case it could potentially render all of the Robocop hand-wringing moot, and mean that Aronofsky will step away from that project. Or the sudden change in priorities could mean that Aronofsky is no longer interested in haggling with MGM and is just getting ready to move on.

There will be a Robocop film in your local theaters in 2011. I believe it will be rated R. As to whose name will be on the directing credit… well, that remains to be seen.

via The Hollywood Reporter