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HBO picks up Maniac Cop series from Nicolas Winding Refn

maniac cop, nicolas winding refn, HBO

After delivering his series TOO OLD TO DIE YOUNG this year, filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (DRIVE) is jumping back into another series, this time a reimagining of the 1988 cult classic movie, MANIAC COP. The series has been given the green light by HBO for North American viewers and Canal+ nabbing the French rights, with Refn and John Hyams (UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION) executive producing and directing.

Deadline got the scoop about the series based on the genre film from director William Lustig and writer Larry Cohen, which is also set to be the first production from Refn’s independent studio, byNWR Originals. Set in Los Angeles, the original movie is set on police officers tracking down a man who has been seen killing people while wearing a police uniform, only to learn he’s a former back from the dead to seek revenge on those who have wronged him. Initially a bomb when it came out, the movie gained a cult following and spawned two sequels, MANIAC COP 2 and MANIAC COP: BADGE OF SILENCE.  The movie starred Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Laurene Landon, Richard Roundtree, William Smith, Robert Z’Dar, and Sheree North, but no Danny Glover talking how he's too old for all this Maniac Cop shit. 

This is not the first attempt from Refn to bring a new take on MANIAC COP to the screen. The filmmaker had hopes for a new film version back in 2016, with production set to begin in 2017. That never materialized, and Refn released a statement detailing how he and Hyams determined that doing it as a series will allow them to explore the world and the characters with more depth.

“I’ve always been a devoted admirer of John Hyams. We’ve been talking about a re-imagining of the Maniac Cop films for a number of years, but as we continued to work on the material, we found ourselves wanting to explore the world we were creating in greater depth. Turning Maniac Cop into a series will allow us to realize our wildest ambitions and to reach an enormous audience through partners HBO and Canal+. This show will be an unadulterated, action-packed horror odyssey. Given the current state of the world, though, Maniac Cop will also be a strong commentary on the decline of civilization.”

There are no details on the series yet in terms of start date and casting, but I suspect this is a project that will get rolling sometime next year. I can't see this being a straight remake and expansion of the original movie, but rather Refn and Hyams taking inspiration from it to make a new, genre-influenced cop thriller with some psychological angles -- perhaps like TRUE DETECTIVE. To simply expand on the original movie seems too "out there" a concept for a series, even if it's from HBO, so I imagine the two have a unique angle on it that got the network excited. Regardless of the approach, I'm curious to see what Refn cooks up. His stuff isn't always great, but there's a sort of dark allure to them that at least makes them interesting to watch. At least we can assume there will be a lot of neon lighting involved.

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Source: Deadline

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