Speaking to the L.A. Times, Alvin and the Chipmunks director Tim Hill has revealed how he plans to update his Short Circuit remake for savvy audiences more aware of robotic technology and what an actual Indian guy looks like. Think more realistic for the robot and more pre-pubescent for the Ally Sheedy.
The Garfield 2 and Hop director--whom the Times calls "one of the more eclectic director voices out in Hollywood," apparently in reference to the breadth of CGI animal characters he has employed--explained that while he is "tempted to go back and grab the original" design for robot Johnny Five, that path being most faithful to the spirit of this lazy remake, he will be updating the character to reflect "what modern design actually is."
"You've got to find the balance between something fierce and something endearing," Hill told the paper. "The original was cute. But no one was threatened by it," he said, overlooking the fear evoked in hapless burglars faced with narrowed eye slats and a robotic "bad humans!"
This new, more threatening appearance is meant to reflect that, as in the original, Number Five's origins are as a military robot. This point Hill finds particularly relevant, as we now really do "have drones that do our fighting for us," and this remake can now finally answer the question of what if those drones suddenly got really depressed and overcome dwelling on their inevitable death and the morality of wartime killing?
Said Hill, "That's what makes this so interesting -- things like this moment in the story when Johnny realizes he's going to be disassembled and contemplates death, and whether it's right to terminate someone else." As the director himself recognized, hearing the harmonic plea of "Help Me, Rhonda" but knowing no one can help the inevitability of death, "These are heavy themes for a family movie." Sometimes inputting doesn't even seem like it's worth it, you know?
But don't worry, Hill also has a plan to make sure his remake will keep that family focus: now the Ally Sheedy character will be a teenager or pre-teen, "because it adds a wish-fulfillment dimension not present in the original." As if this remake isn't already the ultimate wish fulfillment, Tim.