What They Said: Tim Hill Outlines His Vision of a New (Controversial?) 'Short Circuit'

What They Said: Tim Hill Outlines His Vision of a New (Controversial?) 'Short Circuit'

Apr 11, 2012

Johnny 5 in Short CircuitIt’s hard to keep track of all the remakes and reboots Hollywood currently has in development, but one that we’ve been following closely is Short Circuit. Dimension Films is currently hard at work crafting a new take on the story of beloved robot Johnny 5. The LA Times recently caught up with director Tim Hill, and he explained his plans for bringing the feisty robot to a new generation of movie fans.

In a move that seems pretty shocking for a family-friendly film, Hill thinks tying the new Short Circuit into modern day drone warfare is the key to the plot.

“The thing that makes it so relevant is that we live in this age of robots, particularly when it comes to war. We have drones that do our fighting for us, do all these jobs men and women don’t want to do. And 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.”

Hill is quick to acknowledge that “these are heavy themes for a family movie,” but adds that he “thinks they have their place.” They certainly could – the original film’s Johnny 5 was also a weapon who developed a conscience after he became human. For the film to succeed, it’s mostly a matter of finding the right balance of these elements.

The director is really dedicated to the artificial intelligence and robotic components of the Johnny 5 character, telling the LA Times about all of the robotics books he’s reading in preparation. This isn’t because he wants to make a nerd-friendly feature, but more so that he creates an updated version of the character that resonates with modern audiences and reflects the technology of our times.

“If you look at kids and how they adopt machinery, it’s just getting tight and tighter. We're just becoming more connected to our machines. That’s why I think this can say more about our relationship with technology than the original ever did.”

The kids and technology angle is something the film is looking to play up. In a major change from the original title, the Ally Sheedy character will be reimagined as a teen or pre-teen character. The rationale behind the change is that it adds an air of “wish fulfillment” to the story.

Johnny 5, meanwhile, is set to retain his pure heart and sense of innocence – even if his physical appearance changes in the remake. “I’m tempted to go back and grab the original [robot],” Hill said. “But I think it has to be closer to what modern design actually is. There are computer models and labs developing real machines like this. We want to do something like that.”

These proposed changes are intriguing – and it seems like Hill’s dedicated to the idea of remaking the film, but also personalizing it as well. Does Hill’s vision of a modern-day Short Circuit sell you on this remake or would you prefer to just fire up your VHS every time you feel the urge to shout “Johnny 5 is alive!”? Hit the comment section and share your thoughts with us. 

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