In the 1980s and ’90s, Paul Verhoeven became synonymous with high profile science fiction films that combined cutting social satire with Hollywood spectacle. From his cyborg police saga “RoboCop” to his Arnold Schwarzenegger-led Philip K. Dick adaptation “Total Recall” to his misunderstood fascism satire “Starship Troopers,” the Dutch filmmaker made many of the genre’s most recognizable classics. But in the 21st century, Verhoeven has largely steered clear of genre fare. The director has primarily worked in Europe, helming unclassifiable thrillers such as 2016’s “Elle” and 2021’s “Benedetta” that are more grounded in reality than his past works. (Though anyone who has seen them can attest that the “Basic Instinct” director’s fascination with depicting sex on screen clearly has not faded.)
But as the 85-year-old director prepares to shoot his next project, he revealed that he hasn’t entirely said goodbye to genre films. In a new interview published on Metrograph.com, Verhoeven revealed that he would be open to returning to sci-fi filmmaking if he found a script that was as substantive as his previous works.
“If someone were to give me a script like ‘RoboCop’ or ‘Total Recall,’ I wouldn’t hesitate to do that,” Verhoeven said, adding that if such a script exists “I haven’t seen it.”
While he hasn’t found a sci-fi project that piqued his interest, Verhoeven has plenty to keep him busy. He is currently preparing to shoot a political thriller called “Young Sinner,” which would mark his fist American film since he released “Hollow Man” in 2000. Verhoeven said that the film, which sees him reteaming with “RoboCop” writer Ed Neumeier, could be ready to enter production as early as this year.
“I’m working with Ed Neumeier, who wrote RoboCop. You could say it’s a political thriller, if you want, situated in Washington,” he said of the project. “The last couple of years I’ve been working in France because I couldn’t find something interesting here at that time. But Ed came up with a really interesting proposal. For two years we have been working on the screenplay. It should be done in two months and then we can find out if someone can finance it.”