Dane DeHaan and Robert Pattinson are at the center of attention once again. The 26-year-old DeHaan and 25-year-old Pattinson were both nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 73rd Golden Globes for their roles in the new film, “Robocop.”

The pair first came to prominence when they starred in the 2013 film “Twilight.” Now, they’re at the forefront of the next big Hollywood trend: body-swap cinema. In the movie “Robocop,” DeHaan plays Alex Murphy, who finds himself in the body of a Robocop–like police officer named John Carroll. Carroll was murdered by a gang of criminals led by Raoul Mocho (Patton Oswalt). When DeHaan’s character emerges from the surgery with a new set of organs, he is forced to learn how to live in a robot body. For inspiration, DeHaan turned to video games for his “RoboCop” character. “He’s basically a Generation-One [Bart] Simpson,” DeHaan said. “He’s the smart-alecky millennial who always gets into trouble because he doesn’t know how to behave around machines and doesn’t take care of himself. He’s always hungry, he’s always thirsty, and he’s always broke.”

Generation-One Bart Simpson

While “Zombieland” director Ruben Fleischer was originally slated to direct the thriller “Robocop,” the project saw several hands before settling on David Fincher. Fincher’s recent career includes such acclaimed films as “Alien: Covenant,” “Zodiac,” “Game Change,” and “The Social Network.” A graduate of the legendary L.A. Film School, Fincher is known for being a meticulous planner who brings a unique cinematic style to every project. As a result, “Robocop” benefits from an incredibly streamlined and efficient production process. “We very rarely ever leave a place without a green-screen, so we don’t leave the house a lot. We don’t even go to restaurants. It’s all about the work,” Fincher said.

Along with his longtime collaborator, William Goldenberg, Fincher developed a detailed plan for “Robocop” with no major surprises. “We started with a couple of pages of scenes and characters and built the entire movie around that,” Fincher said. “We laid out everything from the first scene all the way to the last, and we stuck to it.” The pair initially drew inspiration for their screenplay from an old movie titled “Compulsion.” In the film, Robert Powell plays a man whose body is inhabited by the soul of his murdered wife. One of the best loved members of the Hollywood Black community, Powell went on to have a stunning career that included notable roles in films such as “Midnight Run,” “Scarecrow,” and “The Human Centipede.”

The two drafts of “Compulsion” that Fincher and Goldenberg initially found weren’t up to the standards of a modern Hollywood screenplay, so they set about rewriting it. On one of their first writing assignments, they tackled a sci-fi project from Paramount that eventually became “Robocop.” “It was one of those things where we were like, ‘This is so bad it’s amazing,’ and then we were like, ‘No, this is bad,’ and then we were like, ‘No, this is amazing,'” Fincher said. “What it really came down to is that we were trying to be different. It wasn’t that we were trying to be like a certain genre or a certain studio or anything. We just wanted to find a different way to tell this story.”

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

The biggest challenge that Fincher and Goldenberg faced was figuring out how to bring Murphy’s body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) to life onscreen. BDD is a mental disorder that often manifests itself in severe body dysmorphic disorder, in which people believe that they are ugly or have defects in some way that they cannot hide. People with BDD spend a great deal of time focusing on their appearance and may become angry or distressed if they don’t see the results of their hard work in the mirror.

The biggest obstacle in creating Murphy’s BDD was finding a way to show how the condition distorted his perception of reality and his fear of displeasing others. “It was really challenging to figure out how this could be shown in a non-psychiatric way. How would you show someone with body dysmorphic disorder becoming concerned about an imaginary partner who he thinks is judging him? How does that make sense? So that was definitely a hurdle. But otherwise, it was a blast to work on,” Fincher said.

Raoul Mocho

One of the major reasons why “Robocop” turned out to be such an integral part of pop culture is that it tapped into something so real. Raoul Mocho, who plays the role of mob boss Raoul Mocho, cited a scene in which he confronts DeHaan’s character as inspiration for his own real-life interactions with the press. “I love that scene, where I’m sitting there with a big grin on my face, and all these reporters are trying to ask me difficult questions but I won’t answer them because I’m enjoying the moment,” Mocho said. “I think that’s how I want to interact with the press – I want to sit there with a grin and say nothing but laugh at their jokes and ridicule them when they get too serious.”

“Robocop” also offers a glimpse into some of the darker aspects of contemporary society that Fincher and Goldenberg were able to portray. The film opens with a chilling conversation between two murderers in which they discuss the best way to execute a convicted drug dealer named Marsellus Wallace (played by Wesley Snipes). In this scene, the audience is made aware of the ugly side of the drug trade: the violence and the casual brutality for which it is largely responsible.

“When you’re making a movie about crime, you have to talk about crime. At the end of the day, you’re always going to be in the same place. It comes with the territory. You have to take responsibility for what happens in the story,” Fincher said. “But as far as the violence goes, we were always mindful of how realistic it needed to be in order to really capture the imagination of the audience. When there’s a gun in the vicinity, you’re going to see a lot of gunfire. If it’s not realistic, it doesn’t feel real. It’s a fine line you have to walk because you don’t want to overdo it. Sometimes less is more – there needs to be a certain level of tension and fear throughout the story that makes it more intriguing. In the case of ‘RoboCop,’ there was a level of violence that we didn’t quite know what to do with. It’s funny – at the end of the day, when you’re watching a Michael Bay movie, it’s pretty much the same as ‘RoboCop’.”

In the end, “Robocop” stands as a prime example of how to balance both realism and entertainment value in movies. The body-swap concept was completely new to audiences when the film was released in the summer of 2018, but it has since become a major talking point, with fans wondering how a movie with such incredible visual effects could be as realistic as it is innovative.