Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton has joined the cast of Robocop (Reuters)

Michael Keaton has joined the cast of the remake of science-fiction classic RoboCop.

Keaton will play the CEO of evil corporation Omnicorp, the company that transforms police officer Alex Murphy into RoboCop after he is gunned down by criminals.

The remake of Paul Verhoeven's ultra-violent 1987 action film is being directed by Jose Padilha, who garnered critical acclaim for his blistering Rio-set police thriller Elite Squad.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Keaton replaces British actor Hugh Laurie, who had been in negotiations for the role, but dropped out.

Keaton joins Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson in the cast, while Joel Kinnaman will have the unenviable task of stepping into Peter Weller's shoes as the film's hero.

Padilha said: "Michael is the final addition to the amazing cast we have assembled for this film, and it is so great to have the last puzzle piece in place.

"It is thrilling that everything has come together to bring this innovative new vision of RoboCop to life. We've got a great script, a great cast, some killer ED-209s and I can't wait to get Alex Murphy back on the streets."

Other cast members include Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Abbie Cornish and Michael Kenneth Williams. However, Padilha's apparent enthusiasm for the project has been somewhat undercut by comments made by his friend and fellow director Fernando Meirelles.

According to Meirelles, Padilha has been having a torrid time getting his vision for the project past the scrutiny of MGM, branding his first Hollywood film "the worst experience".

The new RoboCop is expected in August 2013.