‘RoboCop’ 30th Anniversary: 12 Facts About Paul Verhoeven’s Gory Sci-Fi Satire (Photos)
In 1987, director Paul Verhoeven blew away audiences with an ultraviolent sci-fi film called “RoboCop,” which shows a cop in a dystopian Detroit who is killed and then brought back to life as a robot policemen. Beneath the ridiculous gore was a smart script that sharply satirized corporate America and the glorification of brute force to uphold public order. In honor of the film’s 30th anniversary, here’s some trivia you might not have known courtesy of TheWrap and IMDb.
According to an article on The Dissolve, screenwriter Edward Neumeier first came up with the idea for RoboCop while working on the Warner Bros. lot. While there, he watched legendary director Ridley Scott film “Blade Runner,” whose plot about a cop who hunts down robots inspired the idea for a film about a robot cop.
On the Criterion edition’s DVD commentary, when Paul Verhoeven first read Neumeier’s script, he threw it away after reading a few pages because he thought it was going to be a dumb sci-fi film. Later, Verhoeven’s wife read the script and told him to do the film, as it had deeper social commentary that Verhoeven was looking for in a sci-fi film.
The DVD commentary also revealed that the RoboCop suit, which was made mostly of foam rubber, was a nightmare to wear for the film’s star, Peter Weller. The suit was so hot that he was losing three pounds a day from water loss, leading to an air conditioner being installed in the suit.
The commentary also mentioned that the scene where RoboCop catches the keys to his car shortly after coming online took an entire day’s worth of filming to complete. That’s because the keys kept bouncing off of Weller’s hand due to the rubber of the suit, forcing them to do over 50 takes of that one shot.
Speaking of that car, Weller quickly discovered that the suit was so bulky he couldn’t fit inside the car. So whenever you see RoboCop driving his car, what you don’t see out of the frame is that Weller was only wearing half the suit. Below the waist, he’s in his underwear.
Though the film is set in Detroit, most of the film was shot on-location in Dallas. Texans will likely recognize the OCP headquarters as Dallas’ City Hall, while the glass elevator RoboCop rides in is located at the Plaza of the Americas.
Verhoeven and effects artist Rob Bottin clashed repeatedly over the presentation of RoboCop’s suit. Bottin wanted a scene where RoboCop takes off his helmet to be filmed in low light to mask the effects, while Verhoeven wanted it filmed brightly. The dispute led Bottin to declare he’d never work with Verhoeven again, but both men were so impressed with the final cut that they agreed to work together three years later on “Total Recall.”
Neumeier and Verhoeven were so pleased with the project that ten years later, they reunited to create “Starship Troopers,” another sci-fi film that doubled as a dark satire of fascism.
According to the film’s DVD commentary from Neumeier and Miner, the trauma team trying to resuscitate Murphy was an actual emergency room unit who was allowed to ad-lib their dialogue. The writers agreed that it was better than anything they could have written themselves.
The DVD also contains the uncut version of Alex Murphy’s grisly death, which led to his resurrection as RoboCop. In an interview originally aired on AMC, Verhoeven said he had to submit the scene 12 times in order to get an R rating from the MPAA instead of an X rating.
In the commentary, Verhoeven noted that the scene where RoboCop shoots through a woman’s dress to hit a mugger in the nads was not in the script. The script originally called for RoboCop to shoot past the woman’s cheek and hit the mugger in the head, but Verhoeven decided to improvise and go with a more darkly humorous target instead.
In a bizarre bit of marketing for the film’s VHS release, RoboCop “escorted” former President Richard Nixon to a Boys Club of America event, though the man in the RoboCop suit wasn’t Weller. The photo of Nixon and RoboCop was published in Billboard Magazine, and when asked about it by MentalFloss, many cast and crew members said they couldn’t recall the meeting between RoboCop and Nixon.
For more movie fun facts, check out IMDb’s trivia page.
Source: The Wrap