10 Things You Didn’t Know About Robocop
The cinematic marvel that was 1987’s Robocop was most definitely born from the successes of both Blade Runner and The Terminator, but it also was a strange sort of hybrid film that partially existed out of both the script writer (Ed Neumeier) and director’s (Paul Verhoeven) visions of what the film should look like. It was a product of the Reagan era done by a bunch of lefties. They saw America moving to the right and so they just took a few extra steps to the right and ended up with the city, OCP, and social aspects that we see in the film. There is so much to take in while watching the film. It has more layers than an onion, which is more in line with many of Verhoeven’s work than people might have known at the time. If you’re at all a fan of the film, you’ve probably seen it numerous times so I’m going to do my best to find 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Robocop…
1. The filmmakers realized that they were running over schedule and over budget so they purposely didn’t shoot the death scene of Officer Murphy. They went to the studio heads after the rest of filming was completed and told them that the most important scene in the movie had yet to be done and were given more money to film it in a warehouse in L.A.
2. While Robocop is famously set in Detroit, the only scenes of the city were in the beginning of the movie and it was done using stock footage. 22 locations in and around Dallas were used for the film itself. They tested out Detroit to see if it could be used but the skyline was deemed “not futuristic enough” for what was needed.
3. Orion Pictures took the film on after the success of The Terminator. They couldn’t find a director who would work on it partly because the title of the film was so damned stupid. Eventually, after being turned down by every mediocre to good director in Hollywood, they decided to send the script to Dutch director Paul Verhoeven. It ended up becoming his first American film.
4. Verheoven’s wife is the one who convinced Paul to take the script on. He read part of it and thought it was essentially an American piece of trash but she turned him on to the emotional parts of Murphy’s new existence. The flashback sequences were a way for Verhoeven to put more of his own flavor into the film. It’s an action picture and a film about the possibility of the human soul to survive anything. A mixture of things that would relate to both Americans and Europeans. It’s a man who turns into a robot and then slowly begins to realize that he was once a man. It’s a film about identity and soul more than anything. Well, maybe it’s also about a crazy, obscene violence!
5. The biggest inspiration for Peter Weller’s performance as Robocop was his work with a mime coach for weeks leading up to filming. The suit was late getting to the set so he didn’t have time to practice with it and he and Paul Verhoeven clashed pretty hard. They ended up giving him a couple of extra days to walk around in the suit and figure out how to move in that bulky monstrosity.
6. Robocop couldn’t fit into the police cruiser so all the scenes of him driving Peter Weller is in his underwear. He also couldn’t walk down stairs so you’ll notice that as he’s walking down the steps into the club he’s only being shown from the waste up. That is because he wasn’t wearing his bottoms and I’m only guessing that his robot dong was hanging out.
7. You may notice that the music changes during the performances of Robocop during the film. When he’s acting more machine than human you’ll hear synthesizers in the background. When he’s feeling more human they use orchestra music in the background.
8. Paul saw the ED 209 model as having a massive blindspot which was really a metaphor for its type of enforcement of the law. Some of the producers were looking at it as absurdly silly looking and non-functional. The scenes involving the robot were done using stop-motion as they didn’t have the SFX capabilities required to do much else except for having someone running around in a giant robot suit.
9. Christian themes of crucifixion and resurrection were going through Paul Verhoeven’s mind during much of the filming. Robocop even walks on water near the end of the film. Paul Verhoeven’s use of the absurdity of violence was a way for him to look at the film in a more artistic and humanitarian way. He wasn’t a director who had ever done science fiction so he wanted to look a the film in a way that made the robot cop more human.
10. Everyone was waiting to see what the title of the film would be because no one expected them to keep the ridiculously silly title of “Robocop”. What is maybe more surprising is that they never could come up with a title that fit better than Robocop so they ended up sticking with the blunt as can be title. The film ended up being submitted to the MPAA 12 times before finally getting an R rating. If you’re wondering why that is the case, just watch the insane violence of the director’s cut. It’s amazing….