Peter Weller

Dom Robinson interviewsPeter Weller
Robocop TrilogyThe following is two interviews with actor Peter Weller,police officer Alex Murphy in the first two Robocop films.

The first 7 questions are my own to the man and the following 6 were presentedby the radio publicity agency for MGM’s PR company, the latter for which I havebeen granted exclusive first print of which will not be madeavailable generally until the week of release.

Peter Weller was born on 24 June, 1947 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Hisfather was a helicopter pilot in the Army and therefore the Weller familytravelled around the world on different military postings ncludingHeidelberg, Germany and San Antonio, Texas.

Peter is currently studying for his masters in Italian renasissance Art inFlorence.

A review of the DVD will be online as soon as we receive the full trilogy,which is released on February 11th, 2002, for £32.99.

Peter Weller as Robocop

  • 1. What made you get involved with Robocop?
      I knew (Paul) Verhoeven’s films and talked to him about the theme ofresurrection. Hence we met again three times and then he hired me.
  • 2. How long had you known Paul Verhoeven before Robocop began filming?
      I knew his movies but I did not know him personally at all.
  • 3. What is favourite recollection of working on that film and with Paul Verhoeven?
      The discipline of the movement training and making a human being comealive underneath a metal suit.
  • 4. You’re a very prolific actor. How did you first get started in this industry?
      I wanted to be a jazz trumpet player. Realising I would never be MilesDavis, I turned to acting, which I had been doing for fun since I was tenyears old. Got a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.Began working immediately out of acting school. Continued studying with thegreat teacher Uta Hagen, then became a member of the Actor’s Studio in the70’s.
  • Peter Weller as Robocop

  • 5. Which has been your favourite film-making experience and why?
      Naked Lunchand The New Age. Both films explore a moral or spiritualbankruptcy. In different ways. Both are by great writer/Screenwriters:Cronenberg and Borroughs. And Michael Tolkin.
  • 6. What was the reason for you not appearing inRobocop 3and being replaced by Robert Burke?
      I was not replaced. I chose to doNaked Lunchinstead, which was a dreamcome true, as the book had been like a Bible to me since I was in college.
  • 7. You directed and co-wrote the teleplay for a TV one-off,“Partners”. Have you any plans to continue in this side of the film business?
      I co-wrote this with Eby Roe Smith (“Falling Through”) and directed thisshort film which received an Oscar nomination. I have since directed“Elmore Leonard’s Gold Coast” for Showtime/Paramount, two episodes ofHomicide, a pre-pilot for CBS “Michael Hayes” and will directanother Showtime film this year.

  • Peter Weller

  • 1. For those who haven’t seen Robocop
      Robocop is a futuristic action movie. I wouldn’t say its sciencefiction, I would say it’s an action film. But underneath this action filmthere’s an amazing satirical comment on western society that’s even morecogent now that the world is facing so many problems with possible nuclearterrorism, conflicts with third world countries, and technical globalisation.

      They all play into Robocop as the film’s an allegory of crucifixion andresurrection. There’s a story of salvation and there’s also a medieval tone.There’s a tone of the middle ages, like a knight, and these are all broughttogether by essentially not only the script but Paul Verhoeven’s incomparabledirection and my acting.

  • 2. On the film’s genre.
      It would be put into the genre of the action movie. It would have to be put inthe genre of the action movie. Its futuristic but its not science fiction. Youknow its not fantasy. It has a very heavy social reality to it that’s active,so it’s an action movie. It has a very black humour in it.
  • Peter Weller

  • 3. On the spoof adverts in the film.
      The satire in advertisements is the satire of western greed. It’s a good thingbecause all mankind is essentially greedy but greed has to be tempered withsatire. That’s why democracy is fun. That’s why dictatorships don’t work anymore,because they don’t get to play in a commercial market that allows for (a)competition and (b) satire.
  • 4. Talking about the suit.
      The suit was supposed to be lighter and easier that it actually was and initiallytook 8 hours to put on. Also, due to the logistics of pre-production, the suitarrived a little bit late and we had to work out the movement again as ouroriginal plans were not copasetic to the weight and cut of the suit. We madethis work, we made that work and then we redesigned the movement to fit theweight of the suit, and actually the weight of the suit gave the character amuch more profound dynamic, a heavier metier which created more pathos and alugubrious kind of animal quality. This really worked as opposed to what weoriginally designed which was very sort of liquid and fluid and probablywouldn’t have been nearer as pathetic.
  • Peter Weller

  • 5. On the DVD release.
      On the DVD you will see interviews with Paul. You will see how the movie wasmade. You will see extra scenes that were cut out, ridiculously cut out Imight say, because of the censors. Once it is understood that it is notgratuitously violent that it’s, you know, part of the story and thecrucifixion angle. The restored scenes definitely make the film more powerful.
  • 6. On Murphy’s death.
      It’s a parable. It’s equated to the crucifixion. I mean I have my hand blownoff first which is the nail going into the wood. And my arm is blown off asits extended and then the final wound of the spear of Longinus is the bulletgoing through my head. It is meant to be gothic and disturbingly northernEuropean horror like crucifixion actually was. That’s how one endows theresurrection that happens later with power, because you’ve seen somethinghorrendous happen to a common man, an innocent man, and then you see himrevived.
  • Robocop DVD Trilogy

    The DVD Trilogy Boxset.

    This interview was printed with kind permission by MGM’s PR company. 2002.

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