“You Have 20 Seconds To Comply!”
(In case you didn’t already realise) RoboCop is an American cyberpunk action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Peter Weller.
Set in a crime-ridden Detroit, Michigan, in the near future, RoboCop focuses on police officer Alex Murphy (Weller) who is murdered by a gang of criminals and later revived by the mega-corporation ‘Omni Consumer Products’ as a superhuman cyborg law enforcer known as RoboCop.
RoboCop received positive reviews and was rated as one of the best films of that year. It also spawned a franchise that included two sequels, merchandise, a television series, a remake, two animated TV series, a TV mini-series, computer games, and a number of comic book adaptations.
RoboCop was originally released in the US on the 17th July 1987, 30 years ago today. To celebrate this anniversary, here are 10 amazing RoboCop facts!
1) It Was Inspired By Blade Runner
One of the writers of RoboCop, Edward Neumeier, stated that he first got the idea for RoboCop when he walked with a friend past a poster for Blade Runner. He asked his friend what the film was about and his friend replied, “It’s about a cop hunting robots”. For him, this sparked the idea about a robot cop.
2) It Won An Oscar
RoboCop won the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing, along with nominations for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Other honors for the film include five Saturn Awards and two BAFTA nominations.
3) It Could Have Been Called ‘SuperCop’
In 1984 writer Neumeier met music video director Michael Miner, who was working on a similar idea. His rough draft script was called ‘SuperCop’, a story about a cop who has been seriously injured and becomes a donor for an experiment to create a cybernetic police officer. The two felt they could successfully combine their ideas.
4) It Could Have Starred Schwarzenegger
Before Peter Weller was cast, Rutger Hauer or Arnold Schwarzenegger were favored to play RoboCop by Verhoeven and the producers. However, each man’s large frame would have made it difficult for either of them to move in the cumbersome RoboCop suit, which had been modeled on hockey gear and designed to be large and bulky.
5) The RoboCop Character Is Based Partly On Judge Dredd
The character of RoboCop itself was inspired by British comic book hero ‘Judge Dredd’, as well as the Japanese toku series ‘Space Sheriff Gavan’ and the Marvel Comics superhero ‘Rom’.
6) The RoboCop Suit Itself Cost A Million Dollars
The film only cost around 13 million dollars in total, but a budget of up to one million dollars was allotted to the completion of the suit, making it the most expensive item on the set. A total of six suits were made; three intact and three showing damage.
7) The Original Version Of The Film Was Given an X Rating 8 Times
The movie was originally given an X rating by the Motion Picture Association of America due to its graphic violence. To appease the requirements of the ratings board, Verhoeven reduced the blood and gore in the most violent scenes, and also added humorous commercials throughout the news broadcasts to lighten the mood. The original uncut version is included on many modern additions of the film.
8) Stan Lee Turned It Down
In 1984 writer Neumeier ran the idea by Stan Lee with a view to turning the story into a Comic. Before Lee committed one way or the other, he and Neumeier attended an early screening of The Terminator. An impressed Lee told the writer, “Boy, you’re never going to top that!” and turned it down.
9) Peter Weller Became A Mime For The Role
Knowing the suit would limit his facial expressions, Orion Pictures suggested to Peter Weller that he seek out a mime coach in order to become more physically expressive. Weller worked on fluid, balletic movements that incorporated dance training, and even dressed up in American Football gear whilst walking around Central Park to get a feel for moving with added bulk attached.
10) RoboCop Doesn’t Wear Trousers When Driving
Believe it or not robot police suits didn’t function well with the cars of 1987, so Weller couldn’t fit into a car when wearing the entire suit (that’s why you only see RoboCop preparing to step into or halfway out of his car). For the scenes where RoboCop was driving, Weller wore the top half of the suit along with boxer shorts.