In 1987, director Paul Verhoeven blew away audiences with an ultra-violent 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.
Check out more “RoboCop” trivia, quotes and goofs on IMDb.com.
Screenwriter Edward Neumeier said he 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,” about a cop who hunts down robots. That inspired his idea for a film about a robot cop.
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, the director said on Criterion edition’s DVD commentary. 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 science fiction 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 costume.
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 more than 50 takes of the one shot.
Speaking of that car, the suit was so bulky that Weller couldn’t fit inside the vehicle. 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, the commentary also revealed. Below the waist, he’s in his underwear.
Though the film is set in Detroit, most of “RoboCop” 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. According to the DVD commentary, 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.
The trauma team trying to resuscitate Murphy was an actual emergency room unit who were allowed to ad-lib their dialogue. The writers agreed that it was better than anything they could have written themselves, said Neumeier and Miner on the film’s DVD commentary.
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.
Verhoeven said 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 “RoboCop” fun facts, check out IMDb’s trivia page.