Looking behind the scenes makes RoboCop even more remarkable. Sure, it's now considered one of the best action movies of the '80s, but making the film involved more drama than the onscreen saga of Alex Murphy. For example, if not for a mime saving the day on-set, the movie may have failed miserably. The story sounds pretty wild, but it's true. Plus, there are many other interesting tidbits about Paul Verhoeven's 1987 classic.
Though it's easy to dismiss as mindless action, the genre-mixing release is secretly a smart satire, a rare work of astute political and cultural commentary that also includes a fantastic first-person sequence. RoboCop explores what it means to exist as a human in a rapidly evolving world.
The scene in which RoboCop blasts the junk off a creep was almost a lot less memorable. Per the script, the hero was to shoot the villain over the target's shoulder. Verhoeven decided it was a better idea if RoboCop shot from between the legs, effectively turning subtext into text.
Kurtwood Smith played crime boss Clarence Boddicker, the villain in RoboCop. However, a couple of Smith's most memorable scenes resulted from improvisations. It seems perfect when Clarence throws his underling out of a van, asking, “Can you fly, Bobby?” The line wasn't in the script, though.
Also, during the police station scene, Smith's character spits bloody phlegm on a cop’s desk and screams, “Give me my f*cking phone call!” Those words were also not planned. The other actors in the scene were genuinely shocked, as evidenced by their on-screen reactions.
The filmmakers captured a particular scene of RoboCop in Los Angeles, CA, three months after every other act. It was a late addition to the project - the crew had already wrapped filming. Completely exhausting the $12 million budget, director of RoboCop, Paul Verhoeven, didn't have a scene depicting Alex Murphy's demise. This moment is integral to the story, though, humanizing the character and distinguishing RoboCop from a garden variety superhero in the process.
Fortunately, the studio recognized the importance of the sequence, expanding the budget just enough to include the final piece.
The filming of RoboCop occurred throughout the summer and fall of 1986. Since filming took place in Texas, the weather was often hot. Plus, Peter Weller had to wear a heavy robot-suit and makeup; he sweated nonstop in the heat.
Temperatures regularly rose to 100 degrees during the shoot. Weller said, "There were 27 days of absolute - I wouldn't say 'misery' - but it really demanded a Zen sort of discipline." The actor reportedly lost three pounds a day in water weight during this especially trying period in the production.