THE FATE OF CATZO|
If you like good mysteries, RoboCop2 is full of them. Maybe not to the casual viewer but to fans there's plenty to discuss, research and speculate on when it comes to this problematic sequel.
The perhaps biggest mystery of RoboCop2 is that of the missing villain Catzo (or the Elvis guy as he is known to fans) who suddenly disappears and never get a proper exit or death. It's not hard to come to the conclusion that his fate was simply cut from the finished film, there ARE a lot of scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor. But what happened to him? Are there clues to his exit in the script or other media? Let's have a look.
The fourth draft of RoboCop2, dated August 8, 1989, has Catzo dying at the Nuke factory raid. Let's examine the entry in the script.
A WIRE NOOSE whips through the air to ROBO's NECK.
CATZO yanks the wire
ROBO clatters to the floor, clutching at his neck. Sparks erupt
from his neck as the wire bites in.
ROBO rises to one knee, teeth gritted, and yanks the wire.
CATZO crashes across LAB EQUIPMENT and takes a bath in NUKE.
ROBO walks past CATZO, watching as--
CATZO wallows in NUKE, smiling ecstatically. BLOOD streams from
his MOUTH, his NOSE, his ears.
Thanks... it's great...
A grizzly death for Catzo. It seems like a plausible scene to have appeared in the movie and if we take a look at the RoboCop2: Arcade game there is a screen that very much duplicates this scene from the script.
Can't get much clearer than that can it? But let's take a look at the comic adaptation of RoboCop2 just to be absolutely sure. This comic is a great source for fans to, while not all, get to know many scenes that was cut from the movie. Perhaps Catzo's death can be find within the pages of the comic version?
Unfortunately, at first, it looks like a disappointment. It is not overly clear if Catzo as a character is even in the comic, and nothing resembling the death from the script can be found. But then comes a scene that sticks out.
The villain Lewis fights doesn't look anything like Catzo, but the scene stands out. Seems likely that it is one of the main bad guys from the movie, but who? It could as easily be the other missing villain Gillette.
Written by Ed Naha, the novel adaptation of RoboCop2 contains even more deleted scenes and sections from the script that were removed/ripped out at an early stage by director Irvin Kershner. Particularly it contains many scenes featuring Lewis, but perhaps it can also shed some light on Catzo's mysterious demise.
On page 146 and 147 we find what we look for.
Catzo stared across the room. Lewis stood alone, her form illuminated
by the blazing truck. Catzo chuckled. He raised his gun.
"Like shooting fish in a barrel."
He squeezed the trigger. Click. Catzo stared at the gun in puzzlement.
"No more bullets? Damn. Oh, well. "
Catzo tossed down the .45 and produced two large knifes out of his belt.
he juggled them with the ease of a trained knife-fighter. Lewis bent down
and yanked a switchblade from her boot, swinging it open.
"Just knifes, then." She smiled.
Catzo danced towards Lewis, amazingly graceful for his size. He swung his
knife, toying with Lewis. The blade cut through her gunbelt and sent it
clattering to the ground. Catzo thrust and parried again, producing a
razor-thin cut on a startled Lewis's right cheek.
"Just knifes." Catzo giggled. "Never needed anything else. Not on girls."
Feeling as he was already the victor, Catzo took a wild swing at Lewis.
Lewis raised her right arm up, blocking Catzo's lunge. Crouching she
brought her left hand up hard. Her knife blade sliced into a spot on
Catzo's chest between the ribs.
Catzo uttered a casual "Oh, shit."
Lewis slowly raised her body, twisting the blade as she did so. She felt the
blade pierce Catzo's heart. She placed her face an inch from his and
watched as the dumbfounded man died.
"Guess you haven't spent much time in Detroit huh?" Lewis asked him.
Catzo stared at her, a blank look on his face. Lewis pulled her knife out of the
man. His bulky body teetered for a moment before crashing onto the ground.
The novel version pretty much mirrors the scene from the comic adaptation, which makes things interesting. Here we now have two VERY distinct variations on Catzo's demise. One where he dies in a bath of nuke, supported by the fourth draft and the RoboCop2 Arcade game. And a second version, dying by the hand of Lewis supported by the comic and novel adaptation.
So, which one is correct? If the scene was filmed for the movie how did it all conclude for Catzo?
Only one way to find out. Reaching out to actor Michael Medeiros, the actor who portrays Catzo, he had this to say.
RoboCop2 was a script that went into production before it was ready - at least if director, Irvin Kershner's behavior was any indication. Many mornings I'd arrive on set to see Kersh reading new pages from screenwriter Frank Miller. One by one, he'd toss the pages over his shoulder with a one word review, "shit." Toss. "Shit. Toss. "Shit... And then the capper, "this is going to be the worst picture I ever made, as he lurched out of his director's chair and headed over toward the camera department. Frank looked morose but said nothing. Though successful in comics, it was his first screenwriting job. Hey - Kershner was very big in Hollywood at that time and could afford to make waves any way he wanted to. I'm sure it helped to let the tension off a little.
But Kersh seemed to like me. I was playing Catzo, a member of Cain's gang and sported an outrageous bouffant hairdo and shiny suits. Occasionally he gave me fatherly type advise - "No matter what you do," he leaned in quite seriously, "Always make it real. Gotta be real." I refrained from telling him I'd studied with Uta Hagen, one of the greats. Anyway, he liked me. And so, it seems did Frank Miller and Whalon Green the producer. I was evidently making a good impression in the dailies. One day Frank Miller sidled up to me - he was a rather gangly man - and said, I think they're going to have me write some new scenes for you.
Now I was already having a good time. It was my first large budget film. I was making some jing. My old pal Peter Weller was playing guess who? And the thought of hanging out at the Hyatt in Houston for a couple more weeks was very pleasant. I was eating and drinking well. A Houston party girl was showing us a lot of the right spots and what to get there. Her Daddy was in racehorses and she was a bit of a mess. But I digress.
The new pages show up a few days later and they're pretty good. Sort of pretty good. There was a new scene in a warehouse - after the other big warehouse scene where the gang is attacked and the drug truck blows up. Hmn, have I got that right? I think so - anyway after the scene where (in the final cut) Catzo simply disappears from the movie.
I don't remember all that much about the new warehouse scene except that I was supposed to come down a long flight of stairs and grab a bottle of wine off the table and swig it down while bitterly complaining about what was happening to the gang. And then somehow - I don't remember how - I got into a knife fight with Nancy Allen. Great stuntman George Chong helped design the moves and we worked on it for a week or so. We shot it and I thought it went well. Gave her character stature to kill me. Somehow in my naivete I assumed it would be in the movie. In retrospect and having now directed two films of my own I well know why it hit the cutting room floor.
And that is, or would have been the fate of Catzo.