PD index

Questions asked by fans and answered by PD Co-writers Joseph OŽBrien and Brad Abraham.


QUESTION: How is RoboCop regarded by OCP? Is it commen knowledge that he's a ressurected cop?

ANSWER BY BRAD: one of the things we found to be somewhat strange in the sequels (and especially the series) was the somewhat cavalier attitude the police had towards Murphy as RoboCop. The fact that he was a murdered cop reanimated as a machine isn't something that would sit well with the still living police. Regarding RoboCop. He's product. He is the property of OCP. He's not a man. He's a prime example of why everyone is happy under OCP control. In the words of the late Dick Jones "We can't have our products turning against us". That's the party line, and very much the way he's regarded by the powers that be in R:PD. The fact that he was once Alex Murphy is classified information.

ANSWER BY JOSEPH: As Brad put out, it felt very unnatural for other cops to refer publically to RoboCop as "Murphy". I could understand Lewis doing it privately, but it seemed to violate the interior logic of both the sequels (a major contributing factor as to why they're both vastly weaker films). Would the police accept this sort of treatment of one of their own? Would anybody? OCP considers RoboCop as piece of product. The extra bits of him, his humanity, are just unwanted factors that they do their best to sweep under the carpet.
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QUESTION: I always wondered why Ellen Murphy only grieved for the loss of her husband. They had no right to do what they did to Alex Murphy's body. Why didn't she sue OCP or something?

ANSWER BY JOSEPH: Actually, Johnson has a line in the first film: "He signed the release forms when he joined the force. He's legally dead. We can do pretty much what we want to him." I suspect that Ellen Murphy had no legal grounds for a lawsuit.
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QUESTION: Is RoboCop free? Or is he held under lock and key?

ANSWER BY JOSEPH: Physically and psychologically he's pretty dependent on the (weakening) support system that OCP provides. They also give him the one thing that keeps him going: a purpose. It's when he starts to question the validity of that purpose that things start to get hairy.
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QUESTION: What did you think of the good, kind, decent OCP in ROBOCOP: The Series?

ANSWER BY JOSEPH: I think they sucked ass. It's the primary symptom of what was completely wrong with the series - the people responsible utterly and totally missed the point. Portraying the huge faceless corporation as essentially benevolent and well-meaning flies completely in the face of what the first film was trying to say: the only thing they care about is making the most money, and they are perfectly willing to destroy you to acheive that goal.

ANSWER BY BRAD: I personally really enjoyed the chance to take the piss out of those gigantic, mega-corporations, through the fictional OCP. One thing I could never understand in The Series was how OCP was an essentially benevolent corporation, with a scattering of rogue OCP employees causing trouble. I guess the makers of the show didn't believe corporations could cause bad things to happen to people as part of their policy. Not to toot our own horns, but I feel we did a good job or making OCP the evil organization we RoboFans love to hate.

QUESTION: If OCP went down in RoboCop3, who's going to maintain Murphy?

ANSWER BY JOSEPH: OCP will never die. It is a massive faceless bureaucracy, a monster with no head, and it cannot ever be stopped. No matter what.

QUESTION: Moving on to deeper things, he is dependent on OCP keeping him in fighting trim, but his maintenance has been decreasing in quality, which is a sign of how RoboCop is becoming unneeded. That must be terrifying for Murphy. He was built for one purpose. To fight crime. That is all that he can possibly do. It doesn't matter he's still a man, he cannot live as one, and when he becomes obselete, there's nothing left for him.

ANSWER BY JOSEPH: Scary idea, huh? I think the biggest mistake people (both creators and fans) make is to assume that ROBOCOP is like Superman - he's a do-gooder with no problems who likes what he does. He's not. We've made the BATMAN comparison before, and it's still the most appropriate one. He's a tragic hero, and he's does not enjoy being who he is. But he has no choice (he's literally PROGRAMMED to "uphold the law") - he keeps doing it - and that's what makes him heroic.

QUESTION: When you were offered this job, did you ever just say, "Holy Shit! I'm writing a RoboCop film!"

ANSWER BY JOSEPH: Oh yeah, every day was like that. It got weirder when we went into preproduction. Brad and I met RoboCop and Page at the same time - we showed up at the studio just as Page was trying on the suit for the first time. We arrived just as the Bottin suit handler was snapping the helmet on. He turned around, walked up to me, shook my hand and (in character) said "Nice to meet you". That was pretty cool. And then Maurice Dean Wint showed up...

QUESTION: When were you approached to write the script for Robo: PD? Was there any input to what Fireworks/Julian wanted the story to be?

ANSWER BY JOSEPH: I'd known Julian for a bunch of years, and we'd been wanting to work together for some time. Believe it or not, Brad and I were actually hawking t-shirts and doing promo stuff for Julian at the1998 Toronto FantAsia Film Festival (which Julian was programming) when he offered us the job - so a lot of it was just a case of right place, right time.

As for outside input, that's a long-ish story. The short version is that Julian presented us with a fairly bare bones idea of what he wanted to the stories to be, and we started from there. For example, 4: CRASH & BURN started with Julian's note: "Movie #4 - STRAW DOGS" and that's it.

We collaborated very intensely with both Julian and with the creative exec at Fireworks, so they had a pretty clear idea of what we were up to most of the time, but the stories, dialogue and characters were Brad and I.

QUESTION: You guys mentioned that the Robosuit has been repainted to look more scuffed up. Did you simply repainted the old suit or did you make an entirely new one for Prime Directives?

ANSWER BY JOSEPH: The thing to remember is that there is no "one" RoboSuit. Every film uses a variety of different ones for different purposes, and they're constantly being destroyed and rebuilt in the process of filming. Our suits were built from the original molds used for the original film and painted to look damaged, so in that sense, yes, it's the same suit. In the case of variations in the neck armour and head makeup, the changes in PD reflect a streamlining of the original makeup concepts, and were largely due to budget/time concerns. We simply could not afford to be without Page for the time a more elaborate makeup job would have required.

QUESTION: How did you do the audio commentary sessions for the DVD. How much pre planning is involved?

ANSWER BY BRAD: Audio commentary was something we had been discussing for some time - even way back at the beginning of the whole PD experience. Being big Laserdisc-DVD fans, we felt that at least for our own ego gratification a commentary track for the planned DVD collection was a must.

Yes, we had a small studio at Deluxe Toronto (where post production on PD was completed), a screen on the wall and a mike between the three of us. I can't speak for the others, but I watched all four films first and wrote down at least one anecdote or bit about each scene in the film. Of course, once we sat down to do the recording, all notes were pretty well discarded, as we soon found that between the three of us there was no shortage of stuff to talk about. We watched the first three films on the first day, and finished the fourth up on the second day - surely the longest audio commentary so far... minor edits here and there, but nothing major - usually a case of someone stumbling over a sentence.

In all honesty - recording commentary was easier than I thought. The two worst crimes a commentary track can have is lots of dead spots and constantly repeating ourselves - neither of which happened. It just remains to be seen if the commentary we did is interesting.