ENTER - RICHARD EDEN
[Info provided by:Tom Brunt]
Richard Eden only appears as Alex Murphy on-screen during the credits sequence which shows, Robo’s origins. In the series whenever RoboCop’s helmet is removed, he has the robo makeup on.
INSIDE ALEX MURPHY
Eden likes playing RoboCop and he added his own touch to the character in the pilot.
He says, “We have a line that I contributed and Stephen Downing was kind enough to allow in - ‘Images are all that’s left of what I was. I want to remember.’ That’s where he’ s starting from. He realizes that he cannot be with his family anymore but he will be able to protect them from afar. I’m hoping the final thing the audience gets is that Murphy has accepted his destiny, and it’s not a bad one at that. Now, if he can only make it work.”
RoboCop has become a symbol of hope for humanity because of his unselfishness. Eden adds, “He’s not just a machine but a man, compelled to do the right thing. All the time, by virtue of Alex Murphy’s character.”
The actor explains, “It’s like waking up one morning to discover you’re a quadriplegic. They’ve put you on metal arms and so on, but you know you’ll never be able to make love again, but you have memories of all that!”
Eden fells that Murphy has become incorruptible. He can no longer derive any benefit from material possessions.
Richard Eden is the third actor to don the Robo-suit. He says, “It’s wonderful; great! Along with my role in the theatre as Stanley, in ‘A Streetcar Name Desire,’ it’s the most challenging role of my career.”
Although Eden previously had little interest in science fiction, his new role caused him to read Isaac Asimov’s Three laws Robotics pioneered important concepts in the robotics. Beginning with the first ROBOCOP had “three prime directives” that governed his behaviour. These are 1) To serve the public trust; 2) To protect the innocent; and, 3) To uphold the law. Some forget the secret fourth directive, to harm no one who worked for OCP.
Robovision displays options on RoboCop’s internal screen. These form his escalating use-of-force criteria. The list runs from willing compliance to deadly force.
The producers of the TV series don’t rule out RoboCop killing someone. If it happens, it will be for a very good reason not casually as in the motion pictures.
The cyborg RoboCop speaks like a robot. He doesn’t have the casual cadence of human speech. When RoboCop forces someone to comply with a demand to come along, he states: “Thank you for your cooperation.”
In describing how he thinks, Eden observes that when Alex Murphy transformed into RoboCop, they took “his right brain functions away and replaced them with that hard drive computer. That means no imagination, just logic, and perhaps some feeling.”
They may have also taken away his ability to generate an original idea, but this not the way Eden sees it. “He is a man. If we were completely logical, like Mr. Spock, we would be extreme,” they actor says. “This is like combining Kirk and Spock because you’ve got the passion and humanity of Alex Murphy and the pure logic and brilliance of RoboCop, and one cannot work without the other.”
“I see it as a unity”, the actor continues, “the uncommon man. He will adapt and say, ‘I will make this work,’ instead of blowing his brains out. I’m the sort of actor who loves unpredictability. I hope they tale it in that direction, where there are moments when he just wants to yell, ‘Let me out of here,’ like a lone wolf.”
Stunt co-ordinator Larry McClean explains, “Making the stunts look seamless requires the cooperation of all parties on the set. Within a scene we have sparks, representing gunshots, deflecting off of RoboCop’s armour plating explosions from high tech weaponry, stunt falls, fight and the actor’s performance to coordinate with the first and second unit directors.”
The stunts are often wild and comedic. They require creativity to make them interesting on screen. One recent stunt involved a wrecking ball coming through the wall with RoboCop grabbing onto its as it swings out from the building and over the street.
To simulate bullets bouncing off RoboCop’s armour, the stunt double, Ken Quinn, dons the Robo-suit. Then a special air gun fires round gelcaps which ignite and make a spark as they hit the suit. They sometimes hit the stunt man in unprotected areas.
Another part of the special effects crew makes the prosthetics for Richard Eden’s face when RoboCop’s mask is removed. Gordon Smith supervises this work.
It takes three hours to apply the full face silicon mask to the actor. The actor explains, “That’s glued onto my face, along with the entire mechanism that goes around my head.”
Rob Bottin designed The RoboCop armour for the original motion picture. Dennis Pawlik and his “RoboTeam” maintain the new, lighter weight version.
The five versions of the RoboCop armour vary in range of movement. Suit adjustments in an action environment involve careful attention to detail by Pawlik. Some Robosuits simulate damage from fire or gunshots.
“The movement of RoboCop is best defined as subtle,” Richard Eden explains. “The choreographed movement must look real in a situation.” Stunt double Ken Quinn adds, “The stunt Robo-suit is padded and articulated to allow me a free range of movement and yet take a fall. It’s a tricky piece of business. If not carefully coordinated, the suit itself can hurt you in an uncontrolled environment.”
One day during filming, Eden tripped and fell while wearing the Robo-suit. Some cables hadn’t been moved from his path, the helmet visor obscured his vision, and down he went
“Thank God it was grass,” the actor recalls, “but there you are, going down with 90-odd pounds of fibreglass on and there’s nothing you can say except, ‘shi-i-i-i-t,’ like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when they went off the cliff. I bang into lights that I don’t see: stuff like that. It’s really quite undignified and ungraceful. I think I’m going to nee a seeing-eye Robodog to follow me around.”
There is a shiny, attractive version of the suit dubbed “GQ.” It is used for posed shots for publicity photos.
The armour makes clickety-clack noises when the actor moves. They add the suit’s motor noises after filming and eliminate the ambient noises from the soundtrack.