HCFF: Peter Weller talks “Robocop” remake, “Star Trek 2” and too much more


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Peter Weller has a lot to say. That’s the main thing that those who attended Saturday’s “Robocop” screening during the Hero Complex Film Festival learned about the actor. He has a lot to say about everything, be it the caves of Lascaux or process trailers or his love of Philip K. Dick. The man went on a wonderfully passionate and slightly unhinged rant for a good hour after the screening of “Robocop,” and everyone present was in for a treat.

In the midst of all that fervor, though, he did talk about quite a few things that we figure those of you reading this site will find pretty interesting. To start, he shared his thoughts on the planned “Robocop” remake that is currently in pre-production. Needless to say, he doesn’t care for the idea very much.

“I couldn’t give a shit,” he said. “I say you know what, god bless them, man. Go make another ‘Robocop.’ I got to tell you this: when I sat there in Dallas three weeks ago to watch this thing, I don’t know. I mean, can they throw a lot of CGI at it and so forth? The morality that’s endemic to the movie that you just watched, it’s hard to replicate.”

He continued, “I mean, it makes you laugh and cry and moves you and hysterical and horrible and all those unbelievable things at once. Well good luck to them. They’ll never do it.”

We agree with Weller, though the way Joel Kinnaman talks about the project has us slightly intrigued. Still, it’s clear from the way Weller talks about the film that it’s near and dear to his heart despite the 25 years that have passed since he filmed it.

It’s some asthetic distance that I have from the film, and I had forgotten the … social history in ‘Robocop;’ you know, I’d forgotten how profound these writers are. They’re not only funny with those extraordinarily acerbic social obsessions like board games called Nukem. I mean, this is 1986. The parameters of friendly aggression even then,” he said.

He added about a recent screening of the movie in Dallas, “I had the first time, I had to say, that I got past the hoopla of the film and was genuinely proud to be part of it, to be really proud to be part of this film, and to see how anthropological it is.”

Weller talked a lot about his upcoming TV series, a modern Western called “Logmire,” but he also teased his role in “Star Trek 2.” He wouldn’t give us any details about his actual role, but he did explain just how strict Paramount was being about actors talking about the movie by telling an anecdote about a recent interaction he had with a man in Dallas.

“This guy is like following me in Dallas and he’s like, ‘”Star Trek,” are you playing an alien?’ And I just turned around — and I’m not going to tell you if I am or not — but I just said, ‘Hey, do I look like an alien?’ and I walked into the thing,” Weller said. “Paramount went just nuts. ‘You can’t say anything!’ I didn’t. What does that tell you? ‘Do I look like an alien?’ What am I going to do, put band aids over my mouth for Christ sake?”

That’s just about as much as Simon Pegg told us the night before after the “Shaun of the Dead” screening, so it seems like Paramount really is cracking down on the actors. Hey, we only have a little under a year to wait to find out the scoop on the flick, since it’s coming out May 17, 2013. That’s not too long in the scheme of things, right?

Do you agree with Weller’s sentiments on the “Robocop” remake? What do you think of the movie’s social message? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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