Last May, Peter Weller traveled to Austin to attend a screening of the classic film that immortalized him as one of the most iconic movie characters: Robocop (1987). For an introduction, the actor uses a humorous bit of production history to frame the film as a profound work of alternative mythmaking as well as a prescient vision of a privatized future. But it isn’t until the post-screening discussion that Weller (who completed a Master’s degree and has been working on his Ph.D.) gets fired up and launches into a riveting discussion, bringing in praise of director Paul Verhoeven, stories of special effects woes with the Robocop suit, the anthropological resonance of the film, his relationship with William Burroughs while working on Naked Lunch (1991), and how his academic work as an art historian reinvigorated his appreciation of cinema.
He also touches on queer theory, Errol Flynn‘s fearlessness as Robin Hood, the car chase in The French Connection (1971), and tracking shots in I Am Cuba (1964)—because why not? Weller has incredible presence as a speaker, and his passionate rambling makes for an enthralling experience.
Come for the making-of anecdotes, stay for the philosophy lecture.