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RoboCop Director Explains The Hilarious Reason Love Affair Plot Was Cut

Paul Verhoeven says he considered a love affair subplot between RoboCop and Officer Lewis, but ended up changing his mind for a very specific reason.

RoboCop director Paul Verhoeven has explained the hilarious reason for cutting the film’s love affair plot. The 1987 action film about a futuristic police officer turned cyborg was a major hit for Verhoeven, and introduced the Dutch filmmaker to American audiences for the first time. Though two more sequels followed as well as a TV series and a 2014 reboot, Verhoeven hasn’t returned to the franchise since the release of the original film.

Instead, Verhoeven continued to take on Hollywood in his own way. The late 1980s became a highly successful period for the filmmaker, who went on to direct Arnold Schwarzenegger in the blockbuster Total Recall before shocking audiences with Basic Instinct. It was the latter film in which Verhoeven returned to focus on the romantic thriller, a genre that wasn’t unheard of in America at the time, but with which he’d made a name for himself back in Europe. Basic Instinct’s unabashed sex scenes proved particularly controversial in America, but it was one specific scene involving a police interrogation of Sharon Stone’s Catherine Tramell character that has gone down in cinematic history. In recent years, Stone has revealed that she was tricked into performing the scene — a claim that Verhoeven denies.

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Yet whether due to violence or sex, Verhoeven has always been the sort of filmmaker who retains the ability to whip up controversy. At the same time, however, there’s always been a certain amount of tongue-in-cheek humor in even his most controversial films. But the inherent absurdity of RoboCop could have been even more pronounced had Verhoeven gone with his initial idea of introducing a love affair between RoboCop and his police partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen). While speaking with The Guardian recently on RoboCop’s enduring legacy, Verhoeven dismissed his initial desire for the love affair, calling it “very Dutch of me”:


“I originally thought Nancy Allen, who was playing RoboCop’s partner Anne, should have a secret affair with him – which was very Dutch of me. Ed wrote a new draft, but it didn’t work. It felt so un-American. If you look at RoboCop’s costume, there’s not much there in terms of genitals anyway.”

Peter Weller in Robocop

Considering that Verhoeven also reveals that the RoboCop suit was so heavy and cumbersome that Peter Weller (who played the eponymous crime fighter) had to relearn how to walk in it, an amorous quality to RoboCop probably wouldn’t have been the best choice. As funny as the thought of RoboCop having a love affair is, Verhoeven arguably saved the film by not including it. The futuristic elements of RoboCop require a certain suspension of disbelief which isn’t that hard to manage. But seeing a cyborg cop engage in a love affair with a fellow officer seems like it would have been enough to derail the entire plot.


Today RoboCop’s tongue-in-cheek humor might be too much to make any of the film believable, but that’s to be expected 35 years after its initial release. The truth of the matter is that Verhoeven arrived in America at a time when there was still plenty of controversial subject matter to explore. It’s hard to say if a cyborg having a love affair with a fellow police officer would have brought controversy or laughs, but considering the mechanics of such a relationship, the subplot would have likely only been memorable as comedic relief.

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Source: The Guardian

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