Nancy Allen Thought Robocop Was Going To Be Terrible After Reading The Title

I must admit, when I was a child, I thought "RoboCop" was some cheesy b-movie. I knew next to nothing about the movie except the title, but I assumed it had to be trash. It had a title akin to "Sharknado" or "Lavalantula," a sloppy portmanteau of two things that on their own are pretty cool. It wasn't until I got older and finally watched it that I recognized it for the brilliant satire that it is.

It makes sense then that when the script came to Nancy Allen, who went on to star as the loyal police partner of the titular RoboCop, she assumed the movie would be horrible when she read the script. She talked about this, as well as her quick turnaround on the movie, in an interview with The Guardian:

"The script said 'RoboCop' and I thought: 'Oh my God, they've got to change the title –- it's terrible!' So I picked it up, thinking it was going to be garbage, but I couldn't put it down. It was smart, funny, political and told the hero's story with heart and soul. There was no doubt in my mind it was going to be a really good movie."

Allen was not alone in her skepticism. Even the film's eventual director, Paul Verhoeven, was initially not a fan of the script when he saw it. He was unfamiliar with the science fiction genre at the time, and it took him a while to fully get on board. Once he was on, though, his enthusiasm for the project was visible, even when scenes had to be cut from the film.

Independence and strength

It makes sense that Allen's mind was changed when she actually read the script, as the movie is legitimately well-written and clever. But for the "Carrie" and "Blowout" actress, this shift in opinion wasn't just about the movie's quality, but about what the character of Anne meant to her.

Allen grew up around police officers, which meant even this story about highly flanderized cops had some extra meaning to her. "The character of Anne called to me. My father was a cop so I knew who those people were, and how important their partner is, because your life can depend on them. I had to do it."

Allen wanted to portray a female officer as being as tough and brave as any other, and she believes she did so with Anne. "This is a chance to show something different – Anne has independence and strength," she said in the Guardian interview. She also received plenty of positive attention for the role from the law enforcement community, who seem to not have entirely understood the satire of the film. "I have had cops come up to me and say: 'Good job!' And I once got out of a traffic ticket because an officer recognized me."

We all know we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover. Not judging a movie script by its title is not a far jump to make.