Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #157, August 1990: Domo Arigato Mr. RoboCop 2

The Robo-gang is back for RoboCop 2, though not without qualms. Star Peter Weller dons the titular suit again, but he tells Starlog that he “had reservations about doing RoboCop 2. ... Wouldn’t I rather be in the Caribbean doing a 10-week movie, making my money, and splitting?”

Twenty years later, there are still some people in Hollywood who are ready to make another RoboCop, at least as a remake. The remake appears to be stalled at the moment, a victim of MGM’s severe financial troubles. But if you like remakes, I suppose you can rely on the fact that when Hollywood gets a bad idea in its mind, sooner or later it films it.

How a couple decades worth of achievement can change things, Part II: In this 1990 issue of Starlog, British novelist Terry Pratchett is interviewed. At that point, only a handful of his Discworld novels had been printed, but they were already popular enough for the magazine to sit him down for a good talk. However, it appears that the editors didn’t consider him to be a big enough draw in the United States to warrent even mentioning his name on the cover. Now cut to 2010, where Sir Terry Pratchett has recently served as guest editor of UK SF magazine SFX, and he is celebrated around the world for his now very lengthy list of Discworld books. It makes this 1990 interview worth tracking down. Just don’t look for it by scanning the cover blurbs.

Starlog #157
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.95

Classified ad of the month: “HOLOGRAM WRISTWATCHES Quality digital timepieces. Years warranty, specific image: eye, watchworks, skull, cat $14.95 + $3.00 S&H to ...” Well, the poor punctuation aside, it’s a good deal, considering that ten years earlier, Starlog tried selling its own branded wristwatch for $50.

The rundown: Peter Weller’s RoboCop gets his cover photo moment in the sun (looks like it was kind of literally in the sun, judging by the near-fluorescent yellow background); and the contents page is your opportunity to see John Goodman and Jeff Daniels in a scene from Arachnophobia. The Communications letters section is less than two-thirds of a page this issue, and the three lucky letter writers take issue with various comments by recent TV and film creators in interviews; and David McDonnell’s Medialog notes that Hollywood is already planning a RoboCop 3, even though RoboCop 2 “is barely in release.”

Julia Roberts announced in 2010 that she's converted to Hinduism, which is quite a switch from the spiritual implications of her 1990 movie, Flatliners, but nonetheless she is – in circa-1990 big hair – one of the brat pack stars (along with Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, and others) of this movie, which Marc Shapiro previews with a set visit; the Fan Network pages include a RoboCop contest, a directory of fan organizations and publications, and a convention calendar; Erid Niderost interviews Dick Tracy villain actor William Forsythe; David Hutchison's Videolog column notes recent genre releases, such as old Three Stooges work; Marc Shapiro travels to the Old West to talk with actor Thomas F. Wilson, who portrays Biff in the Back to the Future films; Mark Philips profiles actor Paul Comi, who guest starred on the original Star Trek as well as The Twilight Zone, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and more; Marc Shapiro talks with producer Frank Marshall about Arachnophobia; and Paul Tomlinson talks with Discworld creator Terry Pratchett.

Kim Howard Johnson interviews RoboCop 2 star Peter Weller; Kyle Counts chats with My Favorite Martian star Ray Walston, who discusses his career; Will Murray visits the set of Total Recall and talks with Dutch director Paul Verhoeven; Kyle Counts interviews actor Ronny Cox, who plays the leader of Mars in Total Recall; Marc Shapiro profiles actor Scott Paulin (who portrays Red Skull in Captain America); Screenwriter Charles Haas is interviewed by Bill Warren about Gremlins 2: The New Batch; Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge column relates his tale of finding fellow science-fiction fans in unlikely places – including a pancake-induced friendship; and David McDonnell's Liner Notes tells us about some weddings he's attended lately, including that of Fangoria editor Tony Timpone.
Equal Rites is where I found that you can only go so far by running from gag situation to gag situation. From Equal Rites onwards, I began to explore what I was doing. I think many readers who were attracted to the first two [Discworld novels] were a bit taken aback by Equal Rites. They liked it, but it wasn’t what they were expecting. When I got to Mort, I got it just about right. Equal Rites might be just too far off the centerline, but Mort got back to it. I found out how you do it, I was beginning to learn.”
–Terry Pratchett, author, interviewed by Paul Tomlinson: “Gag Writer”
To see more issues, click on Starlog Internet Archive Project below or visit The Starlog Project’s permanent home.
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