Dr. Peter Frederick Weller (born June 24, 1947 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin) is an American actor, director, lecturer and acting heavyweight. If you see him in a film or television show, just know that the quality of whatever you're watching has just gone up. He's undoubtedly known best for his role as Alex J. Murphy, better known as RoboCop (who he played in the first - and best - two films of the series) and loved best for his role as Buckaroo Banzai in the Cult Classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.
Aside from starring in one of the most iconic sci-fi films in all of history, he's also known for roles on stage and television. He often plays Ensemble Darkhorses and villains, such as Paxton in Star Trek: Enterprise, Stan Liddy in Dexter, and Christopher Henderson in 24. Of course, he's also played sympathetic characters such as Alistair Peck in Fringe and William Lee, the lead character in David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch. He's also the voice of Batman in the animated adaptation of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. He also starred in Star Trek Into Darkness as Admiral Marcus. He has worked a lot as a director in television, as well as directing the short film Partners.
He's also a major history buff, and has contributed to The History Channel on several occasions. He also teaches courses in ancient history at Syracuse University in New York. And he has a Master's Degree in Renaissance and Ancient Greek artwork and was recently conferred his Ph.D. in Italian History from UCLA. So yes, you can call him Dr. Peter Weller.
He also has an extremely cool and instantly recognizable voice. In fact, reread this entry in his voice and see how much cooler it sounds.
- Badass Baritone: His voice fits perfectly for such roles.
- Badass Bookworm: Has a doctorate in Italian Renaissance art history
- The Cast Showoff: That really is him singing, blowing a mean cornet and playing piano.
- He has a healthy musical background, having played in one of the famous Lab Bands during his time at the University of North Texas. He even had a jazz band with his Buckaroo Banzai co-star Jeff Goldblum for a while (Jeff is also a big fan of jazz music).
- Creator Backlash: He was not happy with RoboCop 2. He criticized the script, saying it lacked the spine and the soul of the original. Weller tried to convince Frank Miller, Irvin Kershner and the film's producers that the third act needed a morality angle instead of being just a shoot 'em up, but the producers felt the battle between RobocCop and Cain was sufficient. This, along with the overly dark tone and how uncomfortable of the RoboCop suit was prompted him to not return for the third movie. Despite this, he did enjoy the experience of making the film and liked working with Irvin Kershner.
- Dyeing for Your Art: He worked out and trained extensively in mime in preparation for RoboCop (1987) in order to know how to best portray a cyborg's movements only for all his work to be thrown out the window when it turned out that the suit was so stiff it was agony to simply walk let alone act. He was also losing three to five pounds a day due to the heat inside the suit and had to consume gallons of water and lemonade (eating was out of the question) to function.
- The Everyman: With his lithe physique and clean cut ideal average Boy Next Door appearance, he can play these roles outside of his antagonist roles. Even his well-known roles as Buckaroo Banzai and RoboCop's human identity Murphy can both qualify, to a point they can be shining examples of Mundane Made Awesome.
- Hostility on the Set: As noted below, his Method Acting can result in this. Case in point, his attempt at Method Acting in RoboCop (1987), insisting he be called "Murphy" or "Robo" on set, depending on the scene, collectively pissed off director Paul Verhoeven and co-stars Kurtwood Smith (Clarence Boddicker) and Miguel Ferrer (Bob Morton). Verhoeven found it silly and told Weller he couldn't bring himself to do it and Smith chose to ignore him for the first few weeks, but the most active is expressing his contempt for the idea was Ferrer, who intentionally ignored it and called Weller by his real name.
- Method Acting: His specialty, to a point it makes him prone to Hostility on the Set between him and the cast and crew who could not stand it on several productions.
- Playing Against Type: Most of Weller's roles offered to him are peppered with villainous and Hate Sink roles, such as Shoot the Moon and Firstborn as the Bastard Boyfriend and most recently Dexter and Star Trek Into Darkness. Only his notable roles as Buckaroo Banzai and RoboCop as well several other obscure roles are upstanding and noble heroes in his acting resume.
- Production Posse: He has a two-man one of these going with producer Manny Coto, appearing in Odyssey 5, Star Trek: Enterprise, 24, and Dexter, all Coto-produced shows.
- Smoking Is Cool: Weller certainly thinks so, to a point he's a Cuban Cigar Chomper.
- They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Thanks to his The Everyman Boy Next Door appearance and mundane approach to his acting, most if not all of the villains he plays tends to be this automatically, especially back when he was young.