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Karl Derfler, Skywalker Ranch, California, 1996
title and story
Ed Neumeier, Eagle Rock, CA

In 1987 I was running a company that had started to develop an interactive TV system. The fundamental concept was that the viewer would control the video environment. So, for example, if you were watching an interactive soap opera, you could determine the situations surrounding the characters. We had shown a prototype to several film and TV critics. One evening I got a call from Gary Arnold, the film critic at The Washington Post, who had just come from a screening of “Robocop.” Gary was convinced Robo could be become a trailblazing interactive TV experience (his idea was that the player would become Robocop). The next day I called Orion, which had produced the film, and a few days later met with Ed Neumeier, who had written the Robo script and would later write “Starship Troopers,” both directed by Paul Verhoeven. Although we couldn’t make a deal with Orion, I liked Ed a lot; he was smarter than most of the people I knew in Hollywood, and had a wonderfully devious mind that generally thought beyond the usual suspects. He also understood business and loved movies – two qualities rarely aligned in the Ivy League graduates who have come to dominate the studios. This was snapped just in front of Ed’s old office. Note the rarely used bench and barbell in background. Why sweat when you can write muscles onto characters?

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