Some actors like to play it safe. Peter Weller is not one of those actors. Throughout his long career, the 72-year-old Weller has starred in a number of outrageous films that many other actors wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole — and we love him for it. But which of Weller’s films is the craziest?
We’ve rounded up what we believe to be the five most outrageous movies of Peter Weller below, so have a look and decide for yourself which one you think is the Peter Weller-est.
Without question Weller’s most famous role, this blockbuster about a cyborg cop is far more strange than it appears at first glance. The film, directed by the always creative Paul Verhoeven, is an absurdist satire masquerading as a big-budget action film. The violence is purposely over the top, the interstitials that give us a glimpse of this world’s media are delightfully acerbic, and the entire film slyly but brutally roasts corporate power. It is a wholly unique film for what could have been another by-the-numbers action films, and it’s one of Weller’s finest.
In this campy sci-fi horror that’s based on a Philip K. Dick story, Weller portrays Commander Joseph A. Hendricksson. Hendricksson commands the Alliance forces, a group of former miners on a far-off planet who rebelled against their mining company over unsafe working conditions, sparking a war. During the war, the Alliance created artificially intelligent machines called “Screamers” to hunt down the opposition’s soldiers. But by the time of the film’s events, the Screamers have gone rogue and started to evolve — even taking on human form. The movie is one seriously wild ride, with Weller doing his best to play it straight among the plot’s many twists and turns.
Another film that sees Weller as the serious leader of a group of miners, this time the actor portrays geologist Steven Beck. Beck leads a mining expedition deep under the ocean, where the crew discovers a sunken ship called the Leviathan. After investigating the ship, they inadvertently bring a malevolent creature on board; a creature that starts killing members of the expedition and absorbing their bodies to create an even more hideous monster. The film’s creature effects, made by the legendary Stan Winston, are the real star of the show, but Weller, as usual, does a great job of keeping all the craziness believable.
4. Naked Lunch
Oh boy, where to start with this one? This film, directed by David Cronenberg and based on the novel of the same name by William S. Boroughs, is notoriously hard to follow. Weller plays William Lee, an author suffering from hallucinations who believes he is a secret agent for some mysterious organization, with handlers in the form of an alien called a Mugwump and a talking insect typewriter. The plot is disjointed at best, but Weller with his stone-cold sincerity remains engrossing throughout.
5. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
This cult-favorite sees Weller in the title role, a physicist/brain surgeon/test pilot/rock musician, who sets out to save the world from dimension-hopping aliens. The movie is filled with wild characters and creatures, memorable lines, and a bonkers sense of “anything goes”… and Weller proves to be the perfect driving force behind it all. He’s funny, he can kick butt, and he looks pretty dapper in a bow tie. Buckaroo Banzai is unlike any movie hero before or since, and he owes his legendary status to Peter Weller.
You can catch one of Peter Weller’s most outrageous roles right on COMET with Leviathan on Friday, October 11. Check your local listings here for exact times.