In the years since RoboCop first burst on to the scene in 1987, there have been just two screenings at which stars Peter Weller and Nancy Allen were reunited with director Paul Verhoeven. The first occurred last July on the UCLA campus for the film’s 25th anniversary; the second will take place Saturday May 18 at Harmony Gold to raise money for the Sherman Oaks non-profit Allen now oversees as executive director.
“Actually, the UCLA screening is what gave me the idea for the Harmony Gold event,” Allen tells FishbowlLA via telephone. “Everybody came out, we had such an amazing experience seeing the movie together so many years later and talking about it.”
“It was a small event but it got me thinking,” she adds. “I thought, ‘My God, I have so many fans, what if we did this for something good? What if we did this and it could help benefit weSPARK. I wrote to everybody and I got a resounding, ‘Yes!’”
Tickets for the screening, Q&A, reception and brief autograph session are $75 and $125. At press time, there were also still several dozen discounted general admission tickets available. One block, made possible by a generous donor, are priced at $35 (code: Robofan), the other are for active film students only at the rate of $25 (code: Robo1).
Allen met weSPARK Cancer Support Center founder Wendie Jo Sperber on the set of the 1978 Robert Zemeckis film I Wanna Hold Your Hand, and worked with her again on Steven Spielberg‘s 1941. She originally helped the organization as a celebrity tournament golfer and then came to visit later when weSPARK set up headquarters on Ventura Boulevard.
“Wendie asked if I could help her do this,” Allen recalls. “She said, ‘I know you’re into a lot of really alternative and holistic practices, and I want this place to be a real healing center [for cancer victims].’ And I thought, sure, I would be glad to help, and figured this would maybe involve a week or something like that.”
“That was in 2001 and since then, I was the program director and formulated the design of what we do here. And then a few years ago, I became the executive director, so it has become my purpose and passion.”
Sperber passed away in 2005. weSPARK does not provide medical treatment. Rather, it offers support groups for patients, care-givers, bereaved relatives and children of parents affected. There is also a wide variety of programs like yoga and Tai Chi designed to help heal the body, mind and spirit from the effects of the debilitating disease. “We’re not curing cancer here,” Allen states, “although I wish we could.”
Following the Harmony Gold screening, the Q&A with Allen, Weller, Verhoeven and co. will be moderated by behind-the-scenes documentary and featurette veteran Laurent Bouzereau. Allen says though she has not acted since a 2003 episode of Law & Order: SVU, she is always open to the idea of a great role.
“Once an actress, always an actress,” she admits. “It’s there in my bones, in my blood, it’s everywhere. But I’m so devoted here at weSPARK that it will take something really fantastic.”
“I look at my work and I think, ‘I love the stuff I’ve done. I’ve worked with so many of the top directors of the time when I was coming up…’ So once I can do something that I can feel really proud of. Because I get sent stuff, and to be honest with you, I don’t want to do junk.”
“It wouldn’t be about the money, it would be about wanting to do a piece or work with a specific director,” Allen continues. “Prior to Law & Order: SVU, I went and did a small part in Out of Sight because I wanted to work with Steven Soderbergh. At this point in my life, what I do – whether it’s at weSPARK or on film – I want it to be of value to me.”
[More info about weSPARK's programs here.]
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