5 minutes with Peter Weller
Frank Lloyd Wright had days when he felt things were crashing down—literally. Peter Weller, best known for his role as RoboCop, plays Wright in Frank’s Home, a play that looks at 48 hours in the architect’s life as he deals with trouble on the homefront and news that his Imperial Hotel in Tokyo collapsed.
What didn’t you know about Wright going into this?
That he was an apprentice to Louis Sullivan, and that he really changed the face of architecture…And I didn’t know how screwed up his social life was. That he walked out on his wife and six kids…he said he was more of a kid himself.
What insight does the play give?
We take American icons for granted, that they shake brilliant ideas out of their sleeves at no cost. Usually…the family suffers; you can’t be all things to all people. He needed to be on his own to get done what he wanted to get done.
He’s 55 in the play; you’re 59. Do you relate to him?
Sure…that guy did not want to retire, and I don’t want to retire. And he had this platonic idea of beauty: If you’re not working towards your ideals, you’re essentially a slave to mediocrity. He was born in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and I was born 60 miles away in Stevens Point. And he was an elegant guy…when he was 16, he cut off his mother’s fur collar and used it as a scarf.
Would he and RoboCop get along?
Yeah. Because Wright was trying to find the soul of American architecture, something new and modern, and RoboCop found his own soul. And I think Wright would’ve loved the design of Robocop.—Leah Pietrusiak
Frank’s Home is at the Goodman Theatre.