Five Favorite Films with Starship Troopers' Casper Van Dien

Johnny Rico reveals himself to be...a Star Wars geek!

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Starship Troopers 3

Casper van Dien: I love Ed Neumeier; I think he's got a wonderfully sick, perverse sense of humor. It was a lot of fun to have in the first film, and to also see it in RoboCop as well, and to see him put it into this script -- I had the opportunity to read five of the scripts for Starship Troopers 3 specifically over the last four years, and I just love reading his dark sense of humor. I love seeing it, and to get the opportunity to read it so many different times was awesome. And to see him make the film, it was a natural segue for him, so it was a thrill for me to be a part of.

Were you close with Ed from working on the first Starship Troopers? Was he a presence on set back then?

CvD: Ed is a unique writer -- Paul Verhoeven is a unique director, but he demanded that Ed be on the set [of Starship Troopers] every day. So for RoboCop and for Starship Troopers he was on the set every single frickin day. He was there from the beginning to the end. It was fun for me, because he and I became friends. But Ed and I became friends actually when he saw me when I first walked into the audition for Starship Troopers. I was sitting out there with all the other guys that were auditioning for the role, and Ed poked his head out of the office; he was not only one of the writers, but he was one of the producers at that time. He poked his head out of the office, looked at me, pointed at me, and fingered me to come over to him. So I went over to him and in front of the other kids, I was like "Ha ha hah..." I walk into his office and he had a rifle there and I picked it up, and I did some drills with it from military school and we got to talking, and he said he knew when he poked his head out of the office that I was Johnny Rico. And Paul Verhoeven said that when I came into read he knew that I was Johnny Rico. So it was always a thrill to have these men believe in me. Ed really wanted me in the second one, but the director didn't want any characters from the first film in it. Ed said if he got to do one of his own, that he would demand that I be in it, and I guess he got his way.

Starship Troopers 3

I was wondering why you weren't in the second Starship Troopers film, Hero of the Federation...

CvD: The director [Phil Tippett] really wanted to go a different way, from what I gather. I don't know everything for a fact -- you'll have to ask him personally -- but he also, from what I hear, wanted the humor out of Starship Troopers. It might have been the studio at the time that wanted the humor out, but they really asked Ed to put it back in for this one. So Ed was like, well, that's the way I like to write, and that's what he did.

This film was always meant to be a DVD release. But it's getting a theatrical in Japan because they did such a phenomenal job with it that Japan said, we want this for a theatrical [release]. But it was always meant to be a DVD.

Well, there's definitely a collective love for the first Starship Troopers, and Marauder seems to fall much closer to the spirit of the original.

CvD: Definitely. You are one hundred percent correct. Robert Heinlein created Starship Troopers, but Ed created the Starship Troopers movie world. He put in his political satire in the first film, he's got it in this film and then some, and he's also got this new religious twist, which some may or may not get. I think it's hysterical, though. He's a phenomenal writer. Different people will embrace it in different ways. And other people will hate it in other ways, but it's always fantastic to have that kind of variation in appeal, or lack thereof.

Next: Ed Neumeier vs. Paul Verhoeven, Johnny Rico vs. Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and more