Five Favorite Films with Starship Troopers' Casper Van Dien
Johnny Rico reveals himself to be...a Star Wars geek!
Having known Ed for a while and worked with him before, how would you describe him as a first-time director, especially in contrast to Paul Verhoeven?
CvD: That's a very good question. Ed Neumeier -- this is a natural segue for him, to go from writer-creator to director, and this is an easier venue for him to do that as his debut. Because he is already known, and this is an established franchise that he's affiliated with and have a lot more appreciation for and from. The advantage for him is as a director, he hired a great team around him. He did a superb job and the people really embraced it and loved him and went for it. But he also had the most incredible training and advantage over most debut directors, because he was on the set every day of RoboCop, and on the set every day of Starship Troopers, under one of the greatest directors of all time: Paul Verhoeven. So he had that instruction. Paul -- even if you watch Black Book today...what a great film that is. Paul continues to grow as a director and his passion is unsurpassed by anybody. Ed was able to witness this and get these lessons and instructions. And also he's a fan of films. Ed's a huge fan of John Ford films, and you can talk to him about just about any film. Differences between them? Paul's a bit more of a screamer, and he has more of an accent. [Laughs]
Paul had a bigger budget, but what Ed had for this was phenomenal. Robert Skotak was the Academy Award-winning special effects guy for Aliens and T2, and he wanted to be on the first Starship Troopers because he was a big fan of the book, and he got to do this one and he did something like 420 more special effects than he was scheduled to do because he loved it so much. The bug that Ed wrote about, he created. The old bugs, he put his little flavors into. For the budget that he had, he did the most phenomenal job. What I also appreciate is Sony, they got Klaus Badelt, who did the music for Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, who saw this and loved it and did the music for it. So they really got some remarkable people behind it. And Sony's putting the most incredible campaign I have ever seen together for a DVD release. The Japanese website is incredible, and the posters that you see throughout the world, from Australia to America to Japan, are awesome! And I'm not just saying that because I'm on the cover...
Where would you place Johnny Rico in the pantheon of great sci-fi heroes?
CvD: Well, being the self-absorbed me...I remember seeing this article that rated different superheroes, and it had me beating Jesse Ventura from Predator, and it had me beating Demi Moore from G. I. Jane -- it had Johnny Rico beating these guys -- and it had Sylvester Stallone beating John Wayne...whatever! And Arnold Schwarzenegger beat me, but then Arnold Schwarzenegger beat Stallone. So I came in third. But right now, I could kick either of their asses, 'cause they're old. I'm sorry! Put 'em down like the b****es they are! Just kidding, I don't know. Arnold Schwarzenegger can still take me out, he's the Governator; Sylvester Stallone, I just saw him in Rambo and he was huge. Huuuuge.
Yeah, but how many of them still do nude scenes like the one you have in Starship Troopers: Marauder?
CvD: [Laughs] I don't think we'd want to see them in a nude scene right now! I hardly want to see myself in a nude scene, but I worked out really hard for that one.
So tell us how Johnny Rico has changed in the near-decade since we last saw him in Starship Troopers.
CvD: Well it's eleven years later, and it's eleven years later for him as well. He's survived -- one of the few in the Starship Troopers world to do so -- men, women, an equal kill factor. It seems like he's become more of a pure warrior. He might be more disillusioned with the higher ranking officers and their willingness to sacrifice good troopers, as many of us are disillusioned with the people in charge who are willing to sacrifice American soldiers who are willing to do their part, and do it well, and who have honorable intentions. I think that is what he's become. He joined the military first for a girl, and was trying to impress her, though that of course didn't work; we always do stupid things when we're young to try and impress girls and it never works, but...he became a soldier, and now he's a pure warrior, and he's very good at what he does. Maybe not as good as everyone else because they get promoted a lot faster, but he's good enough to survive, and that's a definite plus in the Starship Troopers world.
For more info, photos and news, check out our Starship Troopers: Marauder page.