Interviews: Casper Van Dien - The Starship Troopers Legacy And June

The Movie Sleuth has a short conversation with Casper Van Dien, galactic hero and star of tomorrow's horror release, June. Would you like to know more?

TMS: Dude. On your IMDB page, you have 18 credits for 2015. That’s insane. How is that even humanly possible?

CVD: That’s a LOT of movies! Some of them have already shot and some of them are shorts.

TMS: So, Starship Troopers, is one of my favorite action/sci-fi movies. It still holds up today. It’s been 18 years since that movie came out. How did it effect your career overall?

CVD: I guess there’s been good and bad for it. People see me as Johnny Rico.  That can be both good and bad. So, sometimes they’re like “No. No. He’s the guy that kills big bugs. We don’t need to see him.” Even though they were computer animated bugs, sometimes that’s just what it turns out to be for that. And other times people will go “Hey! Wait a minute! Starship Troopers 2!!! Oh my god!”.

I just finished this thing called Clench Time where I’m playing the perfect version of me. But, I’m playing it with all these comedic things and these lines from Starship Troopers.  It’s just something people want to add in all the time. They love that movie and I really appreciate that. It’s something that gets tweeted to me all the time. People sometimes yell out their cars at me or on the street….Johnny Rico!!! It’s got life! I love that!

TMS:  It’s pretty amazing that something that came out almost two decades ago realistically still has a pretty major pop culture influence. Do you think if that movie came out today it would be as big, bigger, or would it get lost in the shuffle.

CVD: I think the audiences today are much more intelligent than they were two decades ago and I think it would probably be understood more. Back then, some people didn’t understand that it was a satire. It got mixed reviews. Some people really weren’t prepared for it. And I think today’s audience is more mature. And I think we’ve been oversaturated with cartoony things, so I think they’d look for something that would challenge them more. Starship Troopers has a really dark, black, thick, perverse sense of humor. It’s dark satire. I think because of the internet and because they’re more saturated with information, people are a little bit more aware now. They’re looking for things that make you think more. 

Back then, Paul Verhoeven and Edward Neumeier were ahead of their time in their thinking. Some people in Europe got it. I think some people in America got it and some didn’t. It was that you really understood or you were like WHAT IS THIS? Now, people really really love it.  It has life that has surpassed when the movie came out. “Dude! That movie still holds up.”, I get that all the time.

TMS: If I watched that movie today, those effects would go head to head with anything released right now.

CVD: That’s because the guys that made the effects back then are still the ones that are making them today.  The reason that movie’s special effects hold up is because they will never give them the time that they used to give them back then. They say that audiences today are more accepting of more cartoony special effects. There was sweat off the bugs. They took two years to do it. Each bug had so much detail.  They put a lot more time and thought into it.  

TMS: Now, it’s how quick can we churn this stuff out to turn a profit.

CVD: And audiences will accept more of a cartoony look. They’ll accept the Hulk looking like he looks rather than a dinosaur or a giant bug, trying to make it look more alive. They really put a lot more into it. At least it seems like it.

TMS: What can you tell us about June? Is this your first experience with horror?

starship troopers
CVD: No, I did The Pact which was a horror movie and Sleepy Hollow was a kind of horror comedy. I’ve done some different horror movies. The Pact did well at Sundance and in England. June was a thrill for me to be a part of and I loved it. I loved working with Victoria Pratt. Gustavo was amazing. And Kennedy Brice is such a talented young actress.

So, this character that I play in this. He’s a husband first and they can’t have children. He loves his wife so much that he does whatever he can to help her adopt this child. He’s trying to do everything he can to make the family stick together. Then he starts noticing some things that are odd.  No matter how hard he tries it seems to have the opposite effect, which is what happens in real life with us often. There’s realism in that even though some of the things that happen are completely surreal. The fact that people can relate to it is something that I think is terrifying and haunting and pulls you in.

TMS:  What other horror movies would you compare this to?

CVD: Well, maybe Firestarter, The Exorcist and different things where people struggle. But Firestarter for some of the scenes that are similar. And some of the crazy things that happen are like The Shining a little bit. This is a unique scare and it brings witchcraft back into play, old school, less blood…….

TMS: The best horror movies show very little. That’s always been my take on the genre. The ones that exist in the shadows, that don’t show everything are generally a lot freakier. With June, how was it working with a younger star?

CVD:  Kennedy Brice, she’s wonderful. She’s a super talented actress. Young but mature for her age. I loved her. Victoria Pratt, is an actress I’ve worked with many times. We work really well together. The trio of us seemed to work really nice and I really enjoyed it. Then you have Eddie Jemison coming in who’s an amazingly talented actor. Everything worked out really well for us that way.

June is out tomorrow!

Forget the insecticide! Bring on the nukes!!!

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