By Chaz Lipp

Casper Van Dien has a ton of credits in his filmography, but the role he will always be most associated with is Johnny Rico. He first played Rico in Paul Verhoeven’s satirical sci-fi extravaganza, Starship Troopers, way back in 1997. In 2008, he returned to the character in the Ed Neumeier-directed Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (Neumeier wrote the original and its first sequel).

August 28, 2012 will see the release, on Blu-ray and DVD, of the brand new, computer animated Starship Troopers: Invasion, directed by noted anime director Shinji Aramaki. Mr. Van Dien was on board as co-executive producer (along with Ed Neumeier). It’s a beautifully designed, CG animation spectacular, sure to please fans with its R-rated array of violence and nudity. The story picks up a number of years after the events of the original film and stars General Johnny Rico, Captain Carmen Ibanez, and the psychically-gifted Carl Jenkins (albeit with different actors voicing the roles).
Casper Van Dien was kind enough to speak with me for Blogcritics, but we wanted to give our Cinema Lowdown readership something you can only see right here!
Thanks for making time to chat, Casper. How does it feel to have a signature role that everybody knows you for?
I was Johnny Rico 16 years ago and I think I will be for the rest of my life. It’s fun to have people quote a movie in which you said the lines, and they can quote those lines right back to you. I mean, it’s pretty strange and pretty awesome at the same time.
You were at Comic-Con in San Diego to promote Starship Troopers: Invasion, correct?
Yeah, I was at Comi-Con with the movie and also up in Canada for Fantasy Fest. Up there in Montreal.
What kind of reactions did the film get from audiences?
You know, it’s awesome to see the crowds. And they always yell out different quotes from the movie. And I did too when I was there. And we did Q & A’s afterward and pretty much the whole audience stayed, which is a good sign. They seemed to really like it. There seems to be a solid response.
That’s good to hear, especially since you’ve said you hope to make more of these films.
Well, this director, Shinji Aramaki, he’s very talented. I would love it if we can get a bigger budget and see what we can really do in this world. Because I think we can open it up even more. I looked at the power suits, the armor, the weapons, and I thought, “Damn, I would have loved to have been able to put that uniform on!” Or use those weapons, because they’re really cool.
Incidentally, we’re really big fans of Torchwood, and John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness. I only recently realized you worked with Barrowman on a TV series, what was that like?
Yes, Titans [in 2000]. John Barrowman is one of the funniest guys you could ever work with. He’s such a talented man. He played my brother. And we had an absolute blast working together. I loved working with him, what a great guy! And I’m really happy for all his success. It’s funny because we played brothers on Titans, and I had done the original Shark Attack. And then he was in Shark Attack 3: Megalodon. [Laughs] His shark growls underwater or something like that, I’m not quite sure. [Laughs]
Thanks again for chatting, Casper, best of luck with Starship Troopers: Invasion. I loved the CG imagery and thought all the hardware and bug battles looked incredible.
Yeah, it’s really cool because they were able to do something different [with the computer animation], and I don’t know that they were able to do it before. I really hope that the movie does well, so that we can do more. That’s what I would like.
A big “thank you!” to Casper Van Dien for taking time out his busy schedule.
Chaz Lipp

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