Van Dien Sees Bright Future for ‘Starship Troopers’ Franchise16 Jul, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey
SAN DIEGO — The violence, sex and gore of the “Starship Troopers” universe doesn’t sound like something for kids.
Don’t tell that to Casper Van Dien.
“You say it’s not necessarily made for children, but three of my five kids are really into anime, and they’re more sophisticated in what they want to see, and I have no opposition to them watching an anime because it’s art,” the 43-year-old Starship Troopers actor said. “I don’t have the same prejudices that some people might have, that they may have to be more careful because of the blood and violence, or nudity that’s in anime.”
If that’s the case, this latest CGI-animated installment of the franchise, Starship Troopers: Invasion, coming from acclaimed anime director Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed Ex-Machina, Halo Legends) should get a lot of plays in the Van Dien household.
Fifteen years after the original film wowed audiences, Casper’s Johnny Rico character, along with Captain Ibanez and Carl Jenkins, are back, this time out to rescue the survivors of a bug attack at a federation outpost. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases Starship Troopers: Invasion on DVD and Blu-ray Disc with UltraViolet on Aug. 28.
Sony Pictures premiered the film to a lucky hundred or so fans during Comic-Con, and brought out Van Dien, Ed Neumeier, executive producer of Invasion and screenwriter for the original Starship Troopers, and Aramaki, to answer fans’ questions.
“It’s hard to fill a room at Comic-Con, because there are so many amazing things going on,” Van Dien said. “To have the theater fill up and literally nobody left the room and stayed for the Q&A afterwards, it was exciting to see.”
Van Dien executive produced Invasion, a first for him, and a surreal experience, he said.
“[They] were showing me drawings, and concepts and initial filming, what it looked like, so it was fascinating to see from that aspect,” he said. “More or less my input was, ‘That’s amazing!’ or ‘That looks great!’ or ‘Holy cow, I can’t believe this!’ I was honored to be a part of it."
Producer Joseph Chou said the Blu-ray will look “amazing,” and noted that the look of the film is geared toward a certain crowd.
“It is different from the Pixar animations and DreamWorks animations you see,” he said.
Bonuses for the Blu-ray include a conceptual art gallery, a commentary, a making-of featurette, and archive data. For Neumeier, it’s the art that he’ll first be turning to.
“That’s one of the things I really want to look at, because it’s a specialty of [Aramaki]. That stuff is really intriguing to me,” he said.
Aramaki, speaking through an interpreter, said he realizes how important the first film is to fans, and, being a fan himself, he said he tried hard to be true to the original.
“The challenge I had was to design CG sequences or characters or mechanics and ships not to be taken as, ‘Oh, it’s just CG animation,’ but something [real],” he said. “I tried to take it to that direction as much as possible, and also take into account: What would fans want to see?”
Sony Pictures has announced plans for a reboot of the “Starship Troopers” franchise, helmed by Neal H. Moritz, producer of “The Fast and the Furious” franchise and I Am Legend. Van Dien hopes to be called on.
“I would love to be involved,” he said.