It’s been 15 years since Casper Van Dien portrayed bug-killing soldier Johnny Rico in Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi action classic, Starship Troopers. Since then he’s swung from vines as the title character in Tarzan and the Lost City, investigated Biblical codes in the sleeper hit The Omega Code, and co-starred with Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow. But the Troopers universe somehow keeps drawing him back in. He reprised the role of Johnny Rico in the 2008 sequel, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, under the direction of the original film’s writer, Ed Neumeier.
Now, Van Dien has returned to that world as an executive producer (along with Neumeier) of the latest film in the on-going franchise, Starship Troopers: Invasion, on Blu-ray and DVD August 28, 2012. The entirely computer animated film was directed by Japanese anime director Shinji Aramaki, director of Appleseed (2004) and Appleseed: Ex Machina (2007). Invasion furthers the story of Johnny Rico (now a general), Captain Carmen Ibanez, and Carl Jenkins as they continue fighting the Arachnids.
Always busy, Van Dien stepped away from shooting the currently in-production Mucho Dinero to discuss his involvement in the all-new Starship Troopers: Invasion.
Could you have ever predicted 15 years ago that Starship Troopers would continue to be such a big part of your career?
You know, I could never have predicted this, but I'm thrilled to be part of it. I'm thrilled to be still involved with Starship Troopers. It's been a big part of my life. I mean, I get people Tweeting me all the time with different quotes from the movie. People stop me on the street and they'll go, “Hey, Johnny Rico!”
So, I wasn't Johnny Rico before, but it's become a part of my life. It's actually kind of exciting. I love it. I love that the original stuff still has such a huge fan base. And that it’s been able to spawn a couple of sequels.
At what point did you become involved with the new film, Starship Troopers: Invasion?
Well, sometime last year they came to me. Tony Ishizuka [vice president of International Production at Sony] asked me to be a part of it. He has been one of the biggest Starship Troopers supporters. And Peter Nelson over there at Sony, they've been huge supporters.