Controversial Dutch director Paul Verhoeven has revealed how he helped the stars of Starship Troopers relax during the film’s memorable nude shower scene.
For film fans of a certain age, the scene represents a seminal moment in their movie-going maturity with the film’s main cast of mobile infantry recruits stripping off.
20 years on from the film’s release, it remains a memorable and eye-catching moment.
And speaking in an exclusive interview with Digital Spy, Verhoeven confirmed a long-gestating fan myth – that he also stripped off to film the scene.
“Yeah, sure I did that. And it helped!” he told Leigh Singer.
“My DoP Jost Vacano and I, we undressed and of course then everyone started to laugh. Then we shot the scene with no problem. Jost grew up in these, let’s say nudity camps [sic], so he had no problem with it. For me, it was a bit more difficult but I said to Jost, ‘Hey, we need to give an example…’ He said ‘Of course,’ and boom!”
One myth Verhoeven appeared eager to dispel, however, was the notion that he deliberately cast bad actors in the main role.
When Starship Troopers was first released, many filmgoers were quick to label the movie “90210 In Space” given the fresh faces and chiselled jaws of those involved.
In truth, Denise Richards was the only cast member to go on to anything bigger and better as Bond Girl Christmas Jones in Pierce Brosnan outing The World Is Not Enough.
Fellow castmate Dina Meyer has continued to work solidly while Johnny Rico himself, Casper Van Dien, has largely returned to television work save for an appearance in the straight-to-video sequel Starship Troopers 3: Marauder.
Verhoeven sees things differently though, claiming their inclusion was more about reinforcing the underlying fascism of Robert A Heinlein’s 1959 novel, which the movie is based on.
In the Dutch filmmaker’s fascist-baiting movie, the casting of a series of very Aryan-looking actors made perfect sense. Even so, he told Digital Spy he has some regrets.
“I probably was looking too much to the streamlined bodies and sculpted faces,” he said, “and perhaps paid not enough attention to all the acting stuff… I mean, I don’t know, in retrospect you could also say that was the right way to do it, because it should be these kinds of people.”
Four Starship Troopers movies have been released to date and with plans afoot for a remake, it would appear that we could be hearing more from life in the 23rd century very soon.