In “Starship Troopers” as in his other works, Paul Verhoeven maintains an uninhibited relationship with nudity. Witness a collective shower scene, shot thanks to a small subterfuge.
In the 24th century, a muscular Federation, where order and virtue are the key words, rules the Earth. But at the edge of the galaxy, an army of arachnids rises up against the human species and even threatens it directly, razing Buenos Aires in a few minutes.
The federation then exhorts the youth to sacrifice and abnegation. Five young people, five volunteers barely out of high school, full of enthusiasm and courage, go on a mission in space to fight the invaders. They are far from suspecting what awaits them…
It is an understatement to say that at the time of its release, the biting and ferocious irony of Starship Troopers by Paul Verhoeven, its satirical and anti-militarist discourse, were not detected by all its spectators, even professionals.
Among the critics, some even evoked a fascistic film, without noting the treatment applied by Paul Verhoeven to the subject (and without remembering his temperament as a filmmaker…). The New York Times even talked about a movie “disturbed and awful”…
The penalty was all the heavier since, with a production budget of 105 million dollars, the largest the filmmaker had ever had, Starship Troopers brought in only 54 million in the United States.
Time doing its work, and word of mouth too, fortunately, Paulo’s film has become absolutely cult. A game of massacre in the form of a gigantic arm of honor from the violent Dutchman. 25 years after its release, the film has not aged a bit, quite the contrary. There has been talk for years of a possible remake of Verhoeven’s film. We wish good luck to the candidate…
When it comes to nudity on screen, Verhoeven has never had any qualms and is completely uninhibited on the subject. It is enough to scan his filmography to measure that most of his films contain scenes of nudity and / or sex: Turkish delices, Flesh and blood, Basic Instinct, Hollow Man, Showgirls, Black Book, Benedetta…
In Starship Troopers there is a collective shower scene at the beginning of the film, in which the filmmaker wanted to film his actors and actresses -Casper Van Dien and Dina Meyer in particular- in the simplest camera. But in the land of Uncle Sam, a bare chest displayed on the screen poses a problem; in addition to not necessarily putting the cast at ease in the face of such a request.
Dina Meyer, who for the record plays the endearing Dizzy Flores in the film, then offered the filmmaker a compromise: if he wanted to see the actors/actresses naked for this scene, he had to set an example and show him how far he was ready to go to have his plans.
To everyone’s surprise, Verhoeven and his cinematographer, Jost Vacano undressed in solidarity with the cast. “For me, it was a bit more difficult, but I said to Jost, ‘Hey, we have to set an example…’ He said, ‘Of course’, and boom! worked like a charm. We got naked, and of course everyone laughed. Then we shot the scene with no problem.” Verhoeven would later recount.
A little extra anecdote for the road: Casper van Dien and Jake Busey, facetious, had apparently planned their move before filming this shower scene. As Van Dien will tell much later,, he and Busey had hidden in their pants penis prostheses the size (XXL therefore…) of that of Mark Wahlberg / Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights. Maximum embarrassment of the assistance and guaranteed effect, if one dares to say.