Director Of Original Starship Troopers Slams Coming Remake As Fitting For The “Fascist” Trump Presidency

IndieWire reports:

One week after the election of Donald Trump, Paul Verhoeven was at the Film Society of Lincoln Center presenting “Starship Troopers,” a 1997 film that highlighted the fascist possibilities of American society. It was a connection that wasn’t lost on the provocative 77 year-old filmmaker, who the Film Society is honoring this month with a two-week retrospective. In discussing the recent news that Sony and producer Neal H. Moritz (“Fast & Furious” franchise) were going to reboot “Starship Troopers,” Verhoeven didn’t pull any punches during a Q&A.

According to the Dutch filmmaker, the reason Hollywood’s remakes (“Total Recall,” “Robocop”) and sequels (“Basic Instinct,” “Robocop,” “Starship Troopers) of his films fail is “the studios always wanted not to have a layer of lightness, a layer of irony, sarcasm, satire.” Referring to the announcement that the new “Starship Troopers” reboot would go back to science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein’s original novel was particularly troubling to Verhoeven.

“It said in the article [that] the production team of that movie of the remake, that they would go back more and more towards the novel. And of course, we really, really tried to get away from the novel, because we felt that the novel was fascistic and militaristic,” said Verhoeven. “You feel that going back to the novel would fit very much in a Trump Presidency.”

The film was widely rejected in 1997. At the time, critics didn’t see the double narrative and panned the film for advocating the very the neo-Nazi tendencies Verhoeven and Neumeier were actively trying to skewer. Watching the film today, 19 years removed, it is hard to understand how people missed Verhoeven’s obvious satiric perspective, with its heightened artifice, campy performances, propaganda newsreels and clear references to Nazi flags and uniforms.

Verhoeven says the only reason his original film got past the studio was because at the time Sony was in turmoil with top executives being replaced every few months.

  • Dreaming Vertebrate

    Remake America Great Again!
    The new version will feature starship troopers in brown shirts and stylish red caps.

    • HZ81

      Hopefully, the bugs will be giant and orange with tiny little feelers.

  • HZ81

    I rewound my video tape of this movie for Casper Van Diem in the shower several times. Oh, the ’90s!

    He’s still a looker.

    • Goodboy

      Yeah, at 47 he’s doing something right. Hard to believe I’m almost the same age. The only difference is that I look mine:(

      • james1200

        Daddy, is that you?

      • HZ81

        Keeping it tight. Fuckable at any age.

      • Jerry

        I enjoyed the campy-ness of the film…but yeah, Casper in the shower scene.

      • Guest

        Also his being shirtless and in those pants being whipped. Oh my!

      • John

        Gorgeous, even Hotter now that he’s all grown up!

    • Vista-Cruiser

      Carpe diem.

      • HZ81

        Oh, it was seized alright 🙂

  • JoeMyGod

    Somebody needs to photoshop MAGA hats onto the soldiers.

  • pj

    is that neal patrick harris

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Yup, he was one of the telepath fascists….have to admit, the boy could rock an SS uniform.

    • Andrew Iverson

      This movie was the real start of his come back.

  • james1200

    One of my favorite movies of all time! Amazing movie (the acting is laughable but the movie transcends the Ed Wood-style acting). And of course it’s satirical. Plus, it has Neil Patrick Harris as a psychic, fascist stormtrooper. Great movie!

    Never a dull moment in this movie…

    • Jeffrey

      Perfect asses of the future! That’s all I remember from seeing this movie. I believe my own ass may be too furry for the future.

      • james1200

        Aren’t we getting less hairy as we evolve over time? Your hairy ass will be a precious commodity in our hairless future.

        • Jeffrey

          LOL I like the sound of that

      • Piercedchrlz

        Come sit next to me.

      • DesertSun59

        A hairy ass is a perfect ass to me.

      • rusty57

        If you would be kind enough to share a photograph I’m sure there are enough connoisseurs of hirsute tuches’s (tuchem?) that we can get together a quorum and render a verdict.

        • Jeffrey

          As much as I would enjoy that I’m afraid Joe might kick me off here lol

    • HZ81

      Is it wrong to make the last pic a screensaver at work? Let’s test HR!

    • Todd20036

      Enlighten me. Do enlisted personnel tend to have physiques like that, or is it more varied.

      • james1200

        In the future? Yes, yes they do. It’s a requirement that their ass be high and round and their penis thick and long, in order to survive the rigors of space travel.

      • lymis

        Generally, combat troops are in pretty decent physical shape, yes.

      • Grumpy Old Man

        In Marine Corps bootcamp, 95% of the recruits gained weight – er, when I joined in 1968. I was considered ‘the old man’ since I was almost 21.

    • Todd20036

      My ass looks fuckable, which seriously mindfucks people when they find out I’m a top

    • Strepsi

      i LOVED this movie when it came out and still do. And I recall I did not see a single U.S. film review that understood it. It was not a future “what if?” Sci-Fi, it was a clear satire of the U.S. as it was then — and is NOW — and the vast majority of Americans could not see that at all.

      It was such an anti-American movie, even the “laughable” acting was deliberate — the military heroes of the future were all perfectly gorgeous, perfectly dumb TV nighttime soap actors!

      And dear god, Casper Van Dien is like a walking Tom of Finland cartoon.

  • joyzeeboy

    Would you like to know more?

  • kelven

    Verhoven’s early works introduced several LGBT characters. Spetters and The Fourth Man stand out in my memory. I do like Starship Trooper for it’s campyness, but mostly for the shower scene.

    • ByronK

      Loved The Fourth Man!

  • Mikey

    I loved this movie from the first day it came out.
    And I agree 100% with Verhoeven, Robert A. Heinlein had some really serious issues with his deep-rooted fascist tendencies.
    It shows in more than one of his books.
    I remember reading the original edit of Stranger in a Strange Land and enjoying it.. then years later the “extended edition” came out, and I couldn’t even get halfway through the book, I found it so intolerably fascist, sexist, racist, and homophobic.

  • Gustav2

    I always thought parts of the movie were a bit of send up of the US Office of War Information during WW II.

  • DN

    They’d better not touch Showgirls…

    • Larry Gist

      Or Stripper.

    • Todd20036


      • bambinoitaliano

        It’s call Magic Mike.

  • coram nobis

    Hated the book, thought it was a fascist S-M fantasy. Didn’t see the movie.

    • james1200

      Was it Heinlen? He was a fascist, wasn’t he?

      • Todd20036

        Doubt it. Stranger in a Strange Land was far from fascist, and depicted homosexuality in a positive light.

        You may be thinking of Orsen Scott Card.

        • james1200

          Maybe. I saw the Orsen movie, also about bugs, lol. Not in the theater, though. I didn’t wanna give that bastard my $15. Saw it on cable and it was…sad. Had very similar themes to Starship Troopers, right down to the Ants/Bugs that actually turned out to be the victims of humanity.

        • Cousin Bleh

          SyFy just announced yesterday that they’re adapting Stranger in a Strange Land into a TV series. I wonder if they’ll keep the orgies.

          • lymis

            Stranger in a Strange Land is one of my favorite books. I can’t imagine anyone doing it justice on film, even as an extended series. But here’s hoping.

      • coram nobis

        This book may have been a one-off. Didn’t get that sense from his other books.

      • lymis

        More of a libertarian in the classic sense – or, perhaps, what libertarians say they believe.

        Almost all his major characters were outsiders and rebels of one kind or another. There’s certainly no praise of government as government in his books.

        One thing I recall from Starship Troopers is that no citizens earned the right to vote until they had done some sort of major community service – a stint in the military, for the most part, though there were other things people could do. The vote didn’t just happen because you came of age.

        But that’s about the only book of his where the main characters were military, and even they weren’t particularly standard military.

      • juanjo54

        Heinlein was actually a libertarian with a a small “l”. He had no love of fascists.

      • ospalh

        And he was very much a sexist. Sort-of of the separate-but-equal variety.
        In the book, all Mobile Infantry soldiers were men, and many in the space navy women, especially the pilots.

    • Rebecca Gardner

      Fascism bad.
      S-M Good!

      • coram nobis

        “That scene where they lose the war. Depressing. I’m changing it to a dance number, chorus girls in black leather. S-M. Turn, turn KICK turn!”
        — “The Producers”

  • Rebecca Gardner

    When you vote, you are exercising political authority, you’re using force. And force, my friends, is violence. The supreme authority from which all other authorities are derived

    • Nasty Girl Brianna

      OMG this scene is now more prescient than ever.

  • coram nobis

    If we’re reaching for other metaphors, Religion Dispatches thinks Philip Roth’s book The Plot Against America may be apt. Trump-as-dictator compared to Lindbergh, not Hitler.

    • Shame sandwich

      It’s the first thing I thought of. Not quite a satire as much as alternative history. An acutely American version of fascism.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    I actually loved the film more than the book, precisely because I could see the satire of it all. The real monsters in the film weren’t the bugs

    • Ursa de la courecel

      The book was a bore, only the movie redeems it as a subject of modern conversation. The remake will be iconic as “everything wrong with Hollywood today.”

  • JoeMyGod

    In the book, the dashing protagonist Johnny Rico is a Tagalog-speaking Filipino.

    Wanna bet that detail disappears in the “true-to-book” remake?

    • james1200

      Hollywood is casting more and more Asian actors because of the all-important Chinese market so maybe he’ll be Chinese in the remake, lol.

      • Lazycrockett

        That’s also why Tilda got that gig in Dr. Strangelove so it works both ways.

      • Nasty Girl Brianna

        Yes but for the Chinese market, only the “right” kind of Asians must be cast.

      • The_Wretched

        They cast scarlet johansen for the role of ‘the major’ in the upcoming live action remake of GITS. While I’m sure she’ll play the role ok, I wish they’d cast an Asian actor.

        • Raising_Rlyeh

          But the major is very white looming in GTS.

          • Roy Biv

            Yeah…but the surroundings, the principal actors (from the trailer) were pretty white…I wouldn’t have a problem with white actors playing these parts if, oh I don’t know, I saw an asian face on any media once in a while.

            Asians and any minority don’t need to be typecast in race-specific roles but they almost certainly are.

    • Ursa de la courecel

      Oops. Did we say “true?” We meant post-true. Or something.

      • ByronK


        • Jean-Marc in Canada


          • EweTaw

            Trumpy true, which is “truish” enough or not at all.

          • JCF


          • Mariaddurr

            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj68d:
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      • Raybob


        • bambinoitaliano

          Truthy Foothy in the Mouthy.

      • Grumpy Old Man

        Truthiness rulz!

    • Mike Solo

      I thought he was a Brazilian Latino from Buenos Aires? I read the book before the movie, but was sure they were from Buenos Aires… need to look it up again.

      • ospalh

        You can easily miss it. It’s just one paragraph at the very end that mentions Tagalog and Ramon Magsaysay

    • Roy Biv

      Interesting. I didn’t know that.

    • Gregory In Seattle

      No bet.

  • Paula

    People didn’t notice that the uniforms were very nazi-like. It was a facist society. I enkoyed the book. It was very much different from the movie. I saw the movie at a big screen theater. The 50 foot tall bugs were amazing!

    • HoneyBoySmith

      I saw the movie with my very first real life boyfriend. At a theater in Mountain View, California.

      It was a good time.

  • Cuberly

    Don’t forget Rue’s cameo appearance. She hams it up…

    Still think the movie is a bit of a mess, editing wise. But it’s still got a camp quality you never see in the more modern comic book/sci-fi fims.

    This is one of the best to see with an audience, you laugh at certain parts then cringe at the fascistic elements at the same time. It’s a very singular classic.

    • james1200

      The violence is the one criticism I have: it’s soooo brutal.

      • Cuberly

        it is, it’s very over the top.

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      The original Robocop was the same way, over the top satire and in your face corporate fascism. Then, we laughed….now we cry.

      • Cuberly

        Yep, and then Total Recall, same corporate fascistic elements. And yeah, very graphic.

    • Treant

      “Come back here you Scandinavian nitwit!”

      “CUT! Fuck, Rue!”

  • Giant Monster Gamera

    I hated the movie when it came out. Like “Natural Born Killers” I just couldn’t understand how anyone could consider the film entertainment. I need to revisit it.

    • Rebecca Gardner

      OMG! Natural Born Killers was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • stevenj

      There was (to me) an obvious satirical link between “news” and “entertainment” in Natural Born Killers. And the intended glamorization of the killers. Still very pertinent today.

      • Natty Enquirer

        Sartorial? Natural Dressed Killers

        • stevenj

          LOL I caught that. It’s been edited.

  • Ninja0980
    • The_Wretched

      The generals refusing to go along with Trump was one of the potential horrible I used pre-election to argue against him as president. And it’s why we’re seeing stories like this one:

      We had purges in the military under Bush the Lesser as well. The dominionists were able in that case to have all but total control over the AirForce and lead to the rise of McCrystal and Flynn (who were both removed later for being too open with their views).

      i don’t that that recent past is lost on today’s generals and they are reading the same stories we are.

    • bambinoitaliano

      I don’t think US experience enough of the political oddity in 2016. I don’t mind seeing a coup d’etat by the DOD to over throw Trump presidency 😛

    • joyzeeboy

      Uh…. NO THANK YOU! I saw “Seven Days in May.”

      • JCF

        Um, the FBI? Seven Days in October JUST happened.

  • Cuberly

    OT: Somehow I think this was the reaction of a certain JMGer late last Tuesday.

    • Goodboy

      Great book! Lousy but campy movie.

      • William

        The general rule with anything written by Stephen King is the movie version sucks.

        • Jerry

          Unless he writes the screenplay, and done as a serial on TV. See “Salem’s Lot” and “The Stand”.

          • leastyebejudged

            And then there’s Tommyknockers. What a tragedy the mini series was. It’s such a great story, it deserves a full feature length film.

            And the theme and moral are even more relevant today.

          • Jerry

            One of my favorite books was “Needful Things”…oh what a horrible, horrible movie! They either take an epic-length novel and cut it down to 90 minutes, or take a short story (Children of the Corn, Lawnmower Man) and stretch it to 90 minutes. “Needful Things” needed a miniseries.

      • thecdn

        Agreed. I’m as left wing as they come but I can enjoy a book/watch a movie about a fascist future without having to agree with it.
        I want to see a movie with the armoured suits, male only infantry, female only pilots. I want to see the book I like on the screen, not a campy eye-candy romp with 20th century grunts running around a distant planet with no gear.

  • giles.caprine.kidlet

    “Watching the film today, 19 years removed, it is hard to understand how
    people missed Verhoeven’s obvious satiric perspective, with its
    heightened artifice, campy performances, propaganda newsreels and clear
    references to Nazi flags and uniforms.”

    This gay man did not miss a trick!

  • lymis

    my most vivid memory of the movie was that a woman and about 8 pre-teen kids came in and sat in the row ahead of me, which I thought was odd. Then they all sat quite happily through the staggeringly brutal violence, bodies being torn to shreds, realistic head shots, and a flogging, but when the troops hit the showers, she made them all literally put their coats over their heads until she decided the nudity was over. Back to the violence, no problem. Then the scene where the couple was in their sleeping bag together (with all questionable bits covered up) and the coats went back on the heads.

    What screwed up priorities.

    • boatboy_srq

      Fits with Newscorp and broadcast, and with film ratings. Death and destruction are fine, just don’t show any T&A.

  • The Milkman

    The original stunk, honey. It ain’t Citizen Kane they’re remaking. Sit down.

  • NZArtist

    Startship Troopers is a fantastic movie. It is brilliantly cynical about war and propaganda.
    But dont watch the sequels. I kid you not – the franchise was bought out by a crazy religious sect and used to promote their fucked-up religion. They are really, *REALLY* bad. And not even in a ‘so bad they’re good’ way. The sequels are just embarrassing.

    • Jerry

      I watched the sequels…yes, incredibly bad.

  • Lamarr_Jackson
    • Todd20036

      You don’t expect anyone to actually be able to read that, do you?

      • Lamarr_Jackson

        Read it, that happened to me yesterday.

        • Silver Badger

          No, it did not. Maybe in a couple of years but not now.

          • Lamarr_Jackson

            I talked to CNN already though. They said that they already had too many stories about Trump supporters murdering people and there is no reason to report any more of them.
            What other news organizations can I contact? Fox News just laughed at me and MSNBC asked if I knew any lesbians.

          • Silver Badger

            Dude, give it up. If you could back it up with pictures and witnesses, you might have a chance. Remember on JMG i’ts PIX or it didn’t happen.

          • Lamarr_Jackson

            C’mon, thousands of minorities are dying in the streets as we speak because of Trump supporters and no one is doing anything to stop it. What are we going to do!?

          • Todd20036

            Then it should be easy to provide proof. No? Some iPhone videos, etc.

          • Lamarr_Jackson

            Trump is censoring it

          • leastyebejudged

            Fuck off and die.

          • Silver Badger

            Report real incidents.

          • leastyebejudged


          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            Really ? Who did you talk to at CNN ? Because I called them about something cute my puppy did and they are all over IT!

          • vorpal

            What did your puppy do now? I hope you awarded puppy with a milk boner.


      • Silver Badger

        You can inbiggin it by clicking on the article. I’ts his homework project in creative writing.

      • PickyPecker

        I think this along the lines of the troll that came here the other day claiming to have been raped and beaten. Fiction manufactured to make us all run out and kill ourselves. RUN!!!

  • pch1013

    Also recommended: “Soldier of Orange,” his WWII epic that truthfully (and disturbingly) portrays how many Dutch people responded to fascism with either passivity or collaboration.

  • bdsmjack
  • Bared Bear

    Casper Van Dien’s beauty and backside is almost enough to take my mind off of Trumpocalypse for a few seconds.

  • Tawdry D’Tails

    Dear white jesus, this movie sucked on so many levels. I’m just glad Doogie’s career recovered, since I was rooting for the bugs…
    The only way it’s watchable is through the lens of RiffTrax. “That’s some serious Neil Patrick Harassment!”

  • Trace

    I loved this movie. It was so scathing and prescient, it’s no wonder people missed the satire inside a teen alien shoot-em-up.

    People don’t remember that this movie was released in 1997. 4 years before 9/11, Patriot Act, “You’re with us or the terrorists” “Support George Bush!” “Support the Troops AND Bush” “Dissent is Unpatriotic” “No Criticizing the President in a time of war!” It was like a window into the Bush/Cheney years, disguised as a silly action film.

    • JWC

      Bush an idiot Cheney a hawk all directed by Karl Rove Now Trump a loose cannon Pense a dangerous ghomphobe all directed by Steve Bannon

  • KnownDonorDad

    Would you like to know more?

  • Mike Solo

    Absolutely loved this movie when it came out. Was one of the first movies I was able to see on my own as I had just gotten my license. When I was 16 it was all about the scary bugs and space battles. Now watching it, the undertones are so much more prominent, I think it should be shown in high schools and discussed.

  • RJ Bone

    Loved the song, liked the book, tolerated the movie. I haven’t seen the sequels.

  • Grumpy Old Man

    “I can smell the bacon frying”

  • Harold Osler

    What a schmuck–that movie was just Starship 90210.