Casper Van Dien talks The Pact

Actor Casper Van Dien discusses his role in The Pact, arriving in theaters July 6

Casper Van Dien is best known for playing the brash Johnny Rico in Starship Troopers and the 2008 follow-up Starship Troopers 3: Marauder. When he's not busy killing bugs and saving the Federation, he's tackling many other roles in different genres, with his latest offering being The Pact, which is currently available on VOD and arrives in theaters July 6 from IFC Films. I recently had the chance to speak with the actor over the phone about playing Creek, a small-town sheriff who investigates the paranormal claims of a young woman (Caity Lotz) in this thriller. Take a look at what he had to say.

You've been starring in a number of different kinds of films throughout the years. Can you talk a bit about what you really look for in a project, and what really piqued your interest about The Pact?

Casper Van Dien: Well, The Pact is a really well-written horror genre film. I was reading it and I was really creeped out by it. I saw the writer-director's short, and I could see he was somebody who really respected the art form. It was awesome to say. That was very attractive to me. Then, with this character, he was somebody who had been through a lot. He had his fair share of troubles, and you could see that he had some struggles in his life. I felt like I could relate to him, through life experience.

I don't believe that Creek is in (writer-director) Nicholas McCarthy's short, is he?

Casper Van Dien: No, he's not, but the short was good itself. What's cool about the director is he used most of the same people he shot the short with, in his actual feature. He's a really cool guy.

Can you talk a bit about working with this cast? Caity (Lotz) has been an up and coming actress lately, and I loved her performance in this. Can you talk a bit about sharing the screen with her?

Casper Van Dien: Well, Caity is a phenomenal young actress, who is dedicated to her characters and her roles. You can see the commitment in her delivery and her thought process. It's exciting to watch a young actress like this. She's so good, and so natural. She was just fantastic, and she's also someone who's so physically capable. She did all these stunts and wire work. I was looking at her, and she's as good as any stunt man or woman that I've worked with. If this acting thing hadn't worked out for her, I could totally see her doing that too, but she's a phenomenal actress. It was so great to feed off her and watch her. She made my job a lot easier, as an actor, and I really enjoyed working with her.

There is one scene that is particularly shocking that I don't want to spoil. Can you talk about reading that scene for the first time, and the makeup effects?

Casper Van Dien: It was a cool moment to read that. It was a lot of fun to shoot that. I love anything that shocks people, and that's the really cool thing about this movie, there are a lot of really cool shocks. Watching this with a live audience at Sundance, I got to see the shock factor and the whole audience scream and jump. That was awesome. I'm glad to be an integral part of that. I enjoyed that scene.

I think one of the biggest reasons why that was so shocking, and a lot of other moments in the movie too, is the choice to not use music. Music is such a huge cue, like 'You're going to be scared now.' When you watched the film, was it surprising to see that lack of a musical cue?

Casper Van Dien: He is a director who really loves the genre, and really respects the audience that sees these horror films. He does it in a more intelligent way, and he treats the audience with more respect, in my opinion. You see he's a true fan of the genre, and that he treats it like the true art form that it is. Unfortunately, some directors or producers don't understand it as well as this particular director did. He really got the genre. Reading the script, I could see he got it, then watching him shoot it, wow. Everything really seemed to flow well. It's got aspects of fantasy and horror, things we might imagine, and the real things that do happen. The combination of him putting them together the way he did, with lack of music in some places, and good music in other places, seemed to really flow well. I liked that. Watching it at Sundance, the shock was phenomenal. People were literally screaming, which was great.

I was wondering if there is anything you can say about Starship Troopers: Invasion? Is there anything you can say about where the timeline fits into the overall universe?

Casper Van Dien: I think it's lighter, and its definitely our sequel to the first Starship Troopers, with aspects from 2 and 3 in it as well. It's closer to the book, which is interesting. What's phenomenal about it to me, I just saw it, I look at these suits these guys get to wear in the anime, and I would have loved to have had them. Some of the aspects are really cool. I love Starship. I loved the book when I read it as a kid, and I loved being a part of these films with Paul Verhoeven and Edward Neumeier. I loved being a part of this. When they asked me to be an executive producer, I was thrilled. It's really good. I know that they're rebooting Starship Troopers as well, and I'm excited to see what they do with that.

Is there anything else you're working on that you can talk about?

Casper Van Dien: I have a comedy coming out called Noobz, where I play that guy from Starship Troopers. I get to play me as a complete asshole. That was fun to do too.

What would you like to say to anyone who's curious about The Pact about why they should check it out in theaters July 6?

Casper Van Dien: I hope they enjoy it. It was a lot of fun to do. Caity was amazing, the director was amazing. It's a good date movie, because whoever you bring with you will probably jump on top of you (Laughs).

Great. Thanks so much, Casper. It was great talking to you.

Casper Van Dien: Thanks man.

You can watch Casper Van Dien in The Pact, currently on VOD formats before arriving in theaters July 6.