Movies & TV / Columns

Casper Van Dien Talk w/411 About His Latest Film, Showdown in Manila

February 5, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Showdown in Manila Casper Van Dien

The 411 Interview: Casper Van Dien


Casper Van Dien is an actor, producer, and director who has been working in Hollywood since the early 1990’s. He has worked both in television and movies, appearing on such shows as Beverly Hills 90210, The Outer Limits, and Titans, and movies like Sleepy Hollow, Tarzan and the Lost City, and Officer Down (he also has multiple TV movie credits to his name, including The Fallen Ones, Turbulent Skies, and Christmas Twister). Van Dien is probably best known, though, for his role as Johnny Rico in the greatest movie ever made, Starship Troopers. Van Dien’s latest effort is the ensemble action flick Showdown in Manila, directed by Mark Dacascos and starring Alexander Nevsky, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Tia Carrere, Olivier Gruner, Cynthia Rothrock, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and the incomparable Mathias Hues (check out my review of the movie here). In this interview, Van Dien talks with this writer about what it was like making Showdown in Manila, working with such a badass cast, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you get involved with Showdown in Manila?

Casper Van Dien: I got involved with Showdown as soon as my good friend Mark Dacascos introduced me to Alexander Nevsky.

BK: How did you approach your character Charlie Benz? Was he always kind of goofy/a smart ass or is that something you developed on your own?

CVD: Mark initially told me that he had the perfect role for me. He said he felt like it was written for me. I have since questioned our friendship seeing how Charlie is so different from me, but I think we have similar senses of humor.

BK: What was it like filming in the jungle? I mean, that was a real jungle, right? Were you acting when you swatted at those mosquitoes?

CVD: I loved filming in the jungle. The mosquito swatting was just acting. I had an awesome time and spend a lot of time outdoors. Me Tarzan, outdoorsy type.

BK: What was your biggest challenge as an actor while making Showdown in Manila?

CVD: I feel that as an actor we have to always be prepared. I think Alexander and Mark hired actors they knew would be up for the challenge.


BK: What was it like working with Alexander Nevsky? Did you guys hit it off right away or did you have to sort of work on your relationship before filming began? Is he as cool in real life as he seems on screen?

CVD: Alexander is a pro. He is a powerhouse producer. He is also the biggest gentleman in the business. I loved working with him. And yes. He is cool.


BK: What was it like working with so many action stars like Don “The Dragon” Wilson and Mathias Hues? Do they try to “out badass” one another when they’re around one another? Do you consider yourself an action star?

CVD: I am such a fan of their martial arts expertise and it is always humbling to be in the presence of that level of mastery. I think we can all see that I am the comic relief in this one.

BK: How is Mark Dacascos as a director? What’s it like working for a director who is also an actor as opposed to a director who is “just” a director?

CVD: Mark is one of my closest friends. I admire the quality of man he is and he inspires me to be a better man. I loved working with him. Mark can do everything. Most people are a jack of all trades, but a master of none. Mark is a master of anything he tries.


BK: What’s the difference, if any, between making something like Showdown in Manila as opposed to something like Starship Troopers?

CVD: Showdown is a throwback to 1980’s action movies. Starship Troopers was a 100 million dollar film 20 years ago. That is huge. I love being a part of SST. It has been an amazing journey and I would love to do more films or even a series. I also think Alexander would fit in the SST universe. So maybe he and I can do something like that together.

BK: Any upcoming projects?

CVD: Alita: Battle Angel is coming out soon. I am also playing Jimmy Doolittle in Doolittle’s Heroes.

BK: Where do you want to see a Showdown in Manila 2 go? Should the showdown take place in Manila again or should the showdown take place somewhere else?

CVD: I think somewhere else. Hawaii. Cuba. Moscow. Israel. New Zealand.

BK: If you ever did take Cynthia Rothrock out on a date where would you take her?

CVD: I am afraid of dying.



A very special thanks to Casper Van Dien for agreeing to participate in this interview and to david j. moore for helping set it up.

You can check out the Showdown in Manila website here

You can check out Casper Van Dien’s Facebook pager here, Instagram here, Twitter page here, and Linkedin page here.

Casper Van Dien image from

All other images courtesy of Alexander Nevsky.