Paul Verhoeven, director of the 1997 satirical sci-fi film Starship Troopers, believes the planned remake “would very much fit in a Trump presidency.” During a post-screening Q&A at New York City’s Film Society of Lincoln Center, the 77-year-old distanced himself from the updated version, which reportedly draws on Robert A. Heinlein’s original 1959 novel as inspiration, Indiewire reports.
“It said in the article [about the new film that] the production team of [the remake] would go back more and more towards the novel,” he said. “And of course, we really, really tried to get away from the novel, because we felt that the novel was fascistic and militaristic.”
Many critics and moviegoers didn’t notice the satire of Verhoeven’s original film, a thinly veiled critique of militarism and fascism. “The studios always wanted not to have a layer of lightness, a layer of irony, sarcasm, satire,” he said.
Verhoeven said he and screenwriter Ed Neumeier hoped to create a “double story” with their film. “Our philosophy was really different [from Heinlein’s book],” he said. “We wanted to do a double story – a really wonderful adventure story about these young boys and girls fighting – but we also wanted to show that these people are really, in their heart, without knowing it, on their way to fascism.”
The director called the original Starship Troopers the “most expensive art movie ever made,” explaining that he was only able to release it because of Sony’s extensive managerial tumult during that period.
“We succeeded to do this movie that is so subversive and politically incorrect [because] Sony changed [leadership] every three, four months,” he continued. “Nobody looked at the … [dailies] because they had no time because they were fired every three, four months. So we got away with it because nobody saw it.”
In 2012, producer Toby Jaffe announced plans to develop a Starship Troopers reboot that leaned toward patriotism – and away from the original’s violence and satire. Jaffe and Columbia Pictures recruited Baywatch writers Mark Swift and Damian Shannon to pen the script, with a long-term goal of relaunching a possible franchise.