October 9, 2015 Interview – Casper Van Dien
Sci-Fi fans far and wide recognize actor Casper Van Dien from his role as Johnny Rico in 1997’s Starship Troopers, although his acclaim does not stop there. His career in the storytelling business began a quarter of a century ago and, since then, this humble family man has had a role on daytime soap opera One Life to Live, played rebel without a cause James Dean in the TV movie James Dean: Race with Destiny (1997), was a nemesis to Johnny Depp in Sleep Hollow (1999), performed as the out of work actor Johnny Cage in the Mortal Kombat web series and himself in the reality TV series I Married A Princess. In his most recent movie, June, Van Dien plays the adoptive father of a nine-year-old-girl who comes with a bit more than the average foster care baggage. Recently, Van Dien took time out of his busy schedule to sit and talk with CrypticRock about his family, his love for music and his film June, released October 6, 2015.
CrypticRock.com – Do you think that your childhood, growing up in a military family, helped you in your career as an actor?
Casper Van Dien – Yes, definitely. I think a structured environment like that encourages you and gives you the freedom to be more flexible in your life and to do things. I think if you’re more chaotic, then you do not get as much done. But if you are more disciplined, then you seem to get more done. At least, it feels like that for me. The more I am organized, the more freedom I have to do the things that I like to do. It afforded me the ability to be a more responsible man.
CrypticRock.com – That makes a lot of sense. You have been in many different projects since you began your career, from soap operas to movies to TV shows to web series to reality television. What would you say is your favorite medium to work in?
Casper Van Dien – I love being an actor in this day and age because there are so many different mediums that we can do, from the Internet to these online things to movies to TV shows to whatever seems to be happening. It is really a magical time to be in this industry because there are so many opportunities becoming available. Things that people are not even aware of yet! Like video games, which I hope to get into one of these days. That would be something that I am really looking forward to. It’s huge! But I haven’t broken into that yet. That’s one of my plans. One of my master plans! (laughs evilly) I’m looking forward to it. I love all of it so far.
CrypticRock.com – That is great to hear. You recently starred in the film June which was released on DVD October 6th. You play a father in June, and you in fact have your own children. Were you able to pull from your everyday life to incorporate into your role as June’s father?
Casper Van Dien – I have five children. I have four daughters and one son. And reading this script, I went, “Wow, this is interesting,” because this is a man who loves his wife more than anything. And he wants to give her whatever she wants. And he wants to be there for her, he wants to really be present. He is a good man and he’s a good husband. They can’t have a child, so they go to adopt. They go to do this and they make everything work.
It is really trying and difficult and there are some troubles that come up. But like they do in all life, with being a parent – a biological parent – of your children, or even a step-parent. And then there are some more things that become sort of surreal. But he keeps trying to make this family work. He keeps struggling to do it. But no matter how hard he tries or what he tries to do to make it work, it ends up going the opposite way. Which happens in life, too. Plans never seem to work out the way we think they are going to. This is the struggle. He goes through it and he still tries to deal with it in a compassionate, loving way. But he’s still observant and trying and struggling, and I liked that. I thought that there was a lot that I could do with this character. He wasn’t a one dimensional character. It was not like, “Oh, she is bad and he’s good.” He really does try. I liked it and I thought that was interesting and I wanted to play off of that.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds very interesting. Was it weird having a daughter similar in age to your character’s daughter?
Casper Van Dien – Well, I liked that. I was definitely able to pull some stuff from that because, even if you have the sweetest children in the world – which I do – there are still struggles that go on with your children. There are moments when you actually feel like asking, “Are you possessed?!?”
CrypticRock.com – (laughs) Totally understandable. Anyone who has kids can certainly relate to that.
Casper Van Dien – Now, I have the sweetest children – they may not be exactly like June, but sometimes it feels like they are even worse. (laughs)
CrypticRock.com – Right, and you begin to think, where did that come from?
Casper Van Dien – Exactly! And that is just a parenting thing. You know, all of a sudden, you are just like, “Woah! These teenage girls! What happened?” (still laughing) And then I think, “My parents were saints.” But yeah, I do. I do get it. It was a lot to pull from and I do not think I would be a proper actor if I did not pull from my family and the issues that I have with my own children, so I did use that. It is not necessarily the same thing, but there are moments when it does feel even worse than a Horror movie when you’re with your family sometimes. You think, “I cannot believe this!”
CrypticRock.com – Very true, and you cannot call, “Cut!” in real life.
Casper Van Dien – No! (laughs) No, you can’t say, “Cut!” Or “Can we do that in a second take? I was just kidding!” No, it doesn’t work that way.
CrypticRock.com – June was actually filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. What was it like down there for you?
Casper Van Dien – I love Baton Rouge! Amazing food, amazing people. Everyone is so polite down there! And it was… well, it was warm.
CrypticRock.com – Sounds like an exciting experience, minus the heat (laughs). You recently won an award for other work you have done, yes?
Casper Van Dien – I just did a film in Florida with Victoria Pratt where I was directing her in a film called Patient Killer (released January 2, 2015 through Concord Films) and I actually won Best Picture for it at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. Then Lifetime bought it and then I just won Best Director at the San Francisco Best Actor Film Festival just this past Saturday.
CrypticRock.com – Congratulations, that is really a very nice honor to attain.
Casper Van Dien – Thank you, thank you! I could not have done it without Victoria. She is one of the most amazingly talented actresses. She was on set when we were filming and then one day, she was talking to this guy, Gustavo Cooper, who was the director of June and their lead actor had fallen out, so she was telling him that she worked with me, and he goes, “Ask him! Ask him! Ask him if he’ll do the movie!” And instead of asking me, she just handed me the phone and he talked to me about it. And then he sent me the script and I ended up doing it. And it was a lot of fun.
CrypticRock.com – Excellent! At CrypticRock.com we cover both music and Horror films. Tell us, what is your favorite music and do you use music to get ready for your roles?
Casper Van Dien – It depends on the role. Every character and every role is different. For Mortal Kombat, when I played Johnny Cage, my son would get in the car with me and we would listen to the Mortal Kombat theme song over and over again every time before we would go to the set. It was just so funny, but we would. I love Van Halen, I love Pearl Jam, I love Cowboy Junkies… I have daughters, so I am listening to all of the new songs by, like, Ed Sheeran and all of these guys that my daughters love. So I have my Daughter Channel, and I have my Rock-n-Roll Channel that I listen to when I’m not out with all of them.
I love Elvis, I listen to him. I love Bruce Springstein, so I have his channel. I played in a Jazz Blues band for a few years, I played the trumpet. I love Classical music. I love Country music. I love Garth Brooks. I have a real eclectic taste. I think I have awesome taste in music. My kids have awesome taste in music. I love their music that they listen to, too. I love Techno. I love rave music, even though I don’t go to raves because I’m too old for that. I used to go to mosh pits and stuff like that. I used to go to Ozzy Ozborne concerts, U2 concerts. I love U2! I like Jimmy Buffet. I went to Jimmy Buffet concerts. (sighs) Yeah, I’m all over the place.
CrypticRock.com – Sounds like you are really into a broad range of music which is great to hear.
Casper Van Dien – Oh, I love music. Music soothes the savage beast. It controls you, it drives you, it makes you live with passion, you make love to it, you sing to it, you dance to it. I don’t know if I can even sing – I probably cannot. I probably should not. But I do all the time because of music and what it does to me. It inspires me, so yeah. I am driven. It changes the vibration of my body and soul and makes me want to just live life even fuller than I already do. I think that every day, you should read a little poetry, read some positive quotes and positive readings and you should do a little meditation. Say your prayers, if you believe in them. And listen to some good music and sing along to it. And I think that if people did more of that in life, I think that that would change our lives and we would all get along a lot better because it does make you feel better and think better. It’s something I do. It’s something I do every day. I have to. I am completely insane unless I do that. I mean, I am literally, completely insane unless I do that stuff.
I am not being the best father, or best friend, or best ex-husband, or best whatever I can be if I do not do those things. If I do not read something positive every day and listen to some positive music, read a little bit of poetry and really, really meditate on it, and say my prayers or whatever, I am a mean son of a bitch with a soul like Lucifer. (laughs) I’m bad! If I do the prayers and everything, I am a much better person that people get along with much better in life. So, I think I have to do it.
CrypticRock.com – Music is certainly a very positive, uplifting aspect of life. Our last question is in fact pertaining to Horror films. If you are a fan of the genre what are some of your favorite Horror films?
Casper Van Dien – Well, I am a fan of all films. But I am especially a fan of Horror movies. I used to sneak out when I was a little kid because I was not allowed to, so I would watch a lot of the old Hammer films. I also love The Shining (1980). That is one of my favorite films. And The Exorcist (1973) is one of the most terrifying films I’ve ever seen. I am a huge fan of Horror films. And I love being a part of them. But I do love all films. I mean, I love Musicals. I love violent films. I love Science Fiction films. I love Dramas and I love Comedies. I’m a film fanatic. I love them. I watch old, classic movies and new movies and I cannot get enough. I could watch three movies in a row. I just love it.