Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Terrifying Injury Casper Van Dien That Sustained Making Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers was always intended to be a difficult movie. After all, it's the film that famously delivered Neil Patrick Harris in Nazi regalia. Director Paul Verhoeven's $100 million sci-fi blockbuster is both a satire of fascist propaganda and a giant bug shoot 'em up, and the result alienated critics as well as fans of the original novel. The polarizing film found enough of an audience, however, to produce two sequels and animated spinoffs, though Verhoeven didn't return to help make them.

The production itself — mostly located in a Wyoming county park literally named Hell's Half Acre — was, by all accounts, not a walk in the park for the cast and crew. Actor Jake Busey suffered heat stroke from regularly shooting battle scenes in 120 degree weather, and the film shut down for an entire week as a result (per Esquire). According to American Cinematographer, the extreme weather conditions of the park, including constant rainfall, meant that the shoot was rewarding but not without serious challenges. Lead actor Casper Van Dien, starring as Johnny Rico, may have suffered the scariest injury while on set.

Would you like to know more about Casper Van Dien's injury?

Casper Van Dien was already used to doing physical work and stunts for the film, including a long fistfight scene and one in which his character was subjected to a public lashing. But when Van Dien had to finish a stunt in which Rico had to jump off a tanker bug, the actor ended up cracking several ribs in the process (via Screen Rant). Van Dien apparently said that he coughed up blood after the stunt went awry. It's not as bad as the injuries several characters suffer in the film while fighting the alien bugs, but still not fun either. Plus, y'know, it was real.

Van Dien clearly didn't have any hard feelings over the mishap, and returned to the Starship Troopers franchise, reprising his role for its third installment, 2008's Starship Troopers 3: Marauders. That, of course, wouldn't have been possible if one of the other famous actors who auditioned for the role of Johnny Rico had landed the part.