Falling in line next to Total Recall and RoboCop, two weeks ago we brought you the news that Sony and producer Neal H. Moritz were in the process of rebooting Paul Verhoeven’s 1997 cult classic Starship Troopers, electing Baywatch screenwriters Mark Swift and Damian Shannon to hash out a screenplay.
Not one to shy away from a contentious issue, Verhoeven touched based on those plans during a recent Q&A session – as relayed by IndieWire – where the Dutch filmmaker claimed the reason that both the Total Recall and RoboCop reboots came up short was because “the studios always wanted not to have a layer of lightness, a layer of irony, sarcasm, satire.”
When it comes to the Starship Troopers redo, the prestigious director was more specific, noting that Sony’s decision to circle back to Robert A. Heinlein’s original novel “would fit very much in a Trump presidency” for its fascist themes.
“It said in the article [that] the production team of that movie of the remake, that they would go back more and more towards the novel. And of course, we really, really tried to get away from the novel, because we felt that the novel was fascistic and militaristic. You feel that going back to the novel would fit very much in a Trump Presidency.”
Strong words from Verhoeven, but it’s difficult to argue against the director’s viewpoint. Though it was originally panned two decades ago, Starship Troopers was loaded with satire, campy performances and propaganda that evoked comparisons to neo-Nazism. As Verhoeven told the audience, the 1997 original was designed to “show that these people are really, in their heart, without knowing it, are on their way to fascism.” One can only hope that Sony’s reboot boasts a similar level of nuance, rather than a half-baked redo that prides itself on a dark, gritty tone that we’ve already seen a thousand times over.