Starship Troopers star Patrick Muldoon says filming ‘Troopers’ was like being in high school

While at the Spooky Empire convention in Orlando, Florida Sci Fi Pulse’s Tye Bourdony got a chance to ask Patrick Muldoon of Strarship Trooper fame a few genre related questions about the iconic film and his role in it.

As Zander Barcalow in the 1997 Sci Fi hit Starship Troopers based off of Robert A. Heinlein’s 1959 novel of the same name, Patrick Muldoon plays Johnny Rico’s (Casper Van Dien) non-alien rival with respect to the affections of Lt. Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards).

Interestingly Patrick indicated that the Spooky Empire convention was his first convention appearance, which I thought a fun fact and I am sure his Sci Fi fans hope to see him at other more genre specific conventions as well in the future. One of the first questions asked of Mr. Muldoon was by a fan standing next to me, which I thought a rather fun question, “How did they manage to make it look so real when the bug sucked out your brains in Starship Troopers?”

With a bit of a smile Patrick answered, “They made a mask right? So then they” gesturing with a closed fist to his head, “they went like this to my own head and they brought in the plastic head, and I sat in plastic for a while.” as he makes an exaggerated expression. “And then they impaled the mask and sucked the brains out. And that’s how they did it!” The young fan gushed a bit, said thank you and indicated how nice it was to meet him before running off with a huge smile on her face.

I then jumped in and asked what Patrick was working on now, to which he gestured to a poster on his table saying, “That.” The poster read, ‘Spiders 3D. The City is Crawling.’ I then asked what sticks out most in his mind about Starship Troopers. “You know, I think it was all of our first movies, at least first big movies, I think Dina (Dina Myer who played ‘Dizzy Flores’) had done some things, but we were all so nervous because we had a 100 million dollar movie we were now doing you know!?”

Patrick then continues with an interesting twist, “And kind of what was going on on-screen was also going on off-screen.” He says this with a revealing smile and twinkle in his eye before continuing, “Everybody was like . . . because we shot together for six months,” to which I say in an innuendo sort of way, “Yeeaah . . . !? You mean there was a love triangle going on?”

“Well it wasn’t that, it was more like competition. They separated me from Casper and Jake on purpose. Denise and I had known each other for about ten years and so it was kind of like going to high school.” To which I laugh and ask, “Well, was that to keep the dynamic going?”

“Well, the military advisor, Captain Dale Dye (Colonel Porter on Falling Skies and many other well-known projects) kept us separated on purpose to create that.” To which I interject, “Oh that’s really interesting.”

“We all became really good friends afterwards.” Says Patrick, with an emphasis on ‘afterwards’. To which we both laugh. “But we had a lot of competition during the filming.”

“I love that.” I say, “That’s really fun!”

“Yeah” continues Patrick smiling, “And now we’re all kind of best buddies. Casper and Jake. . .”

As I interrupt again, “Yes, I met Casper  a year or so ago and he’s a really great guy!”

“Yeah” continued Patrick, “Nice guy! And Dina and I are friends and I talked to Denise today. So everyone is still real close.”

With that I thanked Patrick Muldoon for his time, getting what I thought was a fun inside look at the making of Starship Troopers from one of the film’s stars. Mr. Muldoon was a very nice guy, who was down to Earth and a real pleasure to talk to!

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Tye Bourdony is a Sci Fi cartoonist and creator of ‘The Lighter Side of Sci-Fi’, a mediator and science fiction reporter. He is also a graduate of the Barry University School of Law, SUNY Purchase and H.S. of Music & Art. Tye currently works in Florida’s 9th Circuit as the staff Divorce Mediator and has a regular self-published column in Sci Fi Magazine.  You can visit tye on facebook and

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