Storyboard Courtesy Tristar Pictures
Excerpts from the book, "A Century of Film in Wyoming."
To get a copy of this book with the enormous amount of information in it about this film, click on this LINK.
STARSHIP TROOPERS, 1997, Sony Tri-Star, Disney, Big Bug Pictures, Rated R
In the beginning: Originally, the project was screenwriter Ed Neumeier's idea based on Heinlein's novel, who brought it to Jon Davison in a Burbank Studios parking lot which at the time he called, "Bug Hunt." Development began about 4 years prior to shooting.
Location, location, location: Hell's Half Acre(HHA), the primary film site for the planet Klendathu, is 40 miles NW of Casper off U.S. 20/26. It is a very fragile and erosive landscape(soft bentonitic sandstone which when wet, has the viscosity of glue) and which many people felt would be severely damaged by the intrusion of such a large film company. Big Bug needed to construct a very steep access road(ultimately named "Verhoeven Expressway") to the bottom of the landform. It was curvy but was straightened out with a 12% grade.
Capt Dale Dye: A former Marine officer, originally was to be the character Sgt. Zim, and conduct a boot camp for all the extras hired to be Troopers in the film. Dye ran it just west of the HHA location. He was proud of his Wyoming extras, but the California people weren't too successful, although he remembers Casper Van Dien quite favorably. The altitude was nearly 6,000 ft.; weather was difficult, with snow, rain, and temps in the 30s. Dye read Heinlein's book as a kid and always wanted to see it made into a movie although Neumeier believed Dye hated his script. Dye is President of "Warriors, Inc." and was hired to consult on military matters(as he later did with Saving Private Ryan and others). Dye, also formerly a Master Sgt in the Marine Corps, was in Vietnam, Lebanon and received several Purple Hearts. His onscreen time was limited to less than 30 sec. near the end of the film as a Colonel visiting the site of the captured queen bug, notable with his tall stature, lean build and white hair. "They wouldn't let me anywhere near a large role in a film like that, because they were beginning to understand exactly how I felt about it." Dye did engage one breach of protocol. He would show up in town with his Trooper uniform on, although it was verboten to leave the set with a uniform due to the company's desire to keep most matters of the film secret.
Bugs: Troopers check in to Bugworld, but they don't check out! The 75 foot tall "bugs" were created by Phil Tippett who was also responsible for the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. His crew created 6 maquette characters for his crew to make computer graphic models. Weapons were similar to Morita Bullpup Style rifles(actually a Ruger Mini-14 with special outer casing) with 12 gauge(Ithaca Stakeouts) underslung shotguns.(The scene of the bug attack from the Outpost ramparts was shot 8+ times, mostly due to the automatic rifles jamming.) Other weapons included rubber machine guns, twin .50 cal machine guns, and nuke launchers with a total of 300,000 rounds of fired blank ammunition. Weapons master Rock Galotti once got pulled over by the Wyoming Highway Patrol doing 80mph on the way to the set. The trooper saw Galotti's weapons in the back seat and it took a while to verify his position in the film.
Back in town: Ed Neumeier was having a fight with his wife on the phone, lit up a cigar, and set off the hotel's fire alarm. Everyone evacuated to the lobby in their bathrobes and Neumeier admitted responsibility to the fire department who weren't too pleased. Even so, a big party followed.