Interview: Casper Van Dien Talks Noobz, Written by: Karen Benardello
Playing yourself in a film can be difficult process for an actor, as they have to figure out how to realistically translate their personality into a fictional story created by another person. But Casper Van Dien easily made the transition for the new comedy 'Noobz,' which is set to be released in theaters on January 25, and on VOD and DVD on January 29. While the 'Starship Troopers' actor didn't have a large knowledge about gaming culture before he signed on to portray himself in the movie, which is the first comedy to capture gamer culture from the inside, his comfort with his co-stars and the gamers on the set helped make his role memorable.
'Noobz,' which was written and directed by Blake Freeman, follows four friends as they decide to hit the road to compete in the Cyberbowl Video Game Championship in Los Angeles. The idea for the trip comes after Cody (played by Freeman) loses his job and his wife leaves him because he can't stop gaming. His friend, game store clerk Andy (portrayed by Jason Mewes), convinces him to get their Reign Clan together, including the sexually confused Oliver (played Matt Shively) and asthmatic teen "Hollywood" (portrayed by Moises Arias). The team becomes determined to win the prize money and meet Andy's online gamer-girl crush Rickie (played by Zelda Williams).Nothing, not even a Mom armed with mace, Greg Lipstein (portrayed by Jon Gries), an arcade game champion stuck in the '80s or even Casper Van Dien will stop the unlikely team from trying to win the competition.
Van Dien generously took the time to speak about 'Noobz' over the phone recently. Among other things, the actor discussed how he became involved with the film; how he admires Freeman's commitment to directing, writing and staring in 'Noobz;' and how he would like to follow in the filmmaker's footsteps and eventually direct his own movie.
Question (Q): You appear as yourself in the new gaming comedy 'Noobz.' What was it about the script that convinced you to take on the role? How closely does the role reflect your true personality?
Casper Van Dien (CVD): Well, I was really nervous about playing myself. So I went to my acting coach, to see if we could really get it together. They decided to keep what I did, and didn't recast the role with someone else to play me. So I guess I was pretty close.
Q: Since you portray yourself in the film, how did you become involved with 'Noobz?' Did the film's director, Blake Freeman, approach you with the idea that you would play yourself, and did you have to audition at all?
CVD: That would have been fantastic if I had to audition for myself. I know the director; I met him for something else. It was interesting for me to see the way he sees me. Then I did another film with him. Blake said, "I don't want you to act. Just be yourself, Casper." He kept telling me to be myself, so he must have really liked me.
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