1. The movie started life as a script called Bug Hunt at Outpost Nine. When similarities, especially the "bugs," were pointed out between this and a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein called Starship Troopers, plans were made to license the rights to the book and tweak character names and circumstances to match.
2. Director Paul Verhoeven had never read the book. He attempted to read it for the film, but it made him "bored and depressed", so he read only a few chapters:
"I stopped after two chapters because it was so boring,...It is really quite a bad book. I asked Ed Neumeier [who wrote the screenplay] to tell me the story because I just couldn't read the thing."
3. Because the movie originated from an unrelated script, with names and superficial details from the novel being added retroactively, there are many differences between the original book and the film. While the original novel has been accused of promoting militarism, fascism and military rule, the film satirises these concepts by featuring grandiose displays of nationalism as well as news reports that are intensely fascist, xenophobic, and propagandistic.
Initially there was a lot of resistance from Sony Pictures towards the film, many executives felt $105 million was far too much to spend on a sci-fi satire picture. But the turbulent conditions at Sony Pictures during the mid 90s worked to Verhoeven's advantage. Executives were frequently shuffled and replaced as the company attempted to find its footing, this, according to Verhoeven, prevented the studio from taking a more critical look at the production.
"All the satire was in the script from the beginning, but they might not have been really aware of it, or had read it precisely, by the time one of them might have understood what movie I was going to make, he was already gone."
4. Verhoeven stated in 1997 that the first scene of the film - an advertisement for the mobile infantry - was adapted shot-for-shot from a scene in Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will (1935), specifically an outdoor rally for the Reichsarbeitsdienst.
5. Other references to Nazism in the movie include the Gestapo-like uniforms of commanding officers, Albert Speer-style architecture and the propagandistic dialogue ("Violence is the supreme authority!").
6. Michael Ironside, who plays Lt. Jean Rasczak in the film, revealed he read Heinlein's original 1959 novel as a youth and had asked Verhoeven, who grew up in Nazi-occupied Netherlands, "Why are you doing a right-wing fascist movie?" Verhoeven replied,
"If I tell the world that a right-wing, fascist way of doing things doesn't work, no one will listen to me. So I'm going to make a perfect fascist world: everyone is beautiful, everything is shiny, everything has big guns and fancy ships, but it's only good for killing fucking bugs!"
7. Mark Wahlberg and James Marsden both turned down the role of Johnny Rico, before Casper Van Dien was considered.
8. The design of the bugs are slightly edited revisions of an unused Shrieker design from "Tremors 2: Aftershocks". Both films special effects were supplied by Phil Tippett, who had been working on them concurrently.
9. To give the actors a point of reference, the computer-generated bugs were simulated on set in a variety of ways including upside down brooms and poles with alien-style ears attached to them. Verhoeven himself even posed as a bug for some scenes. As Clancy Brown, who played Sgt. Zim, remembers, Verhoeven would be
"jumping up and down with a bullhorn going, 'I'm a big f**ing bug! I'll kill you!'"10. The co-ed shower scene required the cast to all be naked. They made a pact to agree to all do it only if Verhoeven and cinematographer Jost Vacano also agreed to direct the scene naked. Which the did! As Verhoeven explained,
"My cinematographer was born in a nudist colony and I have no problem with taking my clothes off."Follow Geek Dave on Twitter