SPECIAL REPORT FROM FEDCON XXII
By Arkadiusz Grzegorzak (aka Arek G.)
All “Starship Troopers” fans knew that this year Fedcon Convention (FedCon XXII, 9-12 May 2013, Dusseldorf, Germany) would be big on “Starship Troopers” thanks to the three wonderful guests: Dina Meyer, Casper Van Dien and Patrick Muldoon. Well… it was… SUPER BIG! All of the fans' expectations were exceeded. “Starship Troopers” stuff on FedCon was… OUTSTANDING.
First of all there was the very special screening of the film on Thursday’s night (on 3 big screens at the same time!!!). It was supposed to be a screening with live commentary from the cast but it turned out to be something so much more: the magical (and at the same time crazy!!!) experience shared with the cast and 2000 + fans gathered in the main ballroom of the prestigious Dusseldorf Maritim Hotel. Dina, Casper and Patrick were all in high spirits: they not only made some very interesting comments (did you know that the scene in which Dizzy kisses the watertank’s wall where in Johnny is recovering was improvised by Dina? How cool!) but also re-acted some of the scenes on the stage...like Johnny and Zander’s fight (and Dizzy trying to stop the fight!) .
It really was like the movie characters came from the screen right in front of you. The SCI-FI version of “The Purple Rose of Cairo”. The fans were very active too: cheering for the heroes, clapping their hands, and shouting. Whenever Jonny and Carmen Ibanez appeared on the screen the audience shouted “Wrong girl!!!”
It was so much fun! The beauty of it was it wasn’t staged but improvised on the fly and even the actors didn’t know what’s next (I met Dina briefly just before the screening and I’m sure she wasn’t expecting she’d be re-acting Dizzy’s scenes on stage…and she re-did those scenes very cool). In the middle of the film the writer of "Starship Troopers" Ed Neumeier appeared on the screen via LIVE link from Los Angeles. He greeted the fans, chatted a bit with the cast and “gave” Johnny a nuke missile which “could come handy later in the movie”. The borders between the fiction and reality melted. How cool! Later during the screening John Barrowman and Eve Myles (both of “Torchwood” fame) came to the stage and added some craziness to the whole experience. After the showing there was Q&A and everyone had such a good time that the screening ended far past the scheduled 0.00 AM.
„We all won’t be the same after this screening” – Patrick Muldoon said half jokingly. I agree, I spoke with many fans after the screening and all who were there on Thursday’s night said it was unforgettable. One more thing about Patrick - on Friday’s night fans who went to see the concert of Garage Brothers (the group led by John G. Hertzler&Robert O’Reilly of “Star Trek” fame) were treated with a surprise appearance by Mr Muldoon. His version of the classic „The Great Balls of Fire” was so cool, that all the audience got on their feet and danced to it. The man has a really good voice and stage charisma. I even saw a Starship Troopers fangirl dancing in (an almost)full Mobile Infantry outfit to “The Great Balls of Fire”. I don't know if it’s good or bad, but it will stick in my memory forever.
Speaking about the fans there was a pretty big regiment of Troopers. These guys have all the original costumes and their appearances during the convention were very spectacular. You could meet them, chat and take a photo with them. I don’t really know anyone of them but I have to salute to them. Outstanding, troopers! Thanks to their effort attendees of the Con could see the exhibition of costumes from the movie. There were some true rarities.
The Sunday was the convention’s last day. There was a one hour Q&A with Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer and Patrick Muldoon. These guys know how to entertain! They told some cool stories but also played and did some funny in-character stuff (telling the audience why they joined Mobile Infantry). Dina told the story about the shower scene in such a funny way...that I forgot about taking the pictures! "The Starship Troopers gang” made Q&A in to a big laughing section/party with fans. I have been to many conventions before but this panel was the best one I have ever seen.
All in all it was GREAT experience. FedCon really is a superb convention. I’m glad I had a chance to connect Dirk (the FedCon’s Brain Bug ;-) with Casper’s people, sometime ago. It’s nice to see when the organizers know how to use the potential of the convention’s guests. And it’s even nicer when the guests – the big stars and entertainers like Casper, Dina and Patrick are at the same time friendly, cool, down to Earth people.
See you all next time.