“That was all me,” said Dina Meyer in response to her first question during her panel at MCM Birmingham Comic Con, asking whether she used a body double in the film Starship Troopers.
As well as Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi blockbuster, actress Dina Meyer has also starred in the Saw franchise, DragonHeart, Star Trek: Nemesis and TV series such as Miss Match, Birds of Prey and Beverly Hills, 90210. “That was my big break,” said Meyer of Beverly Hills, 90210. “Fortunately I’ve just been able to consistently work since then, whether it’s on independent films, or blockbusters, or a guest appearance on one of your favourite TV shows.”
Meyer was asked what it was like making a guest appearance on the rebooted show 90210, playing an entirely different character, the modelling agent Shelia. “With the exception of it still being beautiful high school kids with problems, it was a different show altogether,” she said. “It felt like a different show for me.”
When talking about her involvement on Starship Troopers, she was asked what her reaction was upon reading the script. “Originally my agent had set up the appointment for me to read for Denise Richards part – Carmen,” said Meyer. “When I read the script I gravitated more towards Dizzy [Flores].” She met with director Paul Verhoeven and asked if she could play the part of Dizzy instead of Carmen. “I think Dizzy’s the cool character and I would just have more fun playing her.” She then auditioned for Dizzy; one of the audition scenes being the football scene opposite co-star Casper Van Dien. “What I had done at the end of that, rather than just stop… I tackled Paul. I just dodged him, showed him that I had what it takes to be citizen of the federation. Ooh-rah… come on guys, give me an ooh-rah!” It was somewhat delayed, but the audience did eventually give Meyer an ‘Ooh-rah’.
Meyer revealed that she is often asked deep questions about Starship Troopers, but that she just sees it as a war movie. “Dizzy was a bad ass character and I got to play with weapons, run around and act tough with the guys. That was really all that was going through my head when I first got involved with it, and it was so much fun to make.”
She was then questioned about how she ended up being knocked unconscious during the film, which happened when filming the scene where she and Rico are having to pull Rasczak (played by Michael Ironside) up from a pit. “Since we were in this vermiculite pit, I wasn’t stable. We lifted him up and I snapped my head on the ground and… good night! We had to shut down production for the rest of the day.”
A question from the audience asked Meyer if she was able to keep any props from Starship Troopers. “You can’t really sneak off with a Beretta rifle,” she replied. “They did however let us keep the sweat suit that we trained in for two weeks. They let us spray paint the Mobile Infantry logo on the chest. I have that.” She added that she had come across better looking props and costumes from fans at conventions.
An attendee from the audience wanted to know if she had any fond memories from working on the film Johnny Mnemonic. “When I was a young girl in high school I had a huge crush on Keanu Reeves,” she said. “I was flown up to Toronto where they were already filming and I got to audition with Keanu. It was a very surreal experience for me to get to work with him. Then to find out that Henry Rollins was going to be in it and Dolph Lundgren… I was completely starstruck.” She called it her first big movie after coming off Beverly Hills, 90210.
Meyer was questioned about the 2002 DC series Birds of Prey. It only lasted for a single season and focused on Helena Kyle/The Huntress (Ashley Scott) and Meyer’s character Barbara Gordon/Oracle, the former Batgirl. She was asked if it felt like the show was ahead of its time. Meyer agreed. “I think today it would do really, really well. Unfortunately we were about ten years too early.” When asked about portraying two different aspects for her character in the series, Meyer said, “I embrace a character as a whole, I don’t really think about the different layers. I’m not playing Barbara Gordon the way I would play her. There’s a script, stage direction and a director and a whole bunch of variables that go into the performance. I try to really give a three dimensional version of what I think the character is.”
The topic then moved to the Saw movies, with Meyer being asked at which point she realised just how huge the franchise was. “I had no idea how big it was going to be until after I saw the cut of the first film.” Her involvement came about after her manager showed her the original 15 minute short, which she described as “so freaking disturbing,” after which she immediately wanted to sign up and be a part of the film. Playing Detective Kerry, she had just one day of work, mostly acting alongside Danny Glover. She returned to play the character in parts II and III. “I was kind of shocked to see Kerry die when she did in [part III]. I just figured, ‘Wow, she lived through II, she’s going somewhere. She’s alive, she’s well, she’s strong… she’s going to make it!’ Then you get to part III and I think what [director] Darren Lynn Bousman wanted to do was shock everybody.”
When asked if there were scripts she turned down, only for the film to be a success, she replied that there were some which her agent may have talked her out of. “There are certain things you just don’t know,” she said. “You don’t know if something’s going to be a huge hit or if it’s going to be a flop. You just go in, hope that you’re going to learn something, enjoy the experience, work with some big talented people. As long as it’s a positive experience then it’s great. Quite frankly, I go to work, I do my job, and when we wrap I don’t think about it anymore. I’m done and I’m on to the next. Whether it’s auditioning for the next role or just thinking about what’s on the horizon.” Meyer added, “I get to play dress up for a living. That’s what I do and I have a great time. If I can entertain you guys and inspire some, then I did a good job.”
Following on from this, and being at MCM, Meyer said, “I wish I could dress up, like cosplay a character and come here. Can I do that? Would that be weird?” She also suggested being in cosplay herself during a photoshoot. “It would be weird,” she said. “I want to be a Japanese anime character and I want to get those cool contacts that make your eyes look… cool. Just be somebody with like pink hair and ponytails and just really cute. That’s what I would want to be.”