Interview: Casper Van Dien On Fame, Fighting, And Being Johnny Cage In ‘Mortal Kombat: Legacy’ Season 2

The launch of “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” Season two kicks off our coverage of new fights (and fighters) for the Machinima web series. Check out the first episode below. Later today, we’ll bring you interviews with some of the stars and creators who’ve brought the battle for Earthrealm to your PC.

LIVE – Interview: Mark Dacascos (Kung Lao)
4:30 EST – Interview: Director Kevin Tancharoen

“I get to be Johnny Cage!” That’s actor Casper Van Dien musing on his luck at this stage in his career. The actor was thrilled to find the online response to his role (one fan tweeted “F—ing Johnny Rico is f—ing Johnny Cage” when the cast was first announced last year). Van Dien joins the cast of the second season of “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” as the down-on-his-luck actor, and recently, we spoke about the ups and downs of an action career, the fate of perhaps his most famous character, Johnny Rico, and making “Mortal Kombat” a family affair.

“I heard that the director was interested in me for this role and I met him,” Van Dien says, “and you want me to play Johnny Cage, B-list actor, has a hard time getting a job” he more accurately asserts rather than asks director Kevin Tancharoen as the character joins the second season of the web series “Mortal Kombat: Legacy.” With a straight face, he continues, “What are you trying to say?”

This little bit of gentle joking was the beginning and the end of the interview process for Casper Van Dien, the 44-year-old action star who got his big break as Johnny Rico in the sci-fi satire “Starship Troopers” after years of TV appearances in sitcoms and genre fare. Since then, the actor has become a staple in direct-to-video and indie action movies, and Johnny Cage feels like the version of the actor you would expect: bitter, rough around the edges, with little time for fans (much less an inter-dimensional martial arts tournament). Instead, Van Dien has taken this current phase of his career with a healthy dose of good humor.

“I think my career speaks for itself,” he laughs. “I loved the opportunity to play this character.” A few minutes into our interview, he gets a little more serious: “There’s a side to him–like everyone–where he wants to feel needed and to have a purpose, and for me, there’s something relatable in a lot of ways.” Van Dien says that like Cage, it’s important that he not be seen in just one light and his career post-“Starship Troopers” reflects that need to branch out. He’s had regular TV gigs, comic and family roles, and, of course, a healthy collection of action credits (as well as a few producing gigs).

“A lot of actors go through that because of the ups and downs, the waves of this business, and for me, I’ve had those moments in my life and my career.” Unlike Cage, Van Dien says he has a family–a wife and children–to lean on during the rocky times, but he feels a kinship with the troubled actor. Currently, Van Dien says he’s in the best shape of his life (can he do Cage’s splits–he’s still training so that he can), but the actor says that he’s kept himself fit and gotten back down to his “Tarzan and the Lost City” fighting weight–a contrast to the despondent and worn-out Cage.

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