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The Starship Troopers Nude Shower Scene Rumor You Heard Is Actually True

Paul Verhoeven is known for his extreme violence and the regularity of sexual content in his films, and "Starship Troopers" is no exception. The science fiction adaptation of the novel by Robert A. Heinlein took a beating from critics during its initial release, but has since been reappraised as a satire ahead of its time.

On the subject of the film's sexuality, however, "Starship Troopers" contains a provocative scene of co-ed showering that challenged the director himself in a very unique way. Though star Dina Meyer was well aware of Verhoeven's reputation for sexual scenes, she asked both the director himself and cinematographer Jost Vacano to bare it all as well.

To their credit, Verhoeven and Vacano accepted the challenge. Surprisingly, both agreed to the terms, and they ended up shooting the co-ed shower scene while they themselves were nude. "One cast member said they would only get naked if we did," Verhoeven recalled in an interview with Empire. "Well, my cinematographer was born in a nudist colony, and I have no problem with taking my clothes off, so we did."

What was the point of the co-ed shower scene?

"Starship Trooper" director Paul Verhoeven went on to explain his fascination with how differently nudity and violence are received in American cinema. As many artists have noted, it's much easier to get audiences on board with extreme and graphic violence than it is to make them comfortable with accepting the human body.

"It is strange, but of course, Americans get more upset about nudity than ultra-violence," the director mused. "I am constantly amazed about that. I mean, I haven't seen any sex scenes in American film that are anything other than completely boring. A bare breast is more difficult to get through the censors than a body riddled with bullets," Verhoeven concluded.

As for what this particular "Starship Troopers" scene was meant to represent, it was yet another critique of the overtly fascistic nature of the original story. Verhoeven was very critical of the book that his film is based on and wanted to skewer some of its right-wing messaging and propaganda throughout the adaptation.

"The idea I wanted to express was that these so-called advanced people are without libido," the filmmaker explained. "Here they are talking about war and their careers and not looking at each other at all! It is sublimated because they are fascists." It's likely safe to assume that in a modern world where fascism is on the rise, many more viewers will recognize his point today than they did over 25 years ago when the film was first released.