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The Acting Bug

“Starship Troopers” vixen Dina Meyer

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Ethan Hawke
Doane Gregory

“Starship Troopers” vixen Dina Meyer has acted opposite plenty of inanimate objects, including the fire-breathing foe of “Dragonheart” and the giant insects of “Starship.” So she knows the embarrassment of emoting in the face of special f/x that are added after she leaves the set. During rehearsal for “Troopers,” for example, Meyer — who plays the tough-as-nails soldier Dizzy Flores — spoke her lines to a tennis ball on a stick. Once the cameras started rolling, the tennis ball had to be taken away. “You’re having a conversation opposite nothing, talking into the air,” she says. “It all sounds very funny, but you feel like a big idiot.”

Now Meyer may be leaving the monstrous co-stars behind her. She’s playing a billionaire’s daughter who is married to Philip Marlowe in the HBO movie “Poodle Springs.” The film, directed by Bob Rafelson (“Five Easy Pieces”), co-stars James Caan. “It’s a nice change not to have to kill any bugs or slay any dragons,” says Meyer. “It’s a great girlie role. I get to worry about my clothes.”

Is it jarring to play opposite a human after all those creature features? Not since Meyer discovered a surefire trick to enhance her scenes with Caan. She says, “I pretend he’s an insect.”