Global superstar singer Rihanna could be at the start of a career on the big screen. The Barbadian singer, who is making her acting début in naval sci-fi film Battleship, told a London press conference: “I am looking forward to doing more films for sure.” She went on to say that she loved playing a bad-ass in her first adventure. The Film Review rocked up to learn more about the movie.
Also in attendance were stars Taylor Kitsch and Brooklyn Decker, and director Peter Berg. Let’s delve a little deeper into the mighty action-blockbuster that is hurtling towards our screens at an alarming rate.
Where did the idea for the aliens come from?
Battleship is inspired by the tactical board-game where two players take turns to try and destroy their opponent’s ships without being able to see their targets. Presumably the film will follow the same premise, however there is one detail has been added. Instead of fighting other humans, the ships will be fighting nasty aliens. Where did the inspiration for these extra nasty Extra Terrestrials come from?
Director Peter Berg: “I’ve wanted to make an alien film for a long time, my dad was a Marine and an amateur Navy historian and I was brought up studying the great World War II naval battles…I had a real appreciation and respect for the men and women who fought in those battles and I wanted to make a navy film, but I also wanted to make a big summer popcorn fun, bad-ass movie”
Sounds good to us. While for the film’s nemesis, Berg said that he watched a documentary by Steven Hawking, who talks about ‘Goldilocks’ planets which have the right conditions for life to exist. We are currently sending out signals to those planets, which is a really bad idea according to Hawking. “If they’re out there and they come, the chances of it going well are virtually non-existent…that kind of seemed to me to be a creditable way of getting into the alien component of the film,” said Berg. This idea is scary and should make for a great film.
How did the casting come about?
Each of the principal actors was cast for a different reason. Taylor Kitsch, who recently battled aliens in John Carter, and Berg had been in touch ever since they worked together on the TV series Friday Night Lights. The transition to Battleship came naturally and actor and director were even able to collaborate on Kitsch’s character, Alex Hopper.
Brooklyn Decker (What To Expect When You’re Expecting), lept at the opportunity to work with Berg: “the biggest trigger for me wanting to do this movie was the fact that Peter Berg was directing. I’m a big fan of his work, and in particular what he does with women…If you look at Rihanna and I’s characters in the movie, they’re really strong, independent, dynamic characters.”
This is singer Rihanna’s first film role, and it is something she has been wanting to do for a while. When she met with Berg, he had her read some lines and knew she was perfect, immediately. The Talk That Talk singer plays Raikes, a weapon’s officer and a bad-ass. To really get to grips with this role, the singer-turned-actress was trained by a real weapon’s officer from the navy, whom she describes as “the real life Raikes”. She also got even more into the role, with personal training from a real soldier, and it looks like Rihanna is looking forward to doing more films.
As always, when a singer makes the transition to acting, she was asked how the two compare. Her answer: “I cannot even compare the two. I’m way more familiar with going on stage. I still get nervous every time, but the fear of the unknown is indescribable. I had no idea…what to expect.”
Also taking the plunge in Battleship are Liam Neeson and Alexander Skarsgård, two veteran actors. Kitsch described Neeson as a great, supportive guy who was a lot of fun to work with. With a fiery relationship on-screen, some off-screen fun was probably a necessity.
Do you now believe in aliens?
You may be wondering whether appearing in a film focusing so heavily on aliens made the actors think there may indeed be something out there. When asked this question, the three stars seemed surprisingly open-minded. According to Kitsch, the idea is certainly fun to believe in, and Decker voiced her opinion that it seems a little “ignorant” for us “to think we’re the only thing out there.” Even feisty singer Rihanna was won over, saying that while she hadn’t really thought about it before, she now definitely wants “to go into some more research”.
What should we be excited for?
When asked what they are most excited for the audience to see, Kitsch said he is pleased with the humour, and that he has “one of the best character openings [he] could have ever asked for.” So look out for an awesome entrance from him.
How was working with the Navy?
While filming Battleship the real-life Navy plays a big role. It is unusual for a film to delve so deeply into this world, and according to Kitsch, what we see on-screen is pretty close to how they actually fight. In the role of her character Samantha, Decker got to work with real-life war hero Gregory D. Gatson, who plays Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales. “Greg Gatson is an active colonel in the army now. He lost both of his legs in Iraq in 2007 and he plays that character in the movie…He could bring an experience to the film that no-one else could…he’s tough and he’s scary and he was really fun to work with. We got to work with troops, and I think that was one of the most rewarding parts of this experience.”
It seemed like everyone enjoyed working with the US Navy. They filmed on real ships, which Berg described as “technologically ferocious creatures”. They also had 90-year-old veterans who acted in the film, so the whole thing should feel pretty authentic.
Tell us about the soundtrack:
An essential part of any film is its soundtrack and Battleship is due to seriously rock out. Berg wanted a real guitar player involved and got Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine to lay down some chops. So be prepared for plenty of powerful rock tunes to accompany a banging CGI, alien-action-fest.
From Pearl Harbour to the mountains of Hawaii, Battleship takes us on a journey like never before, so look out for it in cinemas now. If you head to iTunes, you can view all the trailers, plus a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, and check out our review here.