Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Battleship takes on aliens

By James Colt Harrison

Battleship, from Universal Pictures, is a whiz-bang of a thriller about aliens from space and their engagements with U.S. naval personnel. When NASA sends signals to what they feel is a planet similar to the earth, the planet answers by sending five space ships to earth. When they land in the waters near Hawaii, the aliens set up a force field to deflect any interference. This is the crux of the story, and the reason for all the pyrotechnics that follow and make the film an exciting adventure.

Young Taylor Kitsch is given the lead role as a sort of renegade young pup who is usually out of control and needs to be reigned in by his older brother, played by Alexander Skarsgard. The Pacific Fleet Commanding Officer is played by Liam Neeson as Admiral Shane. His daughter is Samantha Shane, played by the beautiful Brooklyn Decker. Of course, Taylor and Brooklyn get involved---on screen. Actor Peter MacNichol plays the Secretary of Defense.

In other casting news, emerging mega-star Jeremy Renner was originally considered for the Kitsch role of Hopper. Being in such demand for his own films The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy, he had to decline the role.

Thus, Taylor Kitsch got a break and was cast as the young Lieutenant. Kitsch hails from Canada, born April 8, 1981. He got his start in New York as a model and then relocated to Hollywood in 2004 to model for Abercrombie & Fitch. This exposure led producers to cast him such films as John Tucker Must Die, Snakes on a Plane and The Covenant.  Director Peter Berg then cast Kitsch in the critic’s darling TV series Friday Night Lights from 2006-2011. In 2009 he was selected to co-star in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He was then selected by the Disney people to star in their gigantic 3D spectacle John Carter in 2012. It was his first lead role. He went from that directly into Battleship. Oscar® winning director Oliver Stone cast Taylor in his next film, Savages, with Salma Hayek, Uma Thurman, and Blake Lively, to be released in June of this year.

Originally planned to be filmed in Australia, the producers pulled the film out because no agreement could be made with the Australian government about tax incentives. The Australians lost out on the gigantic production and all the money the Hollywood producers would spend Down Under. The production moved to the Hawaiian Islands where much of the film’s scenes were shot. The scenery was beautiful, and all the production money was spent on US soil. Back in California, some locations shots were filmed in Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley and some scenes took place in the waterside community of Playa del Rey. Baton Rouge, Louisiana was also a location where the production company shot some additional scenes.

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