Republished from MOVE Magazine
While filming Jonathan Liebesman’s latest film “Battle: Los Angeles,” actors Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez and actor and musician Ne-Yo had to endure arduous, military-level training. There was a perk, however.
“I love running around with a gun,” Rodriguez said in a conference call on Feb. 23. “Shooting a 50-cal, even if it is blank — it’s pretty awesome. Not every day you get to play with so many toys.”
The characters were using their weapons to fight off a barrage of aliens invading Los Angeles. While this is an alien movie, it is not just another “District 9” or “Aliens.”
“This movie has heart,” Ne-Yo said in a conference call on Feb. 18. “The difference with this movie is that it pays a lot of attention to character development. In many end-of-the-world type films, you don’t really know the characters well enough to give a damn to the fact that the world is ending.”
The movie also puts a heavier focus on the humans battling the extra-terrestrials.
“This movie is a war movie, really, that happens to be fighting a foe from outer space,” Eckhart said. “Even though this is based around a bunch of alien enemies, it’s really about a group of Marines who’ve banded together to survive.”
Another facet that sets this film apart is the way it was filmed. It was shot from the perspective of a first-person shooter, Rodriguez said.
“You’re like one of the characters because of the way the cinematography was shot,” she said. “The way that the whole film is shot is very in your face. I find that to be unique for a sci-fi flick.”
The film’s focus on the military gave Eckhart a newfound respect for the Marines.
“One thing I learned about them mostly is that mostly they’re fighting for what they believe in, but also each other,” he said. “And I think we’re really trying to capture that within this movie. You’re out there, you’re alone and you have to rely on each other. You have to trust each other and live and die with each other.”
All three actors commended director Liebesman’s vision with the project.
“He attacks every situation from a thousand angles,” Rodriguez said. “And he doesn’t really let it close any doors while he’s working. He leaves everything open for change, and I admire that.”
This approach does come with its difficulties.
“I love the guy (Liebesman) to death, but he’s that kind of guy that made you push and push and push until you wanted to punch him in the face,” Ne-Yo said. “But, the end result is the best performance that you could possibly get.”
This film was Ne-Yo’s second acting job. He played Rich Brown in 2007’s “Stomp the Yard.”
“Acting is just another way to express myself,” he said. “But, as far as my music, I never stop doing music. As long as the world says they want to hear my music, I’m going to keep going. If not, you’re going to see me in a lot more movies.”
“Battle: Los Angeles” hits theaters March 11.