Battleship: Fleet Foxes

The cast of Battleship, from left, Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, and Alexander Skarsgard. Photo / Shizuo Kambayashi
The cast of Battleship, from left, Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, and Alexander Skarsgard. Photo / Shizuo Kambayashi

Battleship's star-studded cast talk to Michele Manelis about life at sea.

Any movie called Battleship was always going to come with a big cast - after all, somebody's got to be there to show just how awesome those big explosions are and how vast the alien spacecraft are that they are battling.

To help save the world, at sea, the film - loosely based on the Hasbro board game - has recruited a mix of old salts and cadets which range from Liam Neeson, doing the gruff mentor again as Admiral Shane to pop star Rihanna who is rockin' the nautical camo gear look as tough gal Petty Officer Cora Raikes (the singer actually did some time as a military cadet), to Sports Illustrated model Brooklyn Decker as the admiral's physiotherapist daughter.

The film had some other big guns. It used the USS Missouri, now docked in Pearl Harbor, after being the site of the Japanese surrender in World War II in 1945. The ship was modernised for active service in the 80s, and fought in the 1991 Gulf War. It's not the 40,000 tonne tub's first screen appearance - it starred in such previous epics such as Steven Seagal's Under Siege and Cher's gun-straddling video, If I Could Turn Back Time.

Meanwhile, here are the stars' takes on being part of the ship's company ...

Rihanna: Cora Raikes
I had some experience in the military because I was a cadet growing up, so I knew about working with weapons and shooting at a gun range; and boot training and missions, so it was a bit similar, but these weapons on the film were a lot bigger and there was more gunpowder flying back in my face. It was a great first experience for me and I can't wait to do more movies. And as tough as I look in the movie, I also get to show some vulnerability and that was a great lesson in acting for me. I worked with a real soldier and he taught me a lot about the mindset I needed to get in. And with the aliens, I've always believed in them since I was a little girl. I'd sit on my step every night and wait to see one. So, this was the perfect movie for me.

Brooklyn Decker: Samantha Shane
It's typically a movie that appeals to boys because of the aliens and battles and weapons and big explosions, but the characters and the love story is interesting for the girls, too. But on the serious side, I worked with real veteran amputees and that was the most rewarding part of the project for me. Through my training on the set I learned how to fix a dislocated shoulder and leg and I practised on people. In this role, I wasn't just "the pretty girl". I had a lot to do and that was very appealing for me.

Liam Neeson: Admiral Shane
I loved being the admiral of the fleet. It was terrific giving orders and everyone saluting me all day. I didn't have to do any military training. I just put on the uniform and off I went. We shot onboard the USS Missouri, which is where World War II officially ended and the Japanese surrendered. It was a humbling experience walking on to that ship. As far as aliens are concerned, when you look at the size of the universe, I'm sure we're not alone, but whether they're aliens with three heads and two eyes, I somehow doubt it.

Taylor Kitsch: Alex Hopper
I think I'd be a good officer in real life. I'm a pretty disciplined guy and I think that would help, especially in the navy. I'd love to think I have good leadership skills. To play Hopper, psychologically he's a little damaged and I can play that and I relate to it. As far as the physical element, I had to do a lot of training with the Navy Seals and that was intense.

I played the board game as a kid so it was particularly thrilling to be in the movie and we definitely gave some nods to it through the strategy. As far as the storyline, I believe in aliens and to do this movie with all the CGI you kind of have to, so when you're looking at an X on a wall and pretending it's a giant spaceship landing, it's easier if you believe it's possible. And I love the way the aliens look in this movie. At least one of them is more a humanoid kind of thing, which makes it more relatable.

Alexander Skarsgard: Stone Hopper
I know how to play the responsible older brother, because in real life I'm the oldest of six siblings. I used to play Battleship as kid, although I was terrible because I kept eating the pegs. And as a Swedish actor, to come on to a film like this was incredible. I loved playing a commanding officer of a US Navy destroyer because it's about as American as you can get and spending seven months with Marines made me understand the American culture a lot more. I also felt pretty much at home on the ship because I was in the Swedish Navy after I finished college. It was very profound to walk on the USS Missouri, especially one of the days because there were real navy guys who were there as extras that actually served in World War II. And walking around, you could see where one of the kamikaze pilots flew into the ship because the scratches were still there.

- NZ Herald

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