Yes, “Battle: Los Angeles” is filled with nasty alien creatures determined to firebomb Earth into submission, but the new flick is not exactly a sci-fi escapade. It’s best thought of, in truth, as a war movie in which the foe just so happens to be extraterrestrial in nature.
“Independence Day” this is not, and star Aaron Eckhart is not a hero of the Will Smith variety. He’s haunted from previous tours in war-torn areas and dead-set on retiring from the Marine Corps, before a couple of seemingly harmless asteroids turn out to be apocalypse-minded aliens. For Eckhart and his fellow soldiers, it’s time to saddle up and save the world.
As soon as Eckhart signed up for the project, MTV News has been all over its production. With “Battle: Los Angeles” opening Friday (March 11), read on for everything you need to know about the new film.
Amassing the Troops
The film first crossed our radar in November of 2008, when Eckhart signed on to the Jonathan Liebesman-directed flick, marking the actor’s return to big-budget fare following his turn as Harvey Dent in “The Dark Knight.”
“We are doing our best to do something that hasn’t been done before. This is a more down and dirty alien movie,” Liebesman told us. “This is like ['Bourne Supremacy' director] Paul Greengrass got a camera, saw some aliens, and shot it from the point of view of a platoon. It’s literally like ‘Black Hawk Down,’ if there were aliens in there. Like Iraqi war footage, but with aliens running around.”
Gradually the rest of the cast came into focus, including Ne-Yo and Michelle Rodriguez as soldiers and Bridget Moynahan and Michael Peña as civilians caught up in the fray. Production kicked off in the fall of ’09.
Before then, however, Eckhart and his castmates had to attend Marine boot camp, as the actor explained in a sit-down with MTV News. “It’s gonna be an intense, action killer movie,” he explained. “It’s gonna be a kick-butt movie.”
One man who certainly appreciated the boot camp was Ne-Yo , who took on the role to see if he really had “acting chops,” as he said, laughing in an MTV News interview. “I told myself, if I’m going to be an actor, I want to be an actor, meaning that you can’t just limit yourself to one genre of film,” he said. ” ‘Stomp the Yard,’ as cool as it was, it was very, very similar to what I do already. I’m a dancer/singer by profession. I needed to step outside of me and do something that really showed off whether or not I could really act.”
Lest you think all of “Battle: Los Angeles” is about blowing stuff up and looking cool while doing so, Moynahan explained that the film has a strong emotional current running through it.
“I can’t even tell you: When I saw parts of it recently, I was crying,” she recalled. “It’s just got such heart to the movie. The director shot such a beautiful movie, so hopefully the editing and everything is going to pull it together, but it was a really good story.”
The Invasion Begins
After swooping into Comic-Con
and showing off some cool footage, the production dropped its first trailer online in November. Without a single snippet of dialogue and set to a somber soundtrack, the footage touched both on conspiracies about past alien landings around the world and on the brutal assault that these aliens unleash upon Los Angeles. A second trailer spilled plot details but also descended into slow-motion, gloomy music-assisted carnage.
“[It's] like ’28 Days Later,’ ” Liebesman told us. “It’s all gonna be very grounded. Aliens are fantastical enough.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Battle: Los Angeles.”
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