By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Trevor Welsh, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
LOS ANGELES - Universal Pictures hosted nearly 50 Sailors for the U.S. premiere of the movie "Battleship" at the Nokia Theater L.A. Live in Los Angeles May 10.
Sailors were given the "blue" carpet treatment alongside cast members of the movie and attended the special screening of the film prior to its release in more than 3,000 theaters nation-wide May 18.
"I'm happy that they finally made a film that highlights who we are and is an accurate depiction of what we do," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Tim Gutherperson, stationed aboard USS Benfold (DDG 65).
Cast members Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna and Brooklyn Decker, Tadanobu Asano, Col. Gregory D. Gadson, Hamish Linklater, Rico McClinton and Liam Neeson; director Peter Berg; writers Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber; and producers Brian Goldner, Scott Stuber, Sarah Aubrey, Duncan Henderson and Bennett Schneir were all in attendance signing autographs and interacting with Sailors prior to the screening.
Taylor Kitsch, who played the lead male character "Lt. Alex Hopper" in the movie said what really stands out for him is the sacrifices made by Sailors and their families.
"This film is really a tip of the hat to you guys; the true heros," said Kitsch.
Following Department of Defense approval in 2010, the film's production began, and principal photography took place during the U.S. Pacific Fleet's Rim of the Pacific training exercise later that year. Additional filming also took place in Hawaii, San Diego, and on a film set in Baton Rouge, La., constructed by Universal Studios. The movie's cast and crew spent time at-sea and witnessed life underway on U.S. Navy warships and lived side-by-side with Sailors.
"They taught us more than we ever knew about the Navy, which was pretty special," said Brooklyn Decker, who played the lead female character "Sam" in the movie. "We actors only play heros, so the fact that they were there helping us along was incredible, and it also gave something real to the movie. It's a big, fun, summer, alien action movie, so to have something real felt very special to us."
"It was one of the most amazing things watching that crew in action, throwing down, with what they do every day," said Jon Hoeber. "They granted us total access, and it was unbelievable. They were excited to have us there and we were dieing to be there. To be able to tell their stories and watch the United States of America 'Blue Water Navy' and all they do-stunning! People in this country do not know enough about that."
"Battleship" was made with the support of the Department of Defense and the Navy. According to Rear Adm. Denny Moynihan, U.S. Navy's Chief of Information, the Navy had to evaluate the idea of the movie and ask some critical questions before deciding to support the film.
"First, does the script accurately portray the Navy," said Moynihan. "Second, does it positively represent our service and our Sailors? Third, can we support the film without impacting our operations? And finally, do we believe that it could have a positive impact on recruiting? In the case of 'Battleship,' we felt the answer was 'Yes' to each of those questions."
Because filming took place during already scheduled training events, it did not impair operations and there was no cost to the Navy or American taxpayers.
"The end result is a film that provides movie-goers with a realistic look of the Navy and Sailors operating at sea - scenes that I think reflect well on the Navy," said Moynihan.
"The reason we do things like this, is because we would love to take everybody out to sea on an aircraft carrier, destroyer, or submarine to see what we do, but we can't." said Moynihan. "But we know that people go to movies, so this is one way we help the American people get get a better understanding of what their Navy does 24 hours a day 7 days a week."
Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), in coordination with Universal Studios, will be offering special screenings of Battleship to Sailors and their families prior to the nationwide release of the movie May 18.
The film's director, Peter Berg, will be present to kick off the free screenings at Naval Base Coronado and Naval Base San Diego Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island May 11. Special screenings will also take place this weekend at Camp Lejeune, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Naval Submarine Base New London and Joint Base Little Creek-Fort Story May 12.
Berg, director of Battleship, will also attend the Joint Base Little Creek-Fort Story screening. Future screenings will take place in Washington, D.C. May 14, at Naval Air Station Jacksonville May 15 and onboard USS Missouri May 16.