If you haven’t heard about a movie called Battle: Los Angeles, fear not: not a lot of people knew much about it going into Comic Con this year. During the panel for the movie, however, many quickly became more acquainted with it.
The real-life Battle of Los Angeles took place in 1942, a few months after the surprise Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor forced the United States to enter World War II. In the late hours of February 24, a light appeared in the skies over L.A. and many thought that it might be the Japanese making another attack. It was eventually realized that no one was attacking them, but some conspiracy theorist went on to call it an encounter with a UFO spacecraft. It was later determined to all be a big case of “war nerves,” and that the “aircraft” was actually just a weather balloon…as most UFOs are dubbed.
Battle: Los Angeles is a movie that takes that situation and turns into an actual alien invasion on Los Angeles. The film will be presented in real-time from the perspectives of the Marines as the encounter and battle unfold.
Getting back to the panel at this year’s Comic Con, they started it off right by showing a lengthy clip of footage from the movie. The preview ran almost seven minutes and featured a ton of action. Basically, it starts off with footage of encounters in our country like the one mentioned above and eventually gets to the group of Marines in a helicopter en route to a ravaged Los Angeles location. They exit the helicopter and begin to make their way through the war-torn streets, with visibility at a minimum. Something grabs their attention but just turns out to be a dog, which distracts them just long enough for an onslaught of alien fire to spray the Marines. One of them seeks cover and finds himself alone, choosing his steps carefully with sights and sounds leaving him disoriented and uncertain if and when to shoot before a mysterious figure lunges at him. The footage then ends with a collection of “ooh” and “aah” shots of explosions and sheer chaos.
This is where everyone in the room became much more aware and much more excited for Battle: Los Angeles. The collective public has the movie pinned as a mixture of movies like Independence Day, District 9, or Aliens and a Black Hawk Down or Modern Warfare type film. It’s too bad Ridley Scott wasn’t involved.
After the footage was shown, director Jonathan Liebesman (Darkness Falls, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning), stars Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez, and producer Neil Moritz are introduced onto the stage.
The first question goes to Liebesman, asking him about the aliens in his movie and what makes them unique. He talks about District 9 and Alien and well-executed creations such as that, but how he wanted to really make his truest to the word “alien” without being insect or creature, and how his have a “bio-mechanical” structure to them. This movie isn’t set to be released until March of next year and not much was shown in terms of his aliens, so it’s hard to tell what he was able to come up with thus far.
The actors were asked what type of training that they had to do to prepare for the movie. Eckhart explained that they went through three weeks of boot camp training, and that he and other gentlemen from the movie lived out of a tent together, showered together, learned their weapons, how to drink and swear like Marines, and the whole nine yards. The effect of this was that they truly learned one another, and in doing so, helps them to really look like a trained unit in the final product.
The director talks about how he wanted it to be a very personal movie where they don’t branch off to the White House and presidential decisions, but just stay in-tune to the situation that these Marines are dealing with. Rodriguez chimes in with a video game analogy saying that it’s an almost first-person style movie and that when she saw about 40 minutes of footage, she would find herself wanting to grab for an Xbox controller so she could move out of the way.
Producer Neil Moritz was asked what drew him to the film, to which he explained was all about the realism. He loved the idea of making a movie that could approach an alien invasion as if it were really happening, and how our own military would go about protecting us from the threat. Someone in the audience also asked Eckhart what lured him in, and he shared that Liebesman brought him in and showed him actual footage of Marines in combat and that it was what he wanted this movie to look like. That was all Eckhart needed.
From then on out the panel went to Q&A and not much more about the film was discussed. The only thing really worth note here was when someone asked Michelle Rodriguez whether she would want to take on the less-macho, lighter roles at some point, to which she quickly replied “You mean like getting raped and win an Oscar?” which got quite the response. She went on to explain that she enjoys the roles that she plays and that she likes being that strong-yet-feminine character that few actresses have embraced over the years.
Photos by Dave3