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'Battleship': The Costner connection

Two months before he began shooting ”Battleship” (in theaters May 18) on the open ocean, director Peter Berg got a call from Kevin Costner. ”I’ve never met him,” says Berg. ”He’s like, ‘I need to talk to you.’ I say, ‘When?’ He says, ‘Tomorrow.’ I say, ‘Okay!”’ Costner met with Berg and his team for three hours, relaying all he had learned making the infamous flop Waterworld. His three pieces of advice about filming on H20, says Berg, ”made a huge difference”

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1. Get Four of Everything

Much of Battleship was shot on massive barges well off the coast of Hawaii, so every last prop and piece of machinery had to be with Berg out on the water. ”It was about identifying anything that could break,” Berg says Costner told him. ”And then making sure you had three backups. Not one, but three. If you needed boats to do something, plan on two of them breaking.”

2. Watch for the Waves

”You look into tidal fluctuations when you’re out there and swells get up [to] eight feet,” says Berg. ”Well, what happens if they get to 16 feet, and the set breaks up? Sure enough, third day, a big chunk of the set broke off, and we had a plan for bringing another piece right in.”

3. Pay Attention!

Everyone needed to be hyper-vigilant on the water, lest someone get injured like Waterworld‘s Jeanne Tripplehorn, who was run over by a sailboat. Berg says he feared disasters like ”a crew member, after a 12-hour day, jumping a little too far onto a boat that’s gonna take him back to shore, falling in the ocean, getting sandwiched between the [ship] and the barge, and cracking his skull.” Thankfully, ”nobody got hurt. When things went wrong, we were prepared. Without Kevin, that never would have happened.”