Image Credit: Albert L. Ortega/PR Photos; Michael Tran/FilmMagic.com; Justin Stephens/NBCPeter Berg’s big-screen Battleship is the subject of an interesting piece in The Hollywood Reporter, which details all the ways this movie, with a reported budget of $200 million or more, is a gamble. There’s the fact that it’s based on a board game, and audiences are already weary of reboots, let alone that kind. Peter Berg isn’t a big-name action director like J.J. Abrams, and he doesn’t have an A-list cast. (Oddly, the story doesn’t even bother to mention True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard alongside Friday Night Lights‘ Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna, who’ll make her feature acting debut). And the plot involves an alien invasion on water, and well, water is not a filmmaker’s friend. (Waterworld sank, but even box office hits like Titanic and Jaws had notorious shooting issues.) So what is Universal to do?
Studio chairman Adam Fogelson tells THR that he’s confident in his passionate director, the hot cast, the audience (“Worldwide, more people have played Battleship than played with Transformers”), and the way the script adapts the game. “There’s the fact that you can’t see your opponent, the underlying emotional reasons behind who plays the game and how they play the game,” he says. “There’s absolutely a way within the story that’s been constructed here to take advantage of the game’s name and elements that will make the movie fun.” As for the water curse, the shoot, which begins in Hawaii later this month, is only scheduled to have five days on the ocean, with any additional sea action to be shot on soundstages and with CGI.
The success of this film obviously comes down to getting people in the seats. So let’s help Universal out, and offer suggestions on how they can turn this into a Pirates of the Caribbean-style success (remember that was a film based on a ride, set on water). Mine:
• Hire Jeff Goldbum. The international naval fleet fighting the aliens has got to have some kind of scientist helping them, and it should be Goldblum. (Too bad this film can’t totally Independence Day out and move its May 2012 release date to July 3. Darn, Spider-Man 4.)
• Keep Kitsch and Skarsgard in uniform. No surprise attacks while they’re in Hawaiian shirts à la Pearl Harbor.
• No more stunt casting. Rihanna is enough. I get it. She’ll bring in the boys. I’m envisioning her stuck in a submarine room that springs a leak. Either her shirt gets wet to reveal her bra, or she removes her shirt because it’s weighing her down. (Though perhaps Berg is above that.)