Peter Berg BattleshipI do wonder what the meeting at Universal Studios with Peter Berg and the Hoeber brothers must have been like as they were discussing their ideas to make a movie based on the extremely simple pencil and paper game Battleship… with aliens being the antagonists! Just in case there is anybody out there who doesn’t quite grasp the ridiculousness of this, I’ll repeat – there was a meeting, in Hollywood, where a bunch of executives and artists sat around to discuss making a movie from a game that is too basic to possibly be adapted into a feature length film, so it was decided that a movie involving a human naval fleet engaged in combat with aliens would be made instead and still be marketed as ‘Battleship the Movie’. Is this really what major movie studios have reduced themselves to?

Universal Studios recently invited some US based journalists to visit the USS Sterett in San Diego and interview director Peter Berg about the project. Below are some of the more interesting excerpts from Berg’s answers.

Regarding two giant screens on a wall in the CIC (Combat Information Centre) of the destroyer that act as maps for officers, Berg said:

“This is a key set in the film. you put this screen on, it’s very easy to imagine this as a much more sophisticated Battleship screen from the board game. What they’re doing with this screen is identifying threats or identifying objects whether it be in the air, on the sea or underwater. Much the same way you would try to identify or locate your enemy in the game. You’re trying to find an enemy over here (at one station) and over here you’re killing an enemy. It’s very simple. they’ve got a bunch of ways to find and a bunch of ways to kill. But basically, the fundamental core principles of the game, are very easy to expand in a very easy, badass, very intelligent way when you see how these guys do what they do. We’ll be able to take a component of the game, which is someone trying to guess where this thing is, and when they see a TRAC (name for something on radar or visually that the Navy doesn’t like) they’re going to get some coordinates where they think that TRAC is, they’re going to then lock into those coordinates, they’re gonna fire, they’re gonna put a ping on those coordinates and hope it’s a hit. It’s another example of how we can…I believe in a very intelligent and cool and entertaining way have fun with the idea of trying to identify a target, trying to hit it and trying to sink it.”

When asked what aliens are doing in this story, he responded:

“There’s a group of life forms from some other planet have come to our planet for something. They’ve got a very specific agenda. That agenda is not global domination. It’s an agenda and that agenda puts them into conflict with members of our military. Their technology is relatable. It’s not incredibly far out and unbeatable. It’s comprehensible. Hopefully it’ll make for good fun and an intense ride.”

When asked again in a roundabout way WTF aliens are doing in this story, his response was:

“Right. Because the idea of the incredible context, the idea of a film where America goes to war against China or America goes to war against England or Australia or Japan, any of the few countries that have credible Navy’s, that felt like it would border on some jingoistic American military thing that I couldn’t get my head around. I liked the idea of something about it being larger than life. I like the challenge that presented.”

And on whether the line ‘You sunk my battleship’ will be in the film, Berg enthusiastically proclaimed:

“Hell, yeah. Hells, yeah! Damn straight.”

Berg also mentions that whilst sequels to both his action-comedy The Rundown and his superhero movie Hancock are possibilities, they would not be going into production anytime soon as after he has completed Battleship he wants to make a modern war film based on real life events that took place in Afghanistan called Lone Survivor.

Visit LatinoReview to read the full interview.