“Battle: Los Angeles” won the weekend with $36 million in domestic box office and star Aaron Eckhart said he’s ready to re-enlist to carry on the fight against aliens in a second film.
“I very much enjoyed wearing the uniform of Staff Sgt. Nantz and I’m very proud of this film,” Eckhart told me this morning when he called from Paris. “It wouldn’t be the worst thing to do, that’s for sure. I’m ready to wear the uniform again. Filming this movie was a great experience and I’d be happy to see that experience continue.”
The 43-year-old actor said the high-intensity film shoot and the camaraderie in the story and on the set really resonated with him on a personal level. “To me this movie, I put my heart and soul into it. It was the hardest movie I ever made in my life, by far. It was hard not only physically but mentally, psychologically, and it was all real blood, sweat and tears on the screen. It’s not makeup and it’s not made up.”
Eckhart said the attraction of the movie was the combat intensity, but he knew the challenge would be keeping a naturalistic tone amid the extraterrestrial incursion.
“By virtue of the fact that it’s a genre alien movie, you have to convince the audience that the aliens exist and that they’re real to the actors and the characters in the movie. That was the biggest hurdle. I wanted to be involved in the movie because I wanted to make a realistic action war movie. I looked at ’Black Hawk Down’ and thought, ’Why wasn’t I in that movie?’ I looked at ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and thought, ’That’s the way a war movie should be.’ If I was going to be in a war movie I wanted to feel like it’s the end-of-all war movies or one of those [on that short list]. With the beautiful sets that we had and three cameras moving at all times and the work we did — we shot off 10,000 to 20,000 rounds a day — and we had that humidity of summer in Louisiana. It all really felt real to me.”
That fact that the movie has L.A. in the title but was actually shot in Louisiana has been a sore point for advocates of keeping film production in Southern California and that wasn’t lost on the star. Watching the film, it created a remarkable facsimile of the City of Angels but Eckhart wasn’t overjoyed that the lure of tax credit took the movie 1,900 miles east on Interstate 10.
“With all respect to the great people of Louisiana, it would be nice to make a film or two in Los Angeles sometime,” Eckhart said. “We have such great crews and diverse topography and every benefit of making a movie that comes with being in Los Angeles, so it would be fun to make one there, especially when it’s a movie about Los Angeles. That being said, you go where the work is.”
I mentioned to Eckhart that my teenage daughter was impressed with the movie because it “wasn’t corny” and I could hear the smile in his voice even over the international call. “That is the biggest compliment I could ever get. We really tried to make this feel real.”
And what of that sequel? Should we expect ”Battle: Fresno” or ”Battle: Poughkeepsie“? Eckhart laughed. “No, no I’m thinking something more like ‘Battle: St Croix.’ Or maybe ‘Battle: Paris,’ I’ve been looking around while I’m here. It’s funny you have to make it real but you do hate to destroy a nice town. But Paris would be good.”
– Geoff Boucher
RECENT AND RELATED
ON THE SET: Behind-the-scenes with “Battle: L.A.”