PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- More than 450 Sailors, and their friends and families, attended the advance screening of Universal Studio's "Battleship" at Sharkey Theater on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, April 28.
Filming for the movie in Hawaii began in 2010 when hundreds of Hawaii-based Sailors, veterans and Navy ships played parts in the movie. The movie featured the capabilities of U.S. Navy destroyers and WWII veterans. In January 2010, even the Battleship Missouri Memorial sailed out to sea for some initial filming.
"We don't put enough attention with our elders, in particular our veterans," said Peter Berg, the director of the movie. "By far my favorite moment on Battleship is getting to meet these veterans. Some of those guys are in their 90s, and they would come on board with the energy of a 20 year old. They had all these stories. They were having the best time. They get to be on their ship. That was, by far, my career highlight."
The cast of Battleship, including Peter Berg, Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgard, and Rihanna, were all at Sharkey Theater to greet the audience.
"There was a time when Hollywood didn't see eye-to-eye with the military, and I really think that time is no more," said Berg. "I think that Soldiers feel it. Soldiers are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan to a different reception then they did when they came back from Vietnam, and I think that's great. I'm just glad to be able to do my part to pay respect."
The movie also featured Col. Gregory Gadson, the Director of the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program, who is a Wounded Warrior himself. Gadson, who lost both his legs because of an improvised explosive device in 2007, practically played himself as Lt. Col. Mick Canales fighting aliens in the movie.
"I like to say that fighting aliens is no different than fighting a human," said Gadson. "If you're fighting for your life, you're going to do whatever it takes to win."
Gadson said he hopes the movie would also help all warriors, wounded or otherwise, and let them know that life can go on.
"You've got to put behind you what's happened in the past," said Gadson. "When you have an opportunity to learn and to go through hard experiences, you can come out the other side and live a productive life."
To prepare for her role in the movie, Rhianna enlisted the help of Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Jacquelyn Carrizosa, assigned aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during the filming in 2010.
"She really helped me out," said Rihanna. "I paid attention to her, everything about the way she dressed, the way she walked, her mannerisms, how she spoke, how collected she was. That was very crucial to me playing this part. She was a pretty girl but very, very tough. Her demeanor was so quiet and sweet, and then you see her put on this uniform and she walks on the set, she's a whole different beast. She helps me as a friend but when she gets in her element she's very intimidating."
During the filming, Rihanna and the rest of the cast interacted with many of the Sailors in Hawaii so the actors could better understand their roles in the movie.
"I was exposed to a lot of things that I didn't know about the Navy, just seeing their demeanor, where you lived, where you stayed," said Rihanna. "I heard about how long you guys stayed at sea without your family. It really was an awakening for me. It made me appreciate what you guys do so much more."
The film opens officially in U.S. theaters on May 18. The movie is based on a board game of the same name. It is about how a fleet of ships is forced to fight an armada of alien ships.
"The film is going to expose a lot of what the Navy does, and no one knows how these ships are fought and how the day-to-day stuff is," said Kitsch. "I love how we exposed a lot of that. You read about the sacrifice and what it means to wear the uniform, and I think that's what hit me the most. Not just meeting the Sailors and everyone, that's a part of it, but the families, the sacrifices that they make as well. That was probably the biggest one that I took away: how much sacrifice that is."
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