There is no bigger fan of Battle: Los Angeles than one of its own stars, Cory Hardrict. The 31-year-old actor stars alongside Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez as soldiers in a platoon that faces the world’s biggest threat – alien invasion.
Hardrict took some time to answer a few of our questions on the movie and his enthusiasm is unmatched.
Sony has done a great job so far at keeping Battle: Los Angeles under wraps. We know little of the aliens and the overall focus of the film. Whether we are in for a surprise blockbuster or another Skyline is yet to be determined. So far, the trailers have presented a kick-ass movie with non-stop action. The one guarantee is Battle: Los Angeles will officially kick off the Year of the Alien Movies.
Hardrict’s opinions of the film are no different, commenting on its brute force and relentless excitement. While he played many of his answers close to the (bulletproof?) vest, his interview may shed some more light on a film that has many of us intently curious.
Screen Rant: Battle: Los Angeles has been frequently described as a mashup of films like Black Hawk Down and Independence Day. How would you describe the film?
Cory Hardrict: True indeed. Those films come to mind, but I would also throw in Saving Private Ryan, War of the Worlds and District 9 as well – with some Call of Duty and Halo for the gamers out there. This film never stops. I mean, it’s hand-to-hand combat defending the world from the unknown enemy.
SR: The big question on everybody’s minds is what kind of aliens we might see in Battle: Los Angeles. Can you share a few details about your on-screen foe?
CH: All I can say is that they are original and functional in every real way as possible. Brace yourself world!
SR: To what extent does director Jonathan Liebesman focus on the details of military personnel? Are they glorified for entertainment or do they represent the gritty reality of today’s soldier?
CH: I mean, Jonathan Liebesman is one of best directors I’ve ever worked with, and hardest working. He’s all about detail and realism. We had real military sergeants training us from boot camp throughout the entire shoot. It was really intense from day one – I mean guys were losing teeth, cracking ribs and breaking arms, but we all loved it – just had to man up as soldiers and marines. This is what being an actor is all about for me, and the rest felt the same way and would do it all over again. So you either go hard or go home. We went hard!
SR: It seems like the focus of the film is not so much the alien attack, but the people stuck in the middle of it. Where does the film sit between human drama and blockbuster action?
CH: Really the focus is on everything from the military point of view to everything else. The stakes are high and all the events in this movie can really happen in the real world. So that’s what was put on film – the drama of it all. So if a blockbuster action comes out of all this, even better. I can say people will love it – a groundbreaking eventful movie.
SR: Can you explain your character as well as other main characters like Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez and Bridget Moynahan?
CH: I play Corporal Lockett. Let’s say I’m very passionate, intense and emotional but will give his all for his fellow marines. Aaron Eckhart means business. He plays Staff Sergeant Nantz, who was our leader and we followed and learned from him. If he says attack, we go, period! Michelle Rodriguez played Santos. I mean the girl is tough as nails and kicks lots of ass. You would love to have her on your side. Bridget [Moynahan] is awesome as well in this movie as a civilian. I must say the other marines were amazing in the film – Ramon Rodriguez, Ne-Yo, Neil Brown, Jr., Adetokumboh M’Cormack, Noel Fisher, Jim Parrack, Will Rothhaar, Taylor Handley and Lucas Till.
SR: When fighting enemies you can’t see in real-time (considering all the CGI), how did Liebesman create an interactive atmosphere for your to interact with what would eventually become intimidating, massive creatures from another world?
CH: I can’t give much away, but let’s just say we were shooting at moving targets the whole time. I get the chills talking about it.
SR: The title of the film suggests there might be sequels in other regions. Does the film leave room for a sequel or even franchise? If so, do you think it will continue the story of those involved in Battle: Los Angeles or find itself in an entirely new region under attack?
CH: There’s tons of room, yeah. I mean this attack is going on across the globe so it’s worldwide. We’re just defending LA at the moment, so hopefully it resonates with the people. If a sequel happens, or if it’s franchised, I’ll be ready for duty!
SR: I’ve always enjoyed the way some films keep the audience in the dark without trying to hide the enemy. There is a huge difference between the way Jaws presents its villain and Cloverfield exposes its monster. Is the entire film shot from the perspective of one platoon? Will we uncover details on the alien race through government officials or news coverage?
CH: Lots of details in Battle: LA are kind of under wraps and they are waiting for the release to unleash more. I don’t want to get in trouble, but this approach to movie-making is very rare. You’re in for a treat.
SR: Jonathan Liebesman described the film as ultra-realistic when I spoke to him at Comic-Con in 2010. What process did you go through to present the most realistic character in the context of the sci-fi film?
CH: First, the boot camp was about three weeks. It was basic training, just like the real marines are required to go through. I mean, no hotels, we slept outside in zip-up tents that only fit your body, we ate MREs with hot water, washed clothes with our hands, ate chow – did everything like real soldiers. We were real soldiers. The weapon training was the hardest movie job ever for us all, so I have the utmost honor and respect for our men and women who are defending this country daily. I salute you.
SR: The trailers suggest the attack in Battle: Los Angeles might be connected to past UFO sightings. Is that simply part of the advertising campaign or will the film expand on that concept?
CH: All I can say again is this is based on actual facts. I mean, it’s there. That’s why the world will soon see it and be blown away come March 11th!
Hardrict’s excitement for the film is nearing hyperbole, but it feels genuine enough coming from him. Battle: Los Angeles is a film with plenty of inspiration behind it. After speaking with director Jonathan Liebesman at Comic-Con, it was clear he seeks to present an alien invasion film like none we’ve seen before.
There are still plenty of questions about the film. The trailers are phenomenal and the excitement is palpable, but beyond that we know little. Alien attack movies are quickly becoming overwhelming. At what point, or with what film, will audiences hit boiling point and give up on the genre? The better question might be, will Hollywood ever give up on the genre? For now, they are a welcome replacement to the exhausted vampire movies of the past few years.
Discuss alien invasion movies and Battle: Los Angeles in the comments section below.
Battle: Los Angeles lands in theaters on March 11th, 2011.