In Battle: Los Angeles, Aaron Eckhart plays Staff. Sgt. Nantz, leading a squad of Marines in a firefight with invading aliens on the streets of L.A.. Shot Black Hawk Down style, the film makes Eckhart and his costars look like real Marines. Nantz even faces the post traumatic stress of a wartime decision that cost the lives of his men. At the press junket for the film, I asked Eckhart a few military questions.
CraveOnline: When it comes to this decision that’s haunting Nantz, what’s the significance of having that in a science fiction movie when there are surely real life military commanders who are suffering under the weight of such decisions?
Aaron Eckhart: Well, I mean, this is an entertaining movie, but I hope that it’s an homage to that. I hope that it shows some sort of reflection, some sort of history, a toll that it’s taken. This movie in my opinion is meant to be a love letter to the Marines. We had their full cooperation. They had my full cooperation. I tried to get it right. I think this movie is very reverent towards the military and reverent towards the ranks, both the officers and the Marines and the grunts. I don’t see how any Marine can see this movie and feel like they’ve been at all taken advantage of. I think this is going to be an oo-rah moment for them. I’m going to go to Quantico. I’m going down to San Diego and show the film for them. These guys are going to love this movie.
CraveOnline: Were there any equipment mishaps that ruined takes?
Aaron Eckhart: God, ruined takes? We did a lot of takes. I’m sure us actors ruined more than the equipment did. There are a lot of misfires and stuff like that, a lot of jams in your equipment. You had to take care of it. Tap, rack, bang. Tap, rack and then shoot. A lot of that got on film. There were days where we shot twenty thousand rounds in a day. I remember going through, we shot this movie in Louisiana and I remember being up at three o’clock in the morning in Shreveport on top of a humvee with a .50 cal, going through the streets and me just going BOOM!. Now, to you that might not seem like fun, but to me it was blast. I thought about it while we were making it. Just humvees everywhere and I just thought, “If anybody was coming into Shreveport that night to just stay for a day and go to a business meeting or whatever they would’ve thought that this town was at war,” and I love that. We shut down freeways for the movie. We shut down a whole overpass that was riddled, for hundreds of yards, with over turned tanks, crashed helicopters, all this sort of stuff. We just had a blast.
CraveOnline: Twenty thousand rounds, was the set just littered with shell casings at the end of the day?
Aaron Eckhart: Oh, yeah. That was inside of a studio, too, that day. So there was a lot of smoke around.