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BATTLESHIP

Trainers and Technical Advisers
To help the cast prepare for their roles, Berg worked with multiple consultants who organized the performers and got them in fighting physical and mental shape. Standout partners on the production include the teams who helped Rihanna, Decker and Gadson get ready for their intense scenes battling the aliens.

Gunner's mate Jacque Carrizosa was at the ready to get Rihanna into fighting shape on the set of Battleship. Channeling such tough-as-nails warriors as Terminator 2: Judgment Day's Sarah Connor and Aliens' Private Vasquez, Rihanna impressed everyone on set with her dedication to the part and discipline in preparing for the role.

"A lot of the training on set had to do with how to hold the weapon the correct way," Rihanna notes. "I had to learn about these weapons and I enjoyed that because I didn't want to look like an actor with a gun, just shooting off into nowhere. It was also important to Pete to make sure that everything would be like it would be if we were actually in the Navy. Jacque had a lot to do with my look and feel in the film."

During production, Carrizosa held the rank of E5, which is petty officer second class. "I deal with everything from basic 9-mil handguns and 50-caliber weapons to torpedoes, magazine sprinkler systems, missiles, VLS systems and such," states the sailor. "We also deal with the 5-inch guns that you see on a battleship like USS Missouri."

She explains how she got the actress ready for battle: "I helped Rihanna feel comfortable with military protocol and weapons handling. She shot a little before I came on board, so she wasn't scared. I helped her with posture, standing at attention and saluting. Along with her talent and beauty, she's really smart and a natural bad-ass." Duty called, and the Gunner's Mate's time on set was up. She was back on her ship in San Diego after a three-week hiatus with the production in Hawaii.

Gadson and Decker had assistance of a different sort as they battled aliens on Oahu's windward (eastern) side. Things got off to a shaky start as equilibrium came into play when Berg first took Gadson and Decker (and co-star Linklater, also crucial to the landlocked sequences) out to Kualoa Ranch, where the company spent three weeks filming the scenes in which the aliens construct their communications tower.

Decker appreciated the bonding that her director encouraged. "Greg and I became close very fast because we had to be incredibly vulnerable. We rehearsed and shot in the mountains where it rains all the time. It's muddy, it's hilly and there were a couple of times when Greg's prosthetic legs would slide on this mud and he would go down. Because he would fall in front of me, or when I would be a nervous wreck in front of him, we quickly became trusting of one another. He told me: 'If we're going downhill, I'm going to need to push on you. I need you to be strong when I'm walking downhill; you need to support me.'

"There's a scene when Sam freaks out after she finds bodies and cars ripped apart and sees one of the aliens for the first time," the actress continues. "Mick is her source of strength. That day we shot this scene, it was just Greg and me. We didn't talk to anybody on set; we just rehearsed. I told him to get physical with me, push me to the ground, grab me and shake me. We beat each other up, but also took care of each other."

Berg recalls that first day of rehearsal before filming officially began: "Greg's never acted before, and he's a double amputee. This was completely out of his comfort zone and certainly something he's not familiar with. Yet, he came out and jumped right into it, and it was intense, especially when he slipped and fell. We picked him up, he took a few more steps and immediately fell again, hard. I thought he had damaged his legs; they looked banged up. He got real quiet, and I thought to myself, 'This is going to be an absolute disaster.'" Berg couldn't have been happier to be more wrong.

"It's what happens when you don't have your legs...you fall," the director remembers Gadson telling him. "I wanted to take him up to the top of the mountain to see what we could expect: How much stamina he had and whether he could stand and move on this type of terrain. Brooklyn got right in there with Greg and helped him walk around. Then we were able to start seeing whether he could act."

While these titanium legs, which Gadson calls "Real Ones," support his body, the soldier still struggles with balance and navigates in a wheelchair when not wearing his prosthetics. He relays that standing and walking (with the aid of a cane) is like being on the top rung of a stepladder. "It's shaky on prosthetics," he explains of the challenges. "You have to balance, to keep yourself stable so that you don't lose support on the ladder. That's the best way to describe being a bilateral AK, or amputee above the knee." Stunt coordinator KEVIN SCOTT recalls the first time he saw a picture of Gadson after Berg cast him as Mick. "I saw he was a bilateral amputee. But he is not just a guy with two aluminum legs. He is a true warrior, a fantastic person and a great leader. The fight scene that we did with Greg will be an extremely moving moment in this film. I wanted to make sure that we paid respect to individuals who have lost their limbs. We didn't want to do anything that was out of character."

Scott continues: "DAMON CARO, who's one of the industry's best fight choreographers, came out to help us, and we put together a fight that Greg was comfortable with. There were a couple moves in the fight that came from just talking to Greg. He can twist his legs in ways that we can't. It was interesting to see his response to the fight, and he admitted he'd not been this physical since losing his legs. There were some extremely moving moments with him, and he came through as a warrior every time. The audience will not have seen this type of physical activity before."

To ensure that every aspect of the U.S. Navy was portrayed as accurately as possible, Captain RICK HOFFMAN was brought on board as Berg's Navy technical advisor. From dialogue and sets to specifics of uniforms and haircuts, the veteran who commanded two warships during his 28-year career left no stone unturned.

Hoffman-whom we will also see portraying Battleship's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-recounts: "When I was first interviewed for the position, Peter told me that in a movie this fantastic, the real part has to be very real. He wanted to use active duty sailors-preferably serving aboard ship now-in as many scenes as possible, and we wanted to make sure the actors came across in a compelling and convincing manner."

Prior to each of the main shipboard scenes, the film's actors and extras would go through what came to be known as "Cap'n Rick's Boot Camp." While this did not involve push-ups or yelling, the training was a full day on the set that helped the sailors grow accustomed to what they would see during the filming, as well as help the actors to understand how to look and act like sailors. It was also an important time for the cast and military extras to get to know one another as they rehearsed their scenes.

The career sailor's influence extended to close work with the crew. Hoffman adds: "I also had the chance to work with the extremely talented set design, props and set decoration teams in putting little touches on the set-moving a radio so it worked better with an actor's movements, adding charts, binoculars or other small details to create a realistic environment. I used the sailors' help whenever I could to add realism. They know what 'real' looks like better than I do."

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