March 6, 2011

Aaron Eckhart Defends the Planet in "World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles"

Aaron Eckhart (“The Dark Knight”) leads the cast of Columbia Pictures' “World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles” as Staff Sergeant Nantz, a career Marine who is “pretty burnt out,” the actor says. On the brink of retirement, he is pressed back into service. “He’s leading a bunch of young Marines into a battle with aliens in L.A. He’s doing it reluctantly, but that’s just the type of hero that I love to watch.”

Director Jonathan Liebesman calls Eckhart, “one of the most incredible actors working today. It was such a coup to get Aaron in this movie,” adds the director. “Aaron immediately gives you incredible depth with your central character. You believe these guys would follow him anywhere.”

“Aaron is a phenomenal actor and a very generous collaborator – he submits himself to the role fully and never gives up,” continues Liebesman. “His character, Nantz, is fierce and impenetrable. I couldn’t imagine anyone else taking this role and making it so rich and complex.”

Before production began, Eckhart and Liebesman collaborated on a one-day shoot that would set the tone for the entire production: the result was a short reel that brought Liebesman’s vision into focus and put it on a screen for everyone to see. “He asked me to come down for the day – I had no idea what it would be like. I’m telling you, I freaked out. We had full uniforms, we had weapons, we had a helicopter, we had Humvees, the whole place was covered in dirt. It was amazing – Jonathan had a relentless vision for the movie.”

Eckhart thrived in his first sci-fi action movie. He took to the training immediately and worked his body into the best shape of his life. He became well versed in firearms, thanks to the coaching he received from the military technical advisors. He even developed what he calls a “love/hate” relationship with his helmet, and by the end of filming, began to refer to his protective military gloves as “his best friends.”

To help them prepare for their roles as Marines, the filmmakers dropped the cast members into an intensive, three-week boot camp with active and retired Marines. They would have no mobile phones, no television, no internet and no contact with the outside world.

“Boot camp was interesting,” says Eckhart. “I’m glad we did it, because it was essentially a three-week rehearsal period. We had three Marines put us through boot camp and we all slept in the same big tent and ate together. We were regimented. We ate rations and had all our courses during the day. We acted like a squad of Marines – I was the staff sergeant, so I bossed them around and they hated my guts. It was invaluable, particularly when it came to weaponry – to know how to hold it, what you’re looking at, how to walk with it and how to be a cohesive unit going down the street. It really helped us, because when it came time to shoot, Sergeant Major Dever would just say, ‘OK, you guys are patrolling this area,’ and we’d know how to act.”

Opening soon across the Philippines, “World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit for trailers, exclusive content and free downloads. Like us at and join our fan contests.

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