[singlepic=21723,320,240,,left]Earlier in the week we posted the first part of our interview with Neil Brown Jr. Today we are posting the next part of our interview, we we get the scoop on his role and what it was like to make the movie.
YBMW: So, your next big project is ‘Battle: Los Angeles’
Neil: Oh yeah, baby.
YBMW: They promised the movie would be more like Black Hawk Down than Independence Day. The first trailer came out last Friday, and it looks like they’re delivering.
Neil: Oh yeah, baby. We’re looking good. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud, I’m gonna stick my chest out as big as I can. I mean, I’ve seen most of it, and it is just like nothing you’ve ever seen before in terms of the structure of a movie with aliens in it.
YBMW: Yeah. So what’s the feel of the movie that you got from what you’ve seen of it so far?
Neil: It’s a war movie.
YBMW: So before an invasion movie, it’s a war movie first and foremost?
[singlepic=21841,320,240,,right]Neil: Definitely a war movie. If you watch our trailer, it isn’t about the stars, it is about the story. You don’t really know who everybody is. You’re watching Aaron Eckhart, Bridget Moynahan, Ne-Yo, me, Cory Hardrict, Adetokumboh M’Cormack, you’re seeing all these actors, but you don’t see them. What you’re seeing is Marines… And a battle. And Los Angeles. And that’s it.
That’s what the movie’s about. It’s not about one particular person, it’s truly an ensemble piece. They worked so hard to turn us into real Marines, that the movie just looks like a war movie. It just looks like a war movie, and who are we fighting? Aliens. Have you ever done that before? Fought aliens? You know, as a Marine. And they’re like, “No! I’ve fought insurgents.” “Alright, well I know it’s tough, but you gotta treat these guys just like insurgents.”
So we’re fighting them not unlike we fought, like we’re fighting over in Iraq and Afghanistan and stuff like that. We use the same type of gear, the same weapons. We’re a lot of veterans from the Echo 2/5 which is the Marine company that we were part of and our motto is “Retreat, Hell! We just got here.” So, throughout the entire filming process one of the actors could literally just walk on and say “2/5” and then you would hear anywhere from 6 to 12 Marines yell out “retreat hell! We Just Got here!” It was just that whole camaraderie that made the movie stick together so well. And that’s why the trailer looks like that. Because it is essentially a war movie.
YBMW: So what can you tell us about your role in the movie?
Neil: Um, I play Richard Motown Guerrero. Fast talking, sharp-shooting son of a bitch, basically. He’s the best shot in the Echo 2/5 And he carries a much larger weapon. He doesn’t carry a a little sniper rifle. He is a crack shot. He’s tough, he’s smart, he’s quick on his feet, he’s a veteran. He has no family, except for the Echo 2/5 company, the Marines, they’re his family. He’s into music and they make that a point in the film. He makes radio mixes and stuff. And he goes through a process of learning in the film which culminates with you feeling (hopefully) very strongly about him. He’s a good guy, but he’s witty. And he has a sharp tongue; he has a sharp eye and he has a sharper tongue.
YBMW: How would you rank ‘Battle: Los Angeles against all other alien invasion movies?
Neil: Well, my two favorite movies would be this movie and ‘Aliens’. These two movies… The feeling that I got when I watched ‘Aliens’, is how I get with ‘Battle Los Angeles.’
YBMW: We know you love playing video games and that one of your favorites is Modern Warfare. Did your training for the movie make you better at the game?
[singlepic=21840,320,240,,left]Neil: You know what? It did but for a completely different reason. It made me understand urban warfare. If you play the game a certain way, it’ll respond the way it should. If you keep your movements quick and keep moving smoothly, and not erratic. Smooth is fast, that’s what our master Sergeant always told us. On Set, I was whooping everybody’s ass when we would get off of work, on Modern Warfare. That was why I became a better shot, because I got a lot more practice. I turned Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Peña, Ramon Rodriguez, everybody. I turned them all into video game fanatics. As a matter of fact, they all went out and bought systems.
I got them started, and they would get so mad because they couldn’t win. You know they’d come inside and play local play with me, and I’d just mark them. It was easy. I would wreck them every time they got out. And did I go easy them? Hell no! Why would I? You know?
YBMW: What were the special effects like on the film?
Neil: Oh, man, it’s a huge special effects movie, but the thing of it is, is it’s not in LA. Because the only thing about it is is that we have to have a backdrop of LA, but we filmed it in Louisiana. So you’ve gotta have CGI just because of that.
[singlepic=21842,320,240,,right]Neil: But, most of its real. For example, we’re not in a CGI helicopter. We’re not on the ground. Put it that way. We are up in the air in a real copter. We’re there. Those explosions? They’re real. The big ones, that are close to us and everything. Like we blew up a gas station with tons of gasoline and TNT. You can’t do in LA. So that’s why we didn’t film it here. You can’t just go around blowing up gas stations in Los Angeles, California. Traffic would be a bitch on the 101.
They had a huge green screen, like a 90-foot one at one point going over the backdrop of the highway where we did a lot of fighting. We had this huge fight scene on the freeway. And other than that, it’s a much more intimate movie than it seems. It goes quick, but the camera really is in there with the marines and the other actors.