WonderCon 2012: Peter Berg and Brooklyn Decker talk aliens, Rihanna and the Battleship board game


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“Battleship” was one of the many films that sailed into WonderCon on Saturday to show off some of its nerd cred. Following the panel, IFC participated in a group interview with director Peter Berg and star Brooklyn Decker to talk about the project, which hits theaters May 18.

The conversation covered a range of topics, but one of the more interesting elements discussed was the role the aliens play in “Battleship.” We also talked about Rihanna’s first time on the big screen, the mini “Friday Night Lights” reunion going on in the film and the various nods within the movie to the Battleship board game.

In the middle of the interview, Berg and Decker even acted out of one of the movie’s big ocean action scenes using the various voice recorders lying on the table. It is impossible to transcribe, unfortunately, but was wonderful to behold. Keep reading for some of the interesting talking points discussed during the interview.

There’s a lot more to the invading aliens than meets the eye
“There’s a lot that we’re not giving away, but I don’t like alien films where you don’t get to see the aliens. We spent a lot of time and money, frankly, designing what I think are awesome aliens,” Berg explained. “To us, the aliens are characters, they aren’t just sort of generic killing machines. They behave. They clearly have feelings for each other. They rescue each other when one of them’s in trouble. They didn’t come here to fight.”

And that’s something that’s really interesting about the film. The aliens aren’t mindless bad guys, and the humans are actually the instigators.

“They don’t act unless acted upon. Everything they do is reactionary and sort of in defense, and so they’re not really out to attack us, they’re more researching. They come down initially to find out more about our planet,” she explained. “It definitely adds kind of an interesting dynamic. They’re not just these mercenaries that come to our planet. There’s a lot more to it.”

Berg elaborated, “We actually kind of started the fight. So I think it was important for me, knowing there would be inherent skepticism or comparisons to other alien films, to kind of do our best to quickly get in front of that and say, ‘Look, you may or may not respond to it, but I think you will judge it as something unique.’ It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen.”

Just don’t think we’ll end up sympathizing with the aliens like we do in, say, “District 9.” But it does apparently come close to that. “I think we push it right up to that edge, yeah,” Berg said. “I don’t know that you’ll feel sorry for them, because they are quite violent. At the end of the day, they did come here to check this planet out. If it’s of interest to them, they’re going to do whatever they can to take it, and they’re pretty fierce if they need to be. But we actually start the fight.”

Don’t worry, “Battleship” isn’t sappy and romantic
“The film is not a love story, the film is an action film. These two characters [Taylor Kitsch and Decker] do love each other and very quickly in the film we introduce sort of an issue. And that issue is her father, played by Liam [Neeson], and they’ve had this agreement that on this day before Taylor sets out to engage in these naval exercises, he’s going to man up and ask his permission to marry Brooklyn and Taylor’s terrified of Liam and sort of self-sabotages it and ends up getting in a bunch of trouble and ends up not asking the question,” Berg said. “So we separate them with a fairly substantial amount of conflict, and throughout the film Taylor’s desire to get back and make it right is something that certainly a healthy component of the film. But we haven’t remade ‘The Vow’ or ‘The Notebook.'”

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar


IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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