May 6, 2012 |
On a clear, windless morning in January, director Peter Berg climbed from a U.S. Navy helicopter onto the deck of this 9,200-ton destroyer steaming north off the coast of San Diego and hurried to the bridge to meet the ship's commanding officer, Tate Westbrook. "I was told you'd know your way around one of these about as well as I do," Westbrook said to Berg as the director toured the vessel, taking in its torpedo tubes, sonar systems and the compact quarters for 300 sailors. Berg, 50, has spent a good chunk of his life around the military, first as the son of a Marine who was an avid Naval historian, then while embedded with Navy SEALs in Iraq to research a film and most recently as the director of the naval board game-inspired action movie "Battleship," which opens in U.S. theaters May 18. As any child who has ever sunk an opponent's plastic submarine can attest, Battleship is a simple, grid-style guessing game, with no narrative arc or characters.