Ever since SDCC 2010, one of my must-see flicks for this year has been Battle: Los Angeles, the alien invasion flick starring Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, and Bridget Moynahan. So when I had to opportunity to speak with Cory Hardrict, who also stars in the flick, I jumped at the opportunity to interview the up-and-coming actor who chatted about his experiences becoming an alien-fighting Marine and gave us a little tease of what we can expect from another upcoming genre project he stars in entitled The Day.
In Battle: Los Angeles, Hardrict (who horror fans may remember from Tim Sullivan’s 2006 flick Driftwood) portrays Cpl. Jason Lockett, a role the actor says hit very close to home.
“I knew that playing Jason was going to require a lot of realism because he’s an emotional and passionate kind of guy,” explained Hardrict. “The way he was written really hit home for me- his character goes through a lot of things I went through in my own life, like losing family members, so I would just draw on my own experiences and use them when I was on set. It was kind of rough to do that, but I think it helped my performance.”
“The funny thing is, I didn’t even know what role I got until I went to the first costume fitting. But as soon as I got there, they told me I was Jason. I started jumping up and down because I was so excited. I had read the script a few more times up to that point and I loved that dude so much so I was glad to have the opportunity to play him,” Hardrict added.
To get everyone prepared to fight off an epic alien invasion military style, director Jonathan Liebesman sent the cast down to The Bayou State for a few grueling weeks of boot camp. Hardrict found the experience harrowing but necessary to get the right performances in Battle: Los Angeles.
“Jonathon had us all enroll in boot camp in Louisiana for three weeks, and the moment I got through the gate, everything felt very real to me,” explained Hardrict. “I knew from minute one that I was going to be pushed like I’ve never been pushed before, and I was so ready for it. They gave us all military haircuts as soon as we all got there, and we were trained by real Marine drill sergeants the entire time. They had us put up our own tents, we’d slept outside for weeks, had to wash our laundry by hand and went through all the basic and weapons training that real Marine recruits would go through.”
“I only kind of hesitated about taking on this role once, and that was while I was in boot camp, but I realized that this was the kind of role you dream about. I love big concept, high action movies, and I realized all of the pain was just temporary and completely worth it,” Hardrict added.
Even though his training time got him ready, Hardrict said there was nothing quite like the experience of being on set and going through the rigorous shoot for real. “Making this movie was a very physical experience for me; I even have some battle scars to prove it. Even though we used some green screen environments when making Battle: Los Angeles, nothing about making it in that environment felt fake at all to me. Jonathan was an amazing director ,and he made sure that wherever we were shooting, we felt like we were really there.”
“When it comes out and the audiences will see our guys with blood on them, sweat pouring down their faces and tears in their eyes, I can tell them that all of it was real blood, sweat and tears. It just had to be with a movie like this. I honestly think this was the hardest gig I’ve had in my life, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way,” Hardrict added.
And with Battle: Los Angeles slated to be released this March in theaters, the actor is also looking forward to another genre-esque feature’s release later this year as well- the apocalyptic thriller The Day, which also stars Shawn Ashmore and Dominic Monaghan. Hardrict, who insisted he must remain tight-lipped about the project, did give a small tease for fans.
“I can’t say too much about The Day because we really want to keep it under wraps, but what I can say is that it’s an apocalyptic war movie unlike anything you’ve seen before. The closest comparison I can come up with is Book of Eli meets The Road. I can’t say too much else because that ruins the experience, but I do think fans will be blown away once it’s released and they get to see it for themselves,” Hardrict said.
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