The first movie I literally ever made in my life was about two guys playing Stratego with each other. I had all my friends dressing up like the military characters in the game. So 'Battleship' is really my second board game turned movie!
I somewhere along the way became fascinated with exploring characters who are willing to put themselves into violent situations, whether it's football, hockey, boxing, being a cop, being a soldier. There's not a lot of people who are willing to put themselves into those situations.
People know I love to shoot action and that I'm not afraid of emotion.
You might make a lot of money, but it's very hard to get out from under that rug. The more you can reinvent yourself, the better - and unfortunately TV is designed not to let you redesign yourself.
I did not want 'Battleship' to be perceived as an American war film. I wanted to do everything I could to make the film accessible to a global audience. It felt like bringing an alien component to the film would help take the American jingoism out of it.
Truth is, we offered it to Tom Hanks, which pretty much every movie in America does, but Tom passed. Billy Bob said that Hanks recently called and said he's voting for all of us for Oscars, he loved the film.
I've spent enough time with soldiers to know that once they get to know you and they loosen up and become themselves, they are some of the biggest hams and most charismatic, cocky, fun, humorous guys I've ever met.
What first caught my eye about Rihanna was an interview she did with Diane Sawyer after the Chris Brown incident, where she was very articulate, very poised, obviously a smart girl who talked about a very traumatic experience.
I've been a big believer in musicians turned actor, going back to Sinatra winning the Oscar for 'From Here To Eternity.' David Bowie in 'Man Who Fell to Earth,' Kris Kristofferson's been great in a bunch of films. Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey, I thought was great in 'Precious.
I've had great success and I've had catastrophic failure. It's really how you handle the rough stuff that defines you, I think.
I believe that anything in this world is fair game for a creative exercise.
There's a picture of the real Coach Gary Gaines in the book and he's sitting in the locker room after a game, and he just looks so much like Billy Bob, that we went to him.
The big fun in 'Battleship' is that there are no current battleships in the Navy today. The battleships are about 1,000 feet long and they have huge guns. They were what you saw in WWII. The last battleship that was used was the Missouri, which is what the Japanese surrendered to.
I had great luck with Tim McGraw twice in 'Friday Night Lights' and 'The Kingdom.' I love finding off-beat casting and finding someone you know in one way and you reinvent them in another way. I like doing that as a director.
I'm pretty upfront about my love and admiration for the military. One of the perks of making movies is that you get to sort of follow your own passions, and I believe quite passionately that we don't pay enough attention and respect to our veterans. Not just our wounded veterans, but all veterans.