Liam Neeson plays Admiral Shane in the action film "Battleship" and the actor explained that although most of the film's action was created from the green screen set, it did take much of a stretch to get into character on set.
Neeson and many of the cast shot their scenes on the USS Missouri, a decommissioned battleship which was where the Empire of Japan surrendered on to end World War II. The USS Missouri was decommissioned in 1992 and now a museum ship at Perl Harbor, Hawaii.
"Pretty jaw-dropping when you see this thing for the first time," Neeson said of the battleship set in an interview provided by Universal Pictures. "To think that, I mean history was created not just in battles that the thing took part in but the Japanese surrendered on board this ship. It's pretty intense."
"So as an actor you don't really have to use your imagination, it's just all here," he added. "It's all there."
"Battleship" is based on the popular board game of the same name. In the film, an international fleet of ships on earth come in contact with a fleet of alien ships who attempt to take over the planet. "Battleship" also stars Rihanna, Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard and Brooklyn Decker.
Neeson's character is the father of Samantha Shane (Brooklyn Decker), a physical therapist who falls for Lieutenant Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), a US Navy Tactical Action Officer with a rebellious streak.
Neeson is the father of two sons with his late wife, actress Natasha Richardson. The actor had many positive things to say about his on-screen daughter, played by model turned actress Decker.
"As you know, I'm the father of a few boys and I know the extent of love that I have for them," Neeson said about getting into his character's mindset. "So I tried to imagine that doubled for a girl, to have a daughter."
"She's a very, very striking, very beautiful girl and we seemed to hit it off too," he said of Decker. "I think we had a good relationship, a father daughter relationship."
This film also stars Gregory D. Gadson, who plays a veteran and double amputee named Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales. Gadson served as colonel in the U.S. Army for over 20 years and is a double amputee and motivational speaker. "Battleship" is his acting debut.
"I had to present a medal to him, his character is called Mick, and they helped up on the stage, the platform and as he walked towards me when the camera was turning he had a look in his eyes that was like -- wasn't acting," Neeson said. "It was -- this man's been through a lot and suffered incredible injuries for his country and yet there was this incredible defiance and dignity and power. Made me feel very proud and quite intimidated too."
The 59-year-old actor went on to describe what his character faces in the film. "This is a young punk who wants to take my daughter's hand in marriage but he has to, in my eyes, he has to prove himself," he said. "[Kitsch's character is] a very, very smart individual but, as I say to him, he's very, very weak in his character and his leadership and decision making qualities that leaves a lot to be desired."
Neeson was born in North Ireland and got his start in films like "Excalibur," "The Bounty" and "The Mission." Neeson is best known for his work in "Schindler's List," and later went on to star in action films like "Star Wars: Episode I," "Batman Begins," "Taken," "Unknown" and "The Gray."
The actor set to reprise his role as Henri Ducard, aka the villain Ra's Al Ghul, in the new Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises." The film, which is the third in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, hits theaters on July 20. He will also star the sequel to "Taken" called "Taken 2."
"Battleship" hit theaters on May 18. Check out the trailer below.
Additional reporting by Rachel Smith, host of KABC Television's entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).