By Ismael Velez Jr.
Growing up, I always wanted to see myself up on the big screen. So, of course, when Battleship casting called, I jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know that I was going to be standing next to my fiancé’s favorite True Blood vampire for two weeks.
Meeting the director, Peter Berg, and the cast was an experience. Peter was so energetic, and so wanting to get the authenticity of the Navy right, that 90% of all extras in uniform, were Navy personnel.
I always heard that actors had it easy, that acting was nothing but saying a few words, smile, say a few more words, cry, and then leave. After grueling hours of standing in the sun in white, I realized that acting was hard work. During these two weeks, I had the opportunity to “coin” Peter Berg, Alexander Skarsgård and Taylor Kitsch, and to meet pop star, Rhianna and acting legend, Liam Neeson. For those of you who have never served in the military, the feeling a member of the military has when receiving one of these challenge coins is indescribable. These coins hold a lot of meaning to them and are kept close to their hearts. They hold an immeasurable feeling of pride of honor within them. Therefore, when Peter Berg “coined” me, I was in shock.
Watching Alexander Skarsgård and Taylor Kitsch in uniform, made me feel special. It made me feel like, “Wow, these guys are going to make the Navy look good, therefore, I will look good”. They were both so down to Earth and approachable. Rhianna and Jesse Plemons gave the Navy the spunk that it has been missing since 9/11. Seeing Liam Neeson was amazing, but hearing him talk, was like hearing God speak.
Again, my time on Battleship was great. The cast and crew were great. Peter Berg was awesome, and I wish this film all the success in the world. And to Peter Berg, I will cherish your Battleship/Film 44 coin forever.
[editor's note- to find out more on the long military tradition of Challenge Coins go to Coins to learn more. And as the proud daughter of a career Army man, I want to thank Ismael Velez Jr. both for his story and his service to our country. We can never do enough for you.]
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