A singer at heart, Ne-Yo takes time to discuss his role in “Battle: Los Angeles,” premiering tomorrow. This film is unlike previous apocalyptic films, bringing a different style to this wildly successful genre of movies.
The Daily Aztec: How does it feel to make the transition from your music career to your acting career?
Ne-Yo: Well let me start by saying that I have not abandoned music nor do I plan to at all. You know, music runs through my veins. Acting, though it’s fun and I have a respect for it, is just an interesting hobby for me right now that I’m trying. I believe in expansion and growth, you know, trying new things. You try something out, you find out that you’re pretty good at it then you keep going. You know, that’s how I think. So acting is just another way of expressing myself.
DA: How did you prepare yourself for your role as a marine? It’s quite different from your previous movie roles.
Ne-Yo: To be completely honest with you, I didn’t have to do much self-preparation at all. The people that put the movie together had all the preparation ready for it. We trained with actual marines for a good three weeks. We had a gunnery sergeant, a master sergeant and a sergeant major there. They were basically training us as if we were real, live marines. We were really at boot camp trying to become marines, which was a little difficult to say the least. Waking up at five or six in the morning, jogging three to six miles everyday, calisthenics and eating that disgusting food. It was terrible. But it was worth it, because at the end of the day, when you see the film, we look like actual marines, and that was the goal; to make sure that when the movie came out, that a marine, a seasoned marine, could go see this and go, “OK yeah, they know what they’re doing.” So yeah, they trained us as if we were really about to go to war.
DA: What about “Battle: Los Angeles” was attractive to you?
Ne-Yo: I’m always a person looking for a first. I always want to challenge myself, I want to try something else. To stay in your comfort zone is to guarantee that you’re going to live a very, very long life. But, you may live a long, boring life. Who wants to live forever? I don’t. So I decided to try something I’ve never tried before. They said, ‘you could play a marine,’ and they said it’d be a very physical, hands-on role. I was all for it, I was like, “You know what? Let’s go.” I got a couple bumps and bruises to walk away with but at the end of the day I did a damn good job.
DA: What do you think your role brings to the movie?
Ne-Yo: Harris is engaged, he’s about to be married. He used to be kind of a playboy guy, an ex-football player who hurt himself so he joined the marines, just to still feel that sense of camaraderie. I hate to say it, but women never really mattered that much to him, until he met his fiancée. Girls used to throw themselves at him when he was a football player, but now that he’s in the marines, he’s just another guy. He met this girl and she treated him just like some other guy. That’s what attracted him to her; she wasn’t falling all over him.
DA: There have been a lot of end-of-the-world type movies. What does this movie have that others don’t?
Ne-Yo: What does this movie have? This movie has heart. The difference with this movie is that there is a lot of attention paid to the characters. In a lot of these end-of-the-world films, you don’t get to know the characters well enough to give a damn about the fact that the world is ending. You don’t care, you just want to see something explode or see the Statue of Liberty fall over. With this film, you actually get to see what’s going on in the characters’ lives before all of this happened, to the point that you give a damn about the character. That’s the one thing that a lot of cataclysmic, destructive films lack. They get so caught up in all the destruction that they forget about setting up the characters. They forget about the human element involved.