THUNDER LEVIN, Writer/Director
American Warships (formerly American Battleship )
Mutant Vampire Zombies from the ‘Hood
1) So,Umm…Your first name give you much trouble in school or life ?
Well, sure, it’s hard to just walk up to someone and introduce myself. It’s not like “Hi, I’m Joe”, you know? You say “Hi, I’m Thunder”, it’s always followed by “I’m sorry, what’s your name?” And then of course either they make a dumb joke about “where’s Lightning?” or at the very least they ask if my parents were hippies, or something like that. And for the record, my parents tried to be hippies, but only got as far as naming their son Thunder and buying some land near Woodstock before they went back to being boring middle class. And no, I don’t have a brother named Lightning or a sister named Cloud. Interestingly enough, I didn’t really get teased about my first name in school, but once kids found out my middle name (Duncan) they teased me about that. I guess because they realized I didn’t like it.
At the risk of biting the hand that feeds me, I think mock-busters are generally a bad idea. The entire industry has become obsessed with recycling old material when there’s a plethora of great original material going unproduced. I’d much rather do an original story than a remake or sequel, so doing a mockbuster of something that’s already a remake or sequel, or based on a game, strikes me as redundant. But I’m not at the point where I can turn down a paying gig, so I approached American Battleship as a movie unto itself. I’ve purposely avoided everything to do with the Liam Neeson movie. I haven’t watched the trailer, or anything else related to it. The guys at the Asylum just asked me to pitch them a movie called “Battleships” and I took it from there. Now along the way, they asked me to make the bad guys aliens, but I didn’t know that the studio film had aliens in it until much later.
Hmm. I prefer the working conditions of writing. Working at home in your pajamas is very pleasant. But seeing someone else “interpret” your work can be incredibly frustrating. And directing brings a certain godlike omnipotence with it that I find very appealing. But the hours suck.
Well, I had perfected my cloak of invisibility and was trying it out for a decade or so.
5) One Sentence Descriptions-Mario Van Peebles is a talented actor and a true gentleman, He was very supportive and helpful on the set and I really enjoyed working with him. C. Thomas Howell is a dedicated craftsman and a riot to work with. Carl Weathers is a god amongst men. Johanna Watts… To say that Johanna is both talented and beautiful would be true, but also entirely insufficient. She’s one of the warmest, most sensitive, most insightful people it’s ever been my pleasure to know. And I feel lucky to call her my friend. Tristan Rogers is someone I worked with very briefly a long time ago.
Obviously you haven’t seen Mutant Vampire Zombies From The ‘Hood!. I wrote some far more questionable things into that!
8-‘Worst’ of the THUNDER on/off film set ?
I don’t know how to answer these.
This film has nothing to do with the board game, so comparisons would be pointless. As for the Liam Neeson movie, seems to me they should be worried about how they’ll compare to American Battleship! 😉
Director Thunder Levin with Star Mario Van Pebbles on set of American Battleship.