Video Interview: 'Battle: Los Angeles' Director Jonathan Liebesman

March 9, 2011

Jonathan Liebesman Interview

After years of promising a kick ass action flick, its time to finally unleash Battle: Los Angeles, the latest movie from South African director Jonathan Liebesman, who started in horror but has transitioned into pure action. I've known Jonathan since meeting him at Sundance years ago to talk about his film The Killing Room and have kept in touch since, following along as he got attached to and finally shot Battle: LA (down in Baton Rouge, LA). He's already in the UK preparing Clash of the Titans 2, but I caught up with Jonathan while he was in LA recently to talk about (spoiler free!) Battle: LA and making a badass sci-fi action movie.

Watch our video interview with Battle: Los Angeles director Jonathan Liebesman:

This is a follow-up to my interview with Battle: LA's lead actor Aaron Eckhart - talking about what it was like to shoot this with Liebesman. And yes, I suck at lighting my apologies, but it should still look okay. I've seen Battle: Los Angeles and I think Liebesman not only delivers an awesome sci-fi action flick, but proves he's really growing as a director and becoming better and better every movie. I always love talking with him because he's a movie lover at heart who just wants to make the kind of great films we all love seeing. I can't wait for everyone else to finally be able to experience Battle: LA this weekend - it kicks some serious ass!

Battle: Los Angeles Poster

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I kinda enjoyed Darkness Falls, and he seems very down to Earth, my excitement for this movie has increased tenfold.

Anonymous on Mar 9, 2011


Fantastic interview Alex. I'm with Xerxex, my excitement has just increased, if that is possible! What a great guy!

Everman on Mar 9, 2011


Definitely a director on his way up. Great interview, Alex.

TheDarkPlight on Mar 10, 2011


Alex I gotta a question. Is the song from the trailer featured in the film? I only ask because Johann Johannsson's "The Sun's Gone Dim And The Sky's Turned Black" set the mood for the film perfectly.

Anonymous on Mar 10, 2011


No it definitely isn't, that was just for marketing, this has its own score in the movie and everything.

Alex Billington on Mar 10, 2011


Can't say I'm surprised...oh well, how was the score in your opinion?

Anonymous on Mar 10, 2011


PG13-----------weak I'm still going to go watch it (free ticket) But i'm not expecting much from its PG13 rating.

Oyouno on Mar 10, 2011


I've not yet seen the film but when I'm reading things such as "Liebesman’s reliance on vérité camerawork soon becomes numbing. It’s like being chained to a live CNN feed for two hours" or "Apparently, he also wants you to barf up your popcorn, with a quaking camera aesthetic that’s intolerable to endure at times, with every last twitch of movement covered by a swaying frame". I can only despair at how once again how a film can be ruined before it's even begun by some under talented, crowd following hack who has to shake the camera around because they think it's cool and edgy. Really, Tony Scott has been doing this for nearly 10 years and nobody liked it then so when, oh god when, is this ridiculous trick that isn't big or clever, going to be consigned to the art w*nk bin that it so desperately needs to be placed in? I've already bought the tickets but reading the reviews and hearing of the near continual handheld photography, I'm wishing I hadn't. There's still only one South African director I have time for.

Payne by name on Mar 10, 2011


Comeee on, this is just nitpicking, finding the bad quotes just to make him look bad! Yea some people don't like him, but you know what, he's become a badass director. The shaking cam/barf issue is due to his DP, the same one from the Bourne series, but he directes a pretty kick ass sci-fi action movie. Plus I can find tons of other quotes like this: "This is a war movie, pure and simple, and there isn’t a single element of that which falls flat or even underwhelms. Jonathan Liebesman directed the hell out of every action scene in this movie, and sells every major bad ass moment it has. I’m going to see this three or four more times in a theater, big and loud, just as God intended." From: So it doesn't really matter that you pull out a few negative quotes. Let him be, Liebesman is getting better every movie, that's the damn truth.

Alex Billington on Mar 10, 2011


I'm disappointed. Battle looks amazing. But the majority of reviews say it falls short in almost every way. Now reports concerning Sucker Punch are looking grim as well. Whats going on? I thought March was going to be THE month for amazing movies. And now I'm just hoping somewhere in-between now and Harry Potter there will be at least one decent summer movie. Doesn't sound like even an R rating would've made the difference in Battle:LA. Very disappointing.

Quazzimotto on Mar 11, 2011


Liebesman TRASHED this movie. He hired a drunk camera crew who couldn't hold the cameras steady. They jerked it around and junked it just like JJ Abrams ruined CLOVERFIELD. At least George Lucus and other GREAT DIRECTORS used "steady cams". It could have been a good movie otherwisel, don't bother.

Anonymous on Mar 11, 2011


I was very frustrated with all the camera shaking throughout the whole movie, even during non-action scenes the camera kept zooming in and out and moving around... very, very, very, anoying and almost walked out of the movie but was to stupid to do so... I don't know why there is all this push to shake the camera because when people run or walk or whenever they do any activity... our brains and eyes smooth out all the shaking... any amature can film shaking the camera it does not take any special talent to have an unsteady hand... I hope that not all future action films will resort to camera shaking or I will not ever watch these movies at the theater... The screens are huge so it makes motion sickness more readily...

Garth on Mar 12, 2011


i thought it might be interesting and entertaining to see the town i grew up in being blown up an devestated. if nothing else, to see how 'believeable' the cgi effects were. quite possibly, if i had walked into the theater when the movie started, i might have had my craving satisfied. unfortunately, i got to the theater late and started seeing the movie about 50 minutes after it began (marine shooting on the streets scene). i think i could have endured the overly annoying 'shakey cam' effect if that were combined with a slow shutter (to blend better the overly moving frames). but that a fast shutter was used, almost made it seem as though lots of those scenes were shot with stroboscopic lighting. i guess im one of the few people who felt like it was a visual and brain torture to sit through such imagery. i walked out of the movie after about 20 minutes of this. it was just too visually annoying for me to sit through.

i_walked_out on Mar 13, 2011


still deciding on this

A5J4DX on Nov 13, 2018


still deciding on this

A5J4DX on Nov 13, 2018


Who wants to enlist in the army?

Llooty on Mar 20, 2011


Disastrous quality of image... please hire profesional camera or learn to use it...

Laproposicion on Mar 25, 2011

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