Paul Gross: I was fired from ‘Battleship’

North Stars
May 25, 2012

Paul Gross has opened up about Hollywood sinking his "Battleship."

Two years ago the 53-year-old Canadian actor was quietly fired from his screenwriting gig after being hired to rewrite Rihanna's first feature film. Gross was taken on by director Peter Berg (they go way back, having co-starred in "Aspen Extreme" in 1993), along with fellow Alberta-born writer John Krizanc, with whom he revised the screenplay originally written by Jon and Erich Hoeber.

See more: Lessons from the 'Battleship' fallout

Gross attended studio meetings, saw alien models and was witness to multimillion dollar budget discussions about the board game adaptation. And then one day the "Passchendaele" star suddenly found himself out of the picture.

"I said to Pete, 'Are we fired?'" Gross told the National Post. "He said 'No, no. The studio is just asking you to put down your pens for awhile.'"

But the actor, who rose to fame on "Due South," appeared to be pretty clear about his job going sour, even if Tinseltown wasn't.

"Hollywood cannot bring itself to fire anybody," he said. "So they invent all these euphemisms for what's happened."

"Battleship" opened last Friday and bombed at the box office, so perhaps it's a blessing that after discussions with the Writers Guild of America, the film's studio decided to only give writing credits to the Hoebers.

See more: Five film facts about 'Battleship'

Gross didn't seem too upset and admitted the whole exercise was "complicated" for him because he had to take into account action sequences that were already choreographed.

"So you're writing in and around stuff that doesn't necessarily make any sense but has to be there," he said. "It's a weird exercise. It's creative in the same way writing a limerick is. You have to come up with something but with very rigid boundaries. It was kind of fun. I don't regret it, but it was weird."

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