Liam Neeson Takes the Helm of Universal's ‘Battleship’

The Oscar-nominated actor will play a naval officer whose daughter is engaged to star Taylor Kitsch

Liam Neeson has come aboard Peter Berg's "Battleship" just as Universal begins production on the big-budget board game adaptation today.

Neeson will play Admiral Shane, a high-ranking official whose physical therapist daughter (Brooklyn Decker) is engaged to a young naval officer played by Taylor Kitsch.

"True Blood's" Alexander Skarsgard co-stars as Kitsch's older brother, while Rihanna will play a weapons specialist aboard the USS John Paul Jones with Kitsch's character.

Hamish Linklater is also set to appear in the film as a scientist.

Scott Stuber is producing with Berg and his Film 44 partner Sarah Aubrey, as well as Duncan Henderson and Hasbro's Brian Goldner and Bennett Schneir.

Jon and Erich Hoeber wrote the original screenplay, which has since been revised by Brian Koppelman and David Levien ("Rounders").

Jeffrey Kirschenbaum and Anikah McLaren are overseeing the project for the studio.

The sci-fi-tinged action-adventure movie is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 18, 2012.

Neeson recently starred in "Clash of the Titans" and "The A-Team." He next stars opposite Russell Crowe in Paul Haggis' thriller "The Next Three Days," and is set to reprise his voice role as Aslan in "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader." Neeson also has "Unknown White Male" coming out next year, and he's currently in talks to re-team with his "A-Team" director Joe Carnahan for the survival drama "The Grey."

Neeson is represented by CAA.