Taylor Kitsch, who played Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, has been tapped to portray Naval Commander Alex Hopper, a high-spirited officer who is a much better seaman than politician in Universal’s film based on the Hasbro game Battleship.  Kitsch is currently shooting John Carter of Mars in London.  He is playing Edgar Rice Burroughs’ eponymous hero in what will certainly be a major science fiction “tentpole” release in 2011.

Now Kitsch has also enlisted in Battleship, another major production with science fiction overtones.  The film re-teams him with director Peter Berg, who produced the Friday Night Lights TV series that helped bring Kitsch to prominence.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, the script for Battleship by Erich and Jon Hoeber has “drawn heat from some quarters” for introducing science fiction elements, namely an alien invasion, into what was, in its original format, strictly a game of naval combat.