Adrianne Palicki and Josh Peck battled one of Hollywood’s biggest monsters for action remake “Red Dawn”: the threat of casualty, after MGM imploded and it and “Cabin in the Woods” were shelved indefinitely. “Poor Chris” Hemsworth, as Peck called him in our recent interview, were in both.
FilmDistrict picked “Red Dawn” back up again; the invaders in the film were changed from Chinese to North Korean so it could get release in China; and actors like Peck and Palicki continued to be cast in roles outside their known TV realms, in Nickelodeon’s “Drake & Josh” and “Friday Night Lights,” respectively.
“Red Dawn” has finally broken. Palicki’s got “G.I. Joe: Retalitiation” on the horizon, as Lady J, and Peck will be putting down his gun and breaking down instead in “Battle of the Year.”
Below, we discuss remaking the film, the controversy surrounding the race and plot changes and what it takes to never play a teenager again.
I would consider you both to be experts on playing teenagers from far away.
Adrianne Palicki: (Long sigh) I can't do it anymore.
Do you feel like there's a right and wrong way to play teenagers in films?
Adrianne Palicki: I don't know. It's just so – I haven't been a teenager for so long, but it's – and it's so different now. I just know I can't physically play one anymore. It's that weird thing in Hollywood I played like older than my age on a TV series and I had like a child that was seven years old or something. It's amazing the minute I did that people wouldn't see me for under 25 all of the sudden.
You've successfully gone over the edge.
Adrianne Palicki: I'm finally an adult.
Josh Peck: I still have that problem. Man, I need a kid.
I read somebody referring to “Red Dawn” as like your second “grown-up film,” after “The Wackness,” Josh. With each step, does it feels like you're getting beyond what your previous role was? How people best knew you for those four seasons, five seasons of your life on “Drake & Josh”
Josh Peck: I think TV is an interesting animal because when people welcome you into their home, they feel like you're theirs. They become so familiar with seeing you in this way and if it's a normal network series, it's 22 episodes a year. So it's like 22 hours or it's 11 hours of seeing you as this character every year. I can understand why it's hard for people to see you outside of that, and that's the tough transition and some people do it really successfully and some people not as much, but it's great. I'm so glad that I'm being allowed to do this and I feel like I'm still a little bit in it but I'm sort of at the tail end of that transition I guess they would say.
Did you have some family potlucks and things to kind of prepare yourselves for your roles as brothers and sisters and sons and daughters? Did you guys have a family bonding?
Adrianne Palicki: Well we were kind of thrown together like the Wolverines in a weird way. We had – some of us had never even met and we were thrown into military camp and we were really supposed to like to hold our own against all these military guys who were shooting at us, in real life. And it was a close bond that formed right away 'cause it had to and I think that's pretty much the basis of the movie. So by the time we came to shooting, we're all pretty close after that.
Josh Peck: There were definitely some late night dinners at Benihana.
What was your experience and view of the original? When was the first time you saw it? When was the first time when you realized kind of what your roles were in it?
Josh Peck: I hadn’t seen it 'til after we shot the movie. And I would have probably been too intimidated by Sheen and all his glory if I had seen it before. So it benefited me…
Adrianne Palicki: I saw the movie right after I booked the role 'cause I was like I had never seen it before. I wanted to go into it knowing what I was up against and what I was doing. I mean, I love the movie; I can see why people loved it so much. And it's nerve-wracking. I think the way that this movie came across was – it wasn't really as much of a remake as it was its own spin on the original, so.
What do you feel like this movie brings to the original idea, aside from being a tribute or being its own spin? What exactly does that mean?
Adrianne Palicki: Well, so much is different. I mean, you have this group of characters and some of them have the same names, and it is – the core is about these group of kids who have to defend their land and their homes. But the bad guys are different. The special effects are different. The places are different. There's a lot of differences between the two. You probably could have called it something else and it could have been something else, but it really – the core is that these kids are the ones who are taking over and kicking ass.
You use the term “bad guys” and it's really interesting because it's such a loaded term now, who the villain is. That changed from being Chinese to North Koreans and Russians. Do you have any mixed feelings about making bad guys out of entire nation in this film?
Josh Peck: I think, you know, in many ways it was sort of unavoidable on some level, trying to remake this film and giving it a legitimate enemy that seemed plausible without pissing someone off. And I think there's always a choice that can be made and do you want to make it completely fantasy based and create some nation that doesn't exist or some opposing force and then give it a name and empower it. That was one way that we could have gone but to say somewhat true to the story it was like how do we make the movie that resonated so much in the '80s resonate now, and it was inevitably just making the enemy as plausible as possible. So, but yeah, it's definitely dangerous and it's going to stir up some controversy, without a doubt. I don't know.