By Rych McCain; Twitter@rychmccain and Facebook
Doing a remake of a classic cult movie can be risky business especially, if it is made during the lifetime of the original fans. The original RED DAWN movie was released in 1984 starring Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Grey, C. Thomas Howell, Darren Dalton, Brad Savage and Powers Booth. It was a box office smash and now in 2012 comes the re-make starring Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, Connor Cruise and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. This time around instead of the Russians coming, the North Koreans invade. As the soldiers are dropping out of the sky and pulling up in the tanks, a small group of students from the same high school evades capture and hold up in the woods where they form an insurgent fighting group which they named “The Wolverines” taken from their high school mascot.
Two of the Wolverines are Toni, played by Adrianne Palicki and Matt Eckert played by Josh Peck. Palicki may best be known as town vixen Tyra Collette on the top rated NBC drama “Friday Night Lights.” Palicki will also star as “Lady Jaye’ in the much anticipated “G.I. Joe Retaliation” with Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson which will be released in 2013. Peck has made a seamless transition from his child star acting days from Nickelodeon’s “Drake & Josh” to adult leading man with roles in films like “The Wackness,” “Mean Creak,” the voice over character of Sparks in “Ice Age” and others.
When we got the two together to talk about the re-make Of “Red Dawn,” the excitement in the air was titillating. For Palicki, how was the transition from being the sexually loose town vixen to becoming an ass kicking soldier? She laughs, “It’s fun. I’m an actor. To be known as a hooker by night and a bad ass by day, it’s pretty cool.” The cast had to endure a real military style boot camp to prepare for this film. What was Palicki’s experience like? Her eyes light up. “A lot of us didn’t know each other before this and we all kind of showed up at 6 o’clock in the morning, in the middle of nowhere, in the valley at this boot camp not knowing what to expect. And we all had the exact same experience. We all had to start from scratch and we pretty much became the Wolverines because the tactical training is how we became friends.” Did she get hit with the pellets from the guns? Palicki takes a breath, “Oh yeah! I have scars still on my hands. Poor Julian, his entire back was bleeding through his shirt. It really did put the fear of God in you. They weren’t real bullets thank God, but it gave you some since of that fear if someone was actually shooting at you.”
The original “Red Dawn” still has lots of devoted followers. Did this translate to any pressure on the new film? Peck reminisces, “Fans and viewers of “Red Dawn” are weirdly protective of this film. As soon as it came up in any sort of conversation they would be like ‘chill out on my movie bro.’ Careful, this movie means a lot to me friend. So I knew immediately that this was not to be taken lightly. But knowing the components of the people involved between the cast and our director Dan, I knew that it was all people that would pay proper homage to the original. And we cared about not only contributing to the original but also utilized certain new opportunities that were afforded with twenty-five years plus of new technologies and new techniques in capturing action and what not. So I felt like we were a cause for good.”
As far as a young actor fulfilling his ambition, especially in action films, what is Peck take on the experience? He’s all smiles, “It’s pretty great. I mean just being able to do what I love everyday and be part of a small percentage of actors. Adrianne and I actually live out here and get to do this job. It’s a great gift! And in respect for something as cool as this which is total wish fulfillment, boyhood fantasy come true, it’s pretty awesome. I’m just glad that no one’s pulled the plug on me yet.”