Film Critic Debbie Lynn Elias was able to speak with actors Adrianne Palicki and Josh Peck who portray Matt and Toni in the newest film remake Red Dawn.
Prior to being cast, neither Palicki nor Peck had seen the original RED DAWN. According to Palicki, “Of course I knew a lot about it, especially from my guy friends who, when I told them I was doing the movie were upset, but happy, and like ‘Don’t **** it up!’ I decided to watch it after I booked the role. I wanted to know what to expect and actually see what everybody is so crazy about. I saw why. I think the movie that we did is not so much a remake as it is a reboot. There’s a lot of elements from the first one but there’s definitely our own twist on it. Dan Bradley did his own twist on it. New cast. New bad guy. Good special effects.” Peck waited until after shooting before seeing the original. “It was just one of those things where I met with Dan [Bradley] and I read the script and I knew I was immediately intrigued. Just by chance that I hadn’t already seen it, I knew there was going to be elements that I loved about it and I think it’s hard to avoid some sort of mimicry or trying to imitate certain things that you love, so I didn’t see it until we were done. But I watched it the night we were finished and I really understood why people loved it so much.”
Understandably, much of the fan base of the original RED DAWN, have already expressed concerns about the film being rebooted. Peck candidly notes that, “Fans of the original RED DAWN are weirdly protective of the film. As soon as it came up in any sort of conversation, they’d be like ‘Chill out on my movie, bro! Be careful. This movie means a lot to me, friend.’ So I knew this was not to be taken lightly.” But Peck is confident this reboot will satisfy even the most diehard of fans. “Knowing the components and the people involved between the cast and our director, Dan, I knew that it was all people that would proper homage to the original and really cared about making a film that not only gave tribute to the original but also utilized the new opportunities we’re afforded with 25+ years of new technology, new techniques in capturing action and whatnot. I felt like we were a cause for good.”
Part of that good means a lot of action, which is what makes Dan Bradley the perfect director for Palicki. “One of the prerequisites of being in this film – one of the questions I was asked – was, ‘Are you willing to do your own stunts?’ It’s partly what makes [Dan] such a brilliant action director. He prefers to use the actors in a stunt so you can actually see their face when it’s happening. It really doesn’t take you out of the film. I think that he’s brilliant at what he does and making it so safe for us; knowing that we were in great hands with the action stuff and then he turned to us and said, ‘I’m gonna turn to you guys for the acting stuff because that’s not necessarily my speciality yet’, so it was this really great collaboration.
But preparing for the action meant Army boot camp under the direction of former Marine and military training advisor on the film, Jon Barton. Being one of only several girls taking names and kicking ass, Palicki found participating in boot camp with the guys to be “really cool because a lot of us didn’t know each other before this and we all kind of show up at 6:00 o’clock in the morning in the middle of nowhere in the Valley at this boot camp, not knowing what to expect. We all had the exact same experience. We all had to start from scratch. We pretty much became the Wolverines. This tactical training is how we really came to know each other and become friends. It really worked because that’s exactly what happened with the Wolverines.” Mastering her training well, Palicki is quick to boast “I can totally kick the shit out of Josh [Peck].” And of course, while Palicki has had a lot more training since RED DAWN, in preparation for her role as Lady Jaye in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.