Interview: Josh Peck Talks About His Role in 'Red Dawn,' Written by: Karen Benardello
Recreating a cult classic action film that was the launching pad for several esteemed actors is difficult task for any director, particularly a helmer making his feature film directorial debut. But respected stunt coordinator Dan Bradley, who has coordinated stunts for the ‘Bourne’ series and Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy, effortlessly took over the reins for director John Milius, who helmed the original movie. Actor Josh Peck, who stars as one of the main characters in the new ‘Red Dawn,’ Matt Eckert, is one such person who respects Bradley’s mixture of fight sequences and the disillusion of family structure, in the remake.
‘Red Dawn’ follows Jed Eckert (played by Chris Hemsworth) upon returning home to Spokane, Washington on a leave from the Marines, as he reunites with his younger brother, Matt (portrayed by Peck), and their father, Tom (played by Brett Cullen). Since Matt would rather spend time with his girlfriend, Erica (portrayed by Isabel Lucas), then with Jed, as he still blames his older brother for leaving him after their mother died, Jed reunites with an old childhood friend, Toni (played by Adrianne Palicki). But the group quickly learns to bonds when the U.S. is invaded by North Korea. Without warning, the city finds itself prisoner under enemy occupation.
Jed then takes on the leadership role with Matt, Erica, Toni and several of their other friends, including tech geek Robert (portrayed by Josh Hutcherson); Daryl (played by Connor Cruise), the son of Spokane’s Mayor and Robert’s best friend; and Danny (portrayed by Edwin Hodge), Matt’s best friend and the star receiver of the high school football team. Taking inspiration from their high school mascot, the group calls themselves the Wolverines, and band together to protect each other, liberate their town from its captors and take back their freedom. Along the way, the Wolverines are helped by Col. Andy Tanner (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his men, who are just as determined to save America.
Peck generously took the time to sit down and discuss the filming of ‘Red Dawn’ recently at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Among other things, the actor spoke about his working relationship with Hemsworth, how he trained with Navy SEALS to prepare for the intense stunts featured in the movie and taking over the role that Charlie Sheen created in the original film.
Question (Q): Did you see the original movie before you began shooting?
Josh Peck (JP): I hadn’t seen the original, but as soon as I read the script, it came into my life and entered my dialogue with my friends. I was immediately put on notice, like don’t mess with my movie. (laughs) We were on sacred ground here. I was apprehensive to watch it, because I knew there would be parts that I loved, and would try to imitate or mimic. So I took a fresh approach. As soon as the film was done, I watched it, and really understood quickly what everyone loved about it.
Q: The original had an amazing cast. Were you a fan of its cast from other films the were in?
JP: (Patrick) Swayze from ‘Dirty Dancing’ and ‘Ghost,’ of course. I mean, Charlie Sheen and C. Thomas Howell and Lea Thompson, for sure.
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