Interview: Adrianne Palicki (G.I. Joe: Retaliation)

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By Simon Miraudo
March 26, 2013

Adrianne Palicki is practically the lone female in all of G.I. Joe: Retaliation; required to hold her own in scenes opposite Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, and a bunch of ninjas. Of course, anyone who was a fan of her stint as the fiery Tyra Collette on Friday Night Lights knows she’s more than up to the task. Ahead of the film’s release, we spoke to Adrianne about playing Lady Jaye in the action figure adaptation, as well as her reaction to the release date’s original eight month delay (to accommodate the film’s post-conversion to 3D).

Check out Simon Miraudo’s review of G.I. Joe: Retaliation here.

and see our interview with director Jon M. Chu here.

We also asked if she’d be willing to return to television after her failed Wonder Woman pilot, and if we’ll ever see her return as Tyra in a Friday Night Lights movie.

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SM: Can you tell me a little bit about how you were cast in G.I. Joe?

AP: I went in. I auditioned for the part. I auditioned in front of Jon Chu. It was very odd; probably the weirdest audition I’d ever had. They had a guy with guns there, showing us how to use them. Thankfully I have that training already. You had to go in and act with guns and pretend that people were coming at us, and Jon would yell out random things, and you had to act them out. I was like, “Wow, I really feel like an asshole right now.” [Laughs] Thankfully, it worked out. I got the part.

SM: I’m glad it was a good audition, especially if there are guns in the room. You are one of the few ladies in G.I. Joe corps in this movie. There are a couple of different ways to play that. You can do it like Vasquez in Aliens, and try to be harder than the boys. Or, you can play up the femininity. Was that something you considered going in?

AP: My fear was that she was going to be in tight leather, or it was going to be one of these things where she’s just this sex pot, and it would take away from the strengths of the character. Instead, she wears fatigues for the majority of the movie. She has her hair pulled back in a ponytail. By the time we got to the point where we were wearing the red dress, I was excited to wear heels. You know what I mean? It was the perfect mixture of tomboy and sexy.

SM: Were there any kind of female action heroes from the movies or TV that you took cues from?

AP: Oh, God, I have so many. There’s Wonder Woman. There’s Supergirl. There’s Lady Jaye in general. I’m a huge comic book fan obviously. [Laughs]

SM: Your character is Lady Jaye as you mentioned. She’s a new addition to the franchise, though she has her own back-story about trying to impress her father. I’m curious: when you personally decided to get into acting, was that something you had to “break” to your parents? Did they take to it quickly?

AP: I did. I was always a daddy’s little girl, so when I told both my parents I was not going to go to college and have a backup plan but move to Los Angeles instead with the limited funds that I had [Laughs], with both of them it didn’t go over quite well at first. But they came around, because I was gonna do it no matter what. Now, they support me 100 per cent. It didn’t take long for them to support me 100 per cent.

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SM: You already had a bit of gun training in your past. Tell me more about preparing for the part.

AP: This part was difficult. There was so much training involved. I trained with my trainers, who are amazing, in LA, Alicia and Bobby Strom, for about a month and a half before shooting. Then we went to New Orleans and worked out with Navy SEALS and had gun training, physical training, stunt training, choreography, combat, unit training. I mean, there was so much training, and it was like eight hours a day. I would call home crying because it was so intense. “Can we get to the movie already?” But then by the time we got to the movie I was so glad we had all that stuff under our belt, because it is really hard to focus. We had to be the best of the best of the best, and it’s hard to act and do that at the same time. I’m glad we had all that training, so it wasn’t our focus.

SM: Sure, it needs to be almost ingrained by that point.

AP: Yes, exactly.

SM: Well, you did the Wonder Woman pilot a couple years ago, and the Red Dawn remake, and now G.I. Joe. Was action a genre you thought you’d be working in when you first left for LA?

AP: I was just excited by the idea of working, to be honest with you. It’s kind of fun, and I love playing characters like this; really strong, badass women. It’s fun. It’s fun to carry a gun and fight people. Fight guys.

SM: The movie was originally meant to come out in June of 2012. Tell me, how was the news broken to you?

AP: [Movie news website] Deadline.

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SM: And how did you feel about that?

AP: I was a little bummed. But it made total sense, and I’m glad actually. It was going to come out very soon for a film that just shot. This is kind of the normal time it would take for a big movie like this to come out. But I was really happy that they converted it to 3D, because I think it’s going to make the biggest difference to people.

SM: Was it primarily the post-conversion to 3D? Were you involved in any reshoots at that point?

AP: No, all the reshoots that happened had happened before the original [release date], and then they just decided to do 3D. They’ve been doing that for the last six, seven months.

SM: Would you be willing to go back to a TV series, or have recent experiences with Lone Star or Wonder Woman soured you on that process?

AP: Yeah, I mean, there are lots of opportunities out there. It’s just one of those things where Friday Night Lights was so special, and of course I couldn’t say no to Wonder Woman. I feel like if a really special show came around again, I would absolutely be up to it. It’s just hard to touch that, you know what I mean? Nothing will probably ever feel that way. I’m enjoying doing film right now. I’m enjoying playing different characters every four months. It’s nice to have a change of pace once in a while. But again, if something really awesome came around, I would definitely be up for doing it.

SM: Well, I have to tell you that I actually just started watching Friday Night Lights in February, and I’m about four episodes away from finishing. I’m obsessed with it, and I’m particularly invested in Landry and Tyra. Is Tyra a character you’d like to revisit? You said the show is so special. There’s been talk about a movie for so long. Do you try not to address these things until they’re a reality?

AP: Yeah, I don’t really think about it until it’s a reality. People are like, “Oh, I heard that it’s going.” And I was like, “Well, no it’s not.” [Laughs] If they made it, I would love to do it, but I have a little bit of reservation about it, just because I feel it ends so well, so perfectly, I would hate to have something be made that doesn’t live up to that standard and then ruins the entire series. Do you know what I mean?

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SM: I, of course, understand.

AP: It goes both ways.

SM: Can you tell me what you’ve got coming up?

AP: I have a movie coming out this year called Coffee Town, which is a comedy, and right now there’s a couple things in the works, but I can’t jinx anything.

SM: We’ll all find out about them on Deadline, I’m sure.

AP: Yes, exactly.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation arrives in Australian cinemas March 28, 2013.

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