Adrianne Palicki is far too talented and beautiful to be relegated to window dressing. Thankfully, her character in G.I. Joe: Retaliation gets to kick some ass, have a fleshed out backstory, and impress the legendary original Joe (played by Bruce Willis). Of course she looks beautiful while doing all this, but that’s not her only defining characteristic which is a step in the right direction. Also joining her on this roundtable was D.J. Cotrona, who plays Flint in the films. While his role isn’t very deep, it did require a lot of stunt work.
Read our full interview with G.I. Joe: Retaliation’s Adrianne Palicki and D.J. Cotrona here:
Who came at this from the most obsessive nerdy perspective? Were you guys into it beforehand?
DJ: John Chu and myself I think were probably the most specifically nerded out.
Adrianne: We were all into it for sure. I used to steal the figures from my brother and go in the corner and play and he’d get very upset with me. This guy, he lit his neighbor’s backyard on fire with GI Joe.
DJ: I have a lot of training for this role.
There’s a barometer check of how a movie does with female characters, called the Bechdel test and the movie passed it with flying colors because your character is completely isolated from the romantic storyline. What does that mean to you to be able to play Lady Jaye and that there’s an action movie that that’s just you?
Adrianne: It’s a huge deal. It’s always nerve-racking. There are very few strong female characters I think in Hollywood these days. Getting to play Lady Jaye was such as honor but we didn’t get the script until we actually got the part. It’s always nerve-racking to see what they’re going to do with your character. I was afraid they were going to put her in leather and spandex and sexualize the hell out of her. It was great that John had a really strong view of what she was going to be like. He wanted her in fatigues. He wanted her wearing boy t-shirts and boy jeans in civilian gear and not this sexual object. She was a strong chick, one of the boys, not standing out. Then she’s able to use her femininity when needed as a tool like she was with the president. It was just an honor to get to play her.
Not having seen the script when you went up for the part, what did you do to convince them that you were the one, both of you?
Adrianne: I didn’t even know what part I was auditioning for. It was a fake name to the point where I was like I’ve never heard of this person and I’m looking through the script when I finally got it and I was like the character I auditioned for is not even here. I was like oh, oh.
DJ: Anytime there’s a superhero property, this is pretty standard fair. What happens is you get sides and they just make of names and put them on the dialog. It’s funny because John was saying that some of the audition material got leaked and people read the fake names and, as the internet will do, made these theories about who these characters were and probably stories about the characters that were in the movie and it was completely wrong.
DJ: Some of them are incredible but tragically not in our movie.
What was your reaction when you found out who your actual characters were?
DJ: I was super excited. There were a little bit of changes to the script from when I read it to when we actually got to make it just to make the whole thing make more sense. Flint was always one of my favorite characters so to get to play him in the movie was incredible.
Adrianne: Lady Jaye was just always such a badass. She was always just such a strong female. Again, getting to play her was such as honor to me. If I didn’t get to play Jinx (which who doesn’t want to be a ninja), I obviously don’t want the part but whatever, maybe the next movie they can give me some swords.
You guys had to do intense stunts and training for this film. Can you talk a little bit about what you had to do?
DJ: We all trained probably half all together on various different types of training and then half individually. On the individual part I trained very hard physically, the usual weight lifting, chicken and broccoli all day to gain some muscle. Then I trained with team tempus out of Los Angeles, which is an amazing group, and I did that for about six, eight weeks, really hard but ultimately I think we got some cool stuff in some of the action scenes for it.
Adrianne: We trained with marines. We trained with the real guys. Some were out of Afghanistan and Navy Seals. It was really an honor because there are no female Navy Seals. To be trained by these guys was pretty insane. We had about a month and a half in New Orleans, eight hours a day training. It was brutal. It was actually very brutal. We had to train with those guys. We did weapons training. My character specifically was a weapons specialist so I trained with weapons more than any of the other guys. Then you have physical training. You have stunt training. You have choreography. You have unit training where you all work at units. You can go in and clear a room and it looks real. It was just nonstop training for a while but it was great because once we finally got to set, it was all just second nature. We could actually really worry about our characters.
How was it partnering with Bruce Willis – being the Brenda to his Joe?
Adrianne: Brenda was his idea by the way. It was. He came to town; he came in halfway through the movie so he came to town and Lorenzo, the producer, and John and I all sat down because we really wanted to do a lot of scenes together. Immediately we were quick friends. That banter that you see on screen was happening off screen too. He just had so many great ideas and the Brenda thing, he was like I just think I should call her Brenda because I just don’t have enough time to learn her name.
It’s just going to be this thing, pull her hair at the playground and I was like okay, to the point where it started to get annoying. I was like Bruce, you got to slow down with the Brenda. You can’t call me this not on camera. We had a blast working together to the point where I forgot that this huge celebrity is sitting across from me. He’s just a down to Earth real person. Every once in a while the little John McClain squint would happen and I’d go slumpy but otherwise it was pretty awesome.
With Veronica Mars having a kickstarter boosting it back in the spotlight for the movie potential, what are your hopes now for a Friday Night Lights movie?
Adrianne: I think they’re starting the Friday Night Lights Kickstarter which is insane. It’s crazy. I have multiple feelings on it. I love it so much and I’m afraid that a movie might ruin it and I don’t want that to happen. We went out on top, but at the same time to get to be on that show again…I would die for it. I would love to do it. I’m right there in the middle.