Interview: Adrianne Palicki And D.J. Cotrona On ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’

G.I. JOE: RETALIATIONEvery once in awhile there’ll be a popular movie franchise that’ll go through a major overhaul. There aren’t too many people who are still fond of the first “G.I. Joe” movie, but that film is in the past. Now we have in front of us “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” a brand new film with tons of action and a sweet cast. Dwayne Johnson can’t be the only person carrying the movie. So in comes Adrianne Palicki and D.J. Cotrona as they tear a new one into Cobra. The two actors got the chance to sit down and talk to us about what it’s like being in the universe of G.I. Joe.

Coming to G.I. Joe, even though it’s not comic book, but it slowly turned into a comic book. It was a cartoon and certainly lives in that world of fandom. Did either of you have any sort of trepidation coming into this franchise?

D.J. Cotrona: No. I’ll speak for myself and you can speak at length about your experience, but “Justice League” broke my heart. I did it the wrong way. I worked really hard, I worked 6-7 monthsto get the part. I had it for a year. It was on, it was off, it was on, it was off. I didn’t take any other jobs. I was in Australia working with WETA and George Miller and it was a big opportunity for me. So when it fell apart it was rough, I took a hit, but I did it the wrong way. I was checking all the Internet message boards, I was reading everything, that was suicide. I did it the wrong way so.. and she [Palicki] was the finalist for Wonder Woman for Justice League, so that’s where we met. We met during screen time for that and she was incredible. So when this one came up, I was just happy to get it and I was just happy to finish it. When you see the final movie, because between getting a job and the movie being released, so many things can go wrong that are out of your control. It’s best to just show up on the day, do your job and try to forget about it until it comes out.

Adrianne Palicki: Absolutely, and that’s exactly how it is. During the Superbowl, seeing the trailer was like the first moment where it was like oh, this is actually happening, because after “Wonder Woman” and then “Red Dawn,” for three years, waiting for that and it almost didn’t come out. So it was like okay, not again.

D.J. Cotrona: When they pushed this, we looked at each other and we were like are you freaking kidding me? “Justice League” and “Wonder Woman” too.

Adrianne Palicki: We were bad luck, bad luck! Everything had been pushed but yes, the thing is this movie, in all honesty, it actually is coming out at the right period of time. It was forced before. Nine months from after we wrapped? That was crazy.

D.J. Cotrona: And it was a crowded spot we were in. I mean we had “The Amazing Spider-Man” and Batman, we all were going to be circling the same time by within a week. Everybody would’ve cannibalized each other. And they also did want to make the movie in 3D. I know the Internet likes to not believe that but they really did want to make the movie in 3D and the fact that Jon [Chu] had enough time to do it very carefully it serves the whole picture.

Are you guys familiar with the characters, the cartoon and what relationship that they have?

Adrianne Palicki: Yes, they get married eventually.

D.J. Cotrona: Absolutely. I was a huge fan. I grew up as a huge G.I. Joe fan. I had all the toys, I had the aircraft carrier which was a big deal back in the day. So to get to actually become a part of it and make the movie and make it feel like how I’ve always wanted it to have it feel, it was a childhood dream come true.


And they touched upon the relationship a little bit in the film. Are you sad that there wasn’t a kiss or anything like that?

Adrianne Palicki: Jon said we don’t want to make this a thing. I think the studio really wanted a kiss in there and they said no, it just feels forced in this world where we’re saving the world, do you know what I mean? We feel that in order for this moment to happen, it has to feel not forced. And they’re just starting to get to know each other. The characters are introduced and then all of these people are just getting to know each other for the first time. I thought it was tastefully done.

D.J. Cotrona: Yes, just enough. That relationship does exist, but it is a younger version of the Flint character. We’re used to seeing him all beret up, telling others what to do. This is a guy that’s getting introduced and he’s going to grow into that. So it was the same thing with the relationship. We just wanted to show the beginnings of a thing and hopefully it’ll grow later.

You share a lot of screen time withBruce Willis and have some nice moments with him in the film. Can you elaborate on what it was like working with him?

Adrianne Palicki: Well it was nerve-wracking because Bruce came into the process a little bit later so when we found out that he was coming and I was going to do a lot of scenes with him, I thought oh my God, this is one of my first crushes ever with John McClane. But the minute I met him we immediately hit it off. It was banter back and forth. A lot of what you’re seeing onscreen is what we were like off screen as well. It was fun. I met a really good friend that way. There were only a couple of moments while we were shooting that he did the little squint eyes and I was like oh my gosh, there’s “Die Hard.” Hold this together! But they were few and far between because he’s such a real guy.

D.J. Cotrona: I grew up so close to Jersey so I feel like I know that infamous version of him for a really long time. To see him on set and to have him be a knucklehead from New Jersey, and I mean that as a huge compliment, it was really great.

Working with the Rock, could you tell us a little bit about that since he was like the heir apparent to the action world.

D.J. Cotrona: We both have the same experience. I have never, and I mean this literally, have never heard more positive rumors about anyone before working than I have from Dwayne Johnson. From studio executives to PAs to actors, and he exceeded all of it. He’s a very famous, busy, dedicated hard-working guy and treats everyone with the utmost respect. He has time for everyone. He’s a consummate professional, he’s always on time, he works very hard and he tries to empower everyone else to do what he can, so he sets the bar really high. He’s a great guy.

Adrianne Palicki: He’s so nurturing on set. I’d be tired, it’d be a long day and he’d walk over and say are you okay? Did you have enough to eat today? Do you need something? Do you have water? And I’m like thank you! I can get my own but thank you! But he’s just really caring and thoughtful.

What about that scene when you guys were underwater and you guys were under attack? Did you guys have to train for that?

Adrianne Palicki: Those were hard days of shooting. That water got cold and we were in that water for a couple of days too.

D.J. Cotrona: The wire work for the actual going up the well, that was really tough. We were on a counterweight but we had to actually use a lot of our own strength to stay in position and move which is tough because Adrianne’s legs are much longer and stronger than both me and Dwayne. We were looking at each other and asked could we get five inches please? Our knees are up to our face.

Adrianne Palicki: It was painful though but it was a lot of fun. At the end of the day you can say you did that.

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is out in theaters now.

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