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Red Dawn’s Josh Peck

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No matter which way you want to view Red Dawn the film is a win win situation. On one hand it’s a rah rah go team America narrative. On the other hand it’s an apt allegory for America’s invasion of Iraq and how a guerilla insurgence can never be truly defeated.

Red Dawn, opening wide this week, depicts an invasion of the Pacific Northwest by North Korean troops and in fact is a remake of a 1984 film by the same name where Soviet and Cuban troops invade Colorado. In both cases a group of teens and young adults go underground and fight the intruders using the moniker The Wolverines. Originally made a couple of years ago, Red Dawn’s parent company MGM went bankrupt and the film sat on the shelf only to be picked up by FilmDistrict for a November 21 release. In the interim the invading army from China was changed to North Korea (digitally changing logos and insignias).

Free Press Houston spoke by phone in an exclusive interview to Josh Peck who plays Matt. Peck and Chris Hemsworth star as brothers who lead the insurgency; in the original movie Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen played the brothers. Red Dawn works as escapist fantasy mainly because the movie has good action sequences. “I saw the original after we made the film,” says Peck. “I wanted to be careful with my characterization of the brother.” The cast worked with Navy SEALS and even trained during a three-day boot camp. “It was an education beyond what people can imagine,” adds Peck.

Red Dawn updates technology showing how the invading forces use an electromagnetic pulse to take out the electrical grid. The production was partially lensed in parts of Detroit that have fallen by the wayside, economically devastated buildings and neighborhoods never refurbished after an economic downturn. “The suburbs look like that naturally,” Peck notes about the bombed look of the production design.

Peck has the advantage of being an actor in demand and having work on a regular basis. Earlier this year Peck starred in ATM a Hitchcockian thriller about three people trapped in an ATM by a stalker that also starred Brian Geraghty (Flight) and Alice Eve (MIB III). “It was shot outside on location in Winnipeg in a stand alone vestibule, and it was cold,” laughs Peck. Another recent film featuring Peck was The Wackness where he played a teen that barters marijuana with a psychotherapist for treatment. “I’ve always been into chess, and it was a chance to work with Ben Kingsley who I’d always admired after I saw Searching For Bobby Fischer.”

But the role that keeps paying off for Peck is his reoccurring work for the Ice Age series, which he joined for the second installment and has voiced the part of Eddie ever since. “It’s a gift gig. After that movie I knew I never had to worry about being a waiter,” beams Peck.

- Michael Bergeron

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