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Published: 3/25/2013

'ONE OF THE GUYS'

Toledoan Adrianne Palicki kicks butt in new 'G.I. Joe'

BY KIRK BAIRD
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Elodie Yung, Channing Tatum, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Adrianne Palicki arrive at the UK Premiere of G.I. Joe: Retaliation at the Empire Leicester Square in London on Monday, March 18, 2013. Elodie Yung, Channing Tatum, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Adrianne Palicki arrive at the UK Premiere of G.I. Joe: Retaliation at the Empire Leicester Square in London on Monday, March 18, 2013.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

Ever since Paramount announced the nine-month opening delay of G.I. Joe: Retaliation from its original June 29 release date, the rumor mill has been abuzz that the action film is plagued with problems.

According to the blogosphere, the sequel to 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra didn’t test well with audiences — especially the alleged early screen exit of co-star Channing Tatum — leading to significant story changes and reshoots. The studio, though, said its decision to push back the movie’s opening to Friday was to allow for additional time to retrofit the film to 3-D.

Adrianne Palicki, who joined the G.I. Joe: Retaliation cast as the new character Lady Jaye, was also caught off guard by Paramount’s decision. But the assertion that the action movie was in trouble at the studio is simply not true.

“There were a lot of rumors, the rumor mill was going, but they were all false. That was the thing,” the Toledo native said in a recent phone interview. “They really, really did want this to be a 3-D movie... It was all people just chatting and talking and actually it was testing very well. There were just certain things that needed to be changed.”

It was G.I. Joe: Retaliation’s director Jon M. Chu and producers who first expressed an interest in Palicki for the role of the kick-butt covert operations specialist, a popular character with fanboys after her first appearance in the popular G.I. Joe animated TV series from the early 1980s. After reading the script, the 29-year-old actress found herself “excited about playing such a cool, iconic character” who also happens to be one of the few elite female soldiers.

“The thing about Lady Jaye is she’s a really strong woman. She hangs out with these guys and she really holds her own and they all respect her and she demands respect,” Palicki said. “She has a bit of a chip on her shoulder, but it was fun to play her. She’s a weapons specialist. She’s in intelligence. She’s one of the guys.”

Being one of the guys, at least for this project, wasn’t always easy, beginning with a “mild boot camp” to get the actors in soldier-shape with their fitness and ability.

“We had months of training and there were 10-hour days of training. We had to do gun training and weapons training, stunt training and muscle-building training. It was a lot of work in the beginning,” she said, “but that’s really what you have to do.

“I would come home crying because we’re all working 10 hours a day running around with guns and cry myself to sleep. But it ends up being fun. I have a real respect for men and women who actually do this day in and day out and actually have their lives on the line. It’s crazy.”

The actress could take solace in that she was filming in New Orleans with a cast that includes Tatum and stalwarts of the action genre, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Bruce Willis.

“They’re the sweetest guys, all of them, and all of them really [are] kind of dorky and funny,” she said. “I never felt an insecurity or nerves or anything. They just don’t allow you to. I actually ended up having a really good time.”

Born and raised in Toledo, Palicki gained fame as Tyra Collette in the acclaimed TV high school football drama Friday Night Lights. Her subsequent career is proof of the difficulty in maintaining that level of success, with the failed David E. Kelley-written and produced Wonder Woman pilot and the quickly canceled Fox prime-time drama Lone Star. In November, she co-starred in the Red Dawn remake, which under-performed at the box office.

Disappointments aside, the Whitmer High School graduate said she has a master plan for her career that will keep her busy with acting until she’s 80.

“That’s my goal,” Palicki said. “So I never want to do too much of one thing. I’m excited about characters more than films. I want to be playing certain characters. And it changes. I’ll just read something and be like, ‘Oh my God, that character, I want to play that.’ It’s scary and it’s hard and it’s dark, or it’s funny and it’s scary. Whatever it is, I want to constantly be challenged.”

And might one of those challenges be as Wonder Woman in a big-screen version of The Justice League — assuming the long-discussed project ever makes it into production?

“Yeah, absolutely, I would consider that,” she said. “I would love to play the character again and if, God willing, I’m able to at some point, I would be the happiest person on the planet. But I at least got to wear the outfit once.”

Just don’t mistake her willingness to play Wonder Woman with any rumors suggesting she’s already cast in the role. No matter what the Internet says, Palicki said, “until I’m on set somewhere, I’m not working.

“It’s like all the rumors that happen — I mean look at the Channing rumor. People talk about him dying [in G.I. Joe]. You don’t even know if he dies. They don’t even know why they did the reshoots. The rumor mill’s going and it’s crazy and we’ll see what happens.”

Contact Kirk Baird at: kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.



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