Josh Peck

Step Off! Josh Peck is a Nice Guy

The one with the beenie.
Josh Peck has been doing press for four years. More, it seems, than any of the other cast members from the upcoming remake of Red Dawn. If he wanted to, he could be really pissy about it, in part because the implication of someone doing more press than his cast mates is that he’s available—as in not that busy. But he’s not thinking in those terms. If anyone’s heard the questions: Why remake John Milius’ Red Dawn? Why tamper with a classic? Why change the villains to North Koreans? It’s him. He’s had to validate his part of this movie more than anyone else. Which kind of means he’s been fighting for it since production ended.

So MGM temporarily folded and put this film into flux for like four years. You’ve all been doing other things since production wrapped. How do you feel about doing press after all this time?
To finish it and have this long hold-over…there’s naturally some anxiety because you finish it and it’s usually a year for it to come out and [people ask and] you’re like “it was great but I don’t remember everything” and I feel like I’ve had three of those [waiting periods]. But there are people who have been working on this movie for 2 years pre- and postproduction. For them I’m really excited it’s coming out and their movie is going to be seen. They worked so hard and it’s going to be great to share that. It’s really one big ensemble thing. It’s like a team movie.

You buffered the time with some indies that seem like the opposite variety of career development from Red Dawn.
You’re right. The Wackness or Mean Creek fed me creatively on every level, and working with that level of filmmakers and actor, it’s such a gift. They make you better than you ever thought you could be. So when you look at what you’ve worked on and what’s next you say, “maybe I need to make a foray into something more commercial” and try that. Most actors want a career like a palette: multicolored. That had always been a desire of mine but it also had to be the right material. When Red Dawn came around I immediately responded to the dialogue. And Dan Bradley, the director, wanted so much out of the performances and wanted to do such justice to the action scenes, I knew the collaboration would work. The movie made sense to me on every level in that respect.

Were you a fan of the original?
I didn’t see it until after production. I protected myself. When I started talking about it with friends they’d be like “don’t fuck with my movie, bro” they’d say the movie was important to them and a seminal part of their upbringing. So I knew it was important to a lot of people and I knew there’d be a temptation to either consciously or subconsciously emulate or copy something I loved in the performance so I felt as thought I could wait to see it after. I watched it the day we finished and saw what everyone loved about it.

What do you think it’s about (I stare intently).
Red Dawn is about this small town in Washington getting invaded and these two brothers starting the resistance to fight back.

But in terms of what it’s saying: is it about democracy against communism, the right to bear arms…
I don’t know. I think it’s about kids kicking ass.