Wrapping up our American International Toy Fair coverage (a.k.a. Mike Ryan’s Nerdfest Happy Fun Time), we spent some time with your brand new Flint and Lady Jaye from “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” D.J. Cotrona and Adrianne Palicki. I’ll say this from talking to Cotrona and Palicki (and earlier with Jon Chu and The Rock): if these guys aren’t true G.I. Joe fans, boy, Paramount has done an incredible job prepping them for these interviews. (Which I suppose is possible.)
As always, I will warn you, this discussion gets quite nerdy as Palicki reveals her love for Jem and the Holograms and Cotrona reveals his love for … Rainbow Brite?
Wow, look at that. You guys are holding your action figures.
Cotrona: Amazing, right?
Flint is from Wichita and Lady Laye is from Martha’s Vinyard — it’s the classic red state, blue state romance.
Cotrona: Yes! In real life it’s kind of flipped. I’m from Connecticut.
Palicki: And I’m from Ohio. So, I’m “red.” Where I’m from, you know…
Cotrona: And I’m blue.
How much did you guys know about G.I. Joe before this all started?
Cotrona: More than I should be comfortable admitting as an adult.
Palicki: I asked him about my character.
Why is that?
Cotrona: Because this franchise kind of had a hand in raising me. Like, I spent a good amount of my time — like a lot of guys my age — obsessing and blowing things up with G.I. Joes. I know it well.
As a G.I. Joe fan, did you like the first movie?
Cotrona: As a G.I. Joe fan, I was disappointed. Strictly as a G.I. Joe fan, I was disappointed. I think it was a big, fun film. A big sci-fi, family fun film that everybody could enjoy.
Palicki: Visually fun…
Cotrona: But it took a lot of liberties, I felt. And when we came around to making this one, I think everyone was on the same page about focusing on that, specifically. And trying to make sure that it fits into the classic idea of G.I. Joe. Aesthetically and character design and background — I think it really got it right this time.
Do you like having an action figure?
Palicki: I have an action figure, man. This is the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me. I love having an action figure. It’s about damn time.
Are those now your stocking stuffers?
Cotrona: My mother is going to get earrings of my head. Some will be dipped in silver, some will be dipped on gold and I will hand them out to everyone I know.
Was there any thought of, “You know, not everyone liked the first movie, maybe I shouldn’t do the sequel”?
Cotrona: Just as a fan, I was hesitant hearing that they were going to do another one. Only because, stand alone, it was a good movie. It was successful, it was fun, it was entertaining and there were some amazing actors in it. But the G.I. Joe concept that I grew up with, I wasn’t satiated. I wanted to see those classic Larry Hama comic book characters. The great thing is, when I first met with Jon and Lorenzo: that was the focus. It was to bring those characters to life as closely to how they were intended as possible. And make it a big, fun movie that everybody can actually enjoy.
Palicki: In a really real, rounded way.
Controna: That’s the great thing about G.I. Joe, it’s essentially superheroes, but it’s military based — and it’s based in reality.
Adrianne, did you ever have that a-ha moment of, “Wow, people are really into this?”
Palicki: Oh, I grew up with G.I. Joe. My brother played with G.I. Joes. I played with Lady Jaye, but only because I wanted to be like my brother.
What was your toy line of choice?
Controna: Was it “Jem and the Holograms”?
Palicki: “Jem and the Holograms”! I still have my Jem! I want to be in that movie if they ever make one.
Why hasn’t that movie happened yet?
Palicki: I tried to look it up and get the rights to it, but they’ve already got it. So, somebody should just make that movie now.
And you want to be Jem?
Palicki: I want to be Jem.
If only a Hologram were available, would you take that?
Palicki: Of course, just to be in it. [Laughs] It’s truly, truly, truly outrageous. Do you know what I mean?
I do — which is sad.
Controna: I do, three. I know, as well.
I think that’s a dirty little secret: If it was a cartoon, most boys will watch it, regardless of its subject matter. I watched “Jem,” “She-Ra”… It didn’t matter.
Controna: I saw the “Rainbow Bright” movie. There was a male horse. Remember the guy with the robotic horse?
Palicki: Oh, I remember. I love that you do.
That’s my headline, by the way: “Your new Flint: Rainbow Brite fan.”
Controna: Do it! Go ahead! Ironically, tattooed across my chest right now. You know, we grew up on this stuff. So it’s part of American culture. We’re adults and we’re still talking about it and we’re talking about getting the specifics right — the characters and the story right. It’s a testament to how much people love the property and I think they’re going to be really happy. It feels like the first G.I. Joe.
Mike Ryan is the senior writer for Moviefone. He has written for Wired Magazine, VanityFair.com, GQ.com, New York Magazine and Movieline. He likes Star Wars a lot. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter
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