Growing up during the Cold-War era in the 80s, the threat of World War III was always looming around the corner. Instead of having earthquake drills, we used to have “duck and cover” drills just in case we were victims of an air raid attack or a nuclear bombing. Totally seems so foreign to me now. Many Hollywood films at this time reflected this paranoia and would often have the Soviets and other communist countries as the antagonists. One of my favorite movies growing up with this underlying theme was the 1984 American war film, Red Dawn.
Co-written and directed by John Milnus, this movie launched the careers of so many young 80s actors like Patrick Swazye, Jennifer Grey, and Charlie Sheen. These actors would then go on and make some of the most popular and iconic movies of the 1980s. When Red Dawn was first released, it received the first ever PG-13 rating ever handed out by the MPAA. While researching this movie for this article, I read that at one time this movie was rated one of the “most violet films” by the Guinness Book of World Records. The premise of the movie, in hindsight, is completely ridiculous but at the time I thought it was one of the coolest friggin’ movies ever. See, Soviet and Cuban paratroopers decide to descend upon a small town in Colorado and the fate of the entire free world rests upon a group of high school students who call themselves “Wolverines” after their high school football team. LOL. Are you still with me?
Though there have been talks of a remake for many years, nothing has come to fruition til… now. MGM has greenlit the project and has set a production start date of September 2009 in Detroit with a tentative release date of September 2010. Several of today’s brightest up and coming talent have signed on for the project. Though some of the parts had been filled, the complete “Wolverines” resistance wasn’t cast til this week. Words cannot describe how excited I am for this movie to come out. I may sound like an uber-nerd right now but I don’t care. I remember watching this movie and wanting to part of the resistance and fight the evil “Commies”. So not PC but I blame my upbringing in the 80s for that. I’ve done a quick rundown of the actors and key roles of the original movie and their 2010 counterparts so you are all up to speed. Mark your calendar boys… it’s going to be a good one.
The leader of the high school resistance group the Wolverines.
1984 Original: Patrick Swayze
Coming off the success of The Outsiders, Patrick Swayze at the time was the main marquee name for the film. We all know what happened to Swazye after this film… he did some small little dancing movie. Maybe you’ve heard of it.
2010 Reboot: Chris Hemsworth
This “Thunder from Down Under” will be the next biggest thing. Mark my words. After filming Red Dawn, he’s signed on to film the movie adaption of comic book hero, Thor (2011) and then The Avengers (2012). If you could tear yourself away from Chris Pine for a few seconds in this summer’s Star Trek, you might’ve noticed Hemsworth playing Pine’s dad, George Kirk. In the remake, he’ll be forced to thwart Russian & Chinese soldiers instead of Cuban and Soviet ones. I guess, the Cuban army isn’t as threatening as they once were.
One of the two Mason sisters who survive the communist invasion and escape to their grandfather’s farm. There, they are cared for by the Wolverines and magically transform into rebel warriors fighting off the occupation.
1984 Original: Jennifer Grey
Before “Baby” was put in the corner, Grey was busy fighting communists off for the sake of all human kind. This movie put Jennifer on the map and lead her to getting her role in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off which then lead to a role in that little dancing movie with Swayze.
2010 Reboot: Adrianne Palicki
When I was searching for pics for Adrianne, I came across this one with her sporting curly hair and thought GREAT CASTING. It’s eerily weird how similar they look like sans nose job of course. Her biggest role to date has been her role as Tyra Collette in Friday Night Lights. I have no doubt she’ll do a kick ass job in this role as well and give Jennifer a run for her money.
Jed’s younger brother and the star quarterback. Matt is the primary cohort in the rebel’s quest to destroy the communist forces that have invaded American soil.
1984 Original: Charlie Sheen
Before becoming the notorious prostitute connoisseur he is today, Charlie Sheen’s first feature role was that of Matt Eckert. He would parlay this role into critically acclaimed roles in Wall Street, Platoon and the classic, Major League. Wink.
2010 Reboot: Josh Peck
Best known for playing half of Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh, Peck has been quietly been expanding his horizons in independent films. Out of all the castings, this is the one I’m most iffy about but I’ll reserve full judgment until I see the remake.
Erica is the stronger and feistier Mason sister. In the remake she will become the head cheerleader (of course) and be the love interest for Matt Eckert. You just can’t have a teen movie without some cheerleader and her pom-poms.
1984 Original: Lea Thompson
This would be Lea Thompson’s third major movie role after Jaws 3-D and All The Right Moves. After Red Dawn, Thompson would then go on to star in the Back to the Future trilogy before settling on TV in NBC’s 90s psuedo-hit Caroline in the City.
2010 Reboot: Isabel Lucas
Coming off this summer’s hit, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Lucas is trying to find her place in Hollywood. Relatively new, this Aussie’s biggest role prior to Transformers was starring in Home and Away with fellow Red Dawn castmate, Chris Hemsworth.
As the most hardcore fighter of the Wolverines, he’s the one responsible for supplying the resistance with ammunition and weapons. In the updated remake Hutcherson’s character becomes the tech geek for the Wolverines. Maybe he’ll Tweet about the invasion and hack into the enemy’s Facebook accounts.
1984 Original: C Thomas Howell
This movie marked a reunion for Swayze and Howell who both starred in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders. C Thomas Howell was one of those actors in the 80s who should’ve been bigger than they ended up being. He was cute and had that next-door-boy quality but unfortunately for him nothing big ever happened to his career. Maybe he was being punished for his starring role in that monstrosity of a film, Soul Man. He had to pretend to be an African-American student to enter university. My, how far political correctness has come.
2010 Reboot: Josh Hutcherson
Apparently the Bridge to Terabithia led to the casting director for Red Dawn. Enough Said. Nothing too much about this child actor. Maybe his career will end up on a different trajectory than Howell’s.
In the original, Daryl is the town mayor’s son and student body president who advises everyone to turn themselves to the enemy. While in the remake, he’ll still be the mayor’s son but will be best friends with Robert and become the youngest Wolverine.
1984 Original: Darren Dalton
Darren who? Exactly! I looked him up on imdb.com and besides some guest bit parts in a few weekly tv series, NADA.
2010 Reboot: Connor Cruise
That’s right. It’s Nicole Kidman & Tom Cruise’s adopted son. It’s kinda fitting that Tom’s son marks his first major starring role (Seven Pounds with Will Smith doesn’t count) in an 80s remake given the fact Cruise started his career in the same decade.
He’s the Wolverine member who wanted to quit and give up on the battle. Think the Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) of the group. In the remake, he’ll be the star wide receiver and responsible for starting the resistance.
1984 Original: Brad Savage
This literally was his last movie role. I guess he gave up acting to pursue other interests. Presently, he’s more involved with behind the scenes film work. Quel Glamour.
2010 Reboot: Edwin Hodge
Relatively unknown, this young television actor has recently appeared in Fox’s series Mental and had recurring roles in Invasion and Jack and Bobby.