If 2012 teaches us anything about Adrianne Palicki, it may be that she knows her way around a machine gun.
The former “Friday Night Lights” star finds herself pulling the trigger in two high-profile action movies this year, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and “Red Dawn.” Starring alongside big names like Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson, Chris Hemsworth and fellow Ones to Watch in 2012 honoree Josh Hutcherson in a single year definitely has our attention, but Palicki kicks ass in her own right.
We spoke with Palicki about her big 2012 and the difficulties of finding a date — knowing what she does about hand-to-hand combat.
MTV: First off, I have to congratulate you on being included in MTV’s Ones to Watch 2012.
Adrianne Palicki: Thank you very much. It’s very cool. I’m very flattered.
MTV: You have such a huge year coming up.
Palicki: Yeah, they keep telling me that. [Laughs.] It’s surreal. Part of it is, “Red Dawn” I shot three years ago, so that feels so foreign to know that’s actually going to come out this year. “G.I. Joe,” we literally got off the plane from New Orleans and the trailer was out. I’ve never experienced anything like that. I feel like I’m still working right now. When we were shooting, it was less than a year until it came out. We knew that. It was just shocking.
MTV: The fan response to the “G.I. Joe” trailer seemed overwhelmingly positive.
Palicki: It was a pleasant surprise, because this is a reboot. It’s scary going into the shoes that have already been worn. We wanted to do something really unique and special. With such an amazing group of talented actors, you don’t want it to fall flat. How many people reached out, it’s unbelievable to hear the comments that they’re so excited, that the trailer is better than the first movie was. Just really cool reactions that you’re going, “OK, hopefully we don’t let you down.” I really don’t think we will. I think it’s going to be a really fun ride for everybody.
MTV: It had to be a fun movie to shoot, right?
Palicki: Oh my God, it was a blast. Jon Chu, he’s this genius. The thing that’s so special about him is that he might be the biggest G.I. Joe fan on the planet, so that really came in our favor. He’s young and interesting and full of ambition. We really did things that were super exciting and super scary, and I really feel everything’s going to come out really, really well.
MTV: What was the scariest thing you had to do on set?
Palicki: We did have to scale a wall, but after seeing “Mission: Impossible 4,” I’m like, “Well, I guess it wasn’t that scary.” An 18-foot wall compared to a skyscraper. The fun thing is that we get to do a lot of our own stunts.
MTV: Were you a fan of “G.I. Joe” when you were growing up?
Palicki: Oh yeah, definitely. I have a big brother, so anything he liked, I liked. He was super big into comic books, so I was super big into comic books. He was super big into G.I. Joe, and I wanted to be Jinx so badly. I don’t know just if it was that she was wearing a red costume or what, but I wanted to be a ninja.
MTV: Were you disappointed to be Lady Jaye then?
Palicki: Lady Jaye’s a badass. I couldn’t really be disappointed with Lady Jaye. She’s the one chick in the boys club. She can hold her own. She doesn’t get the staff, but she is a weapons specialist. She has that going for her.
MTV: What was it like working with two huge action stars, Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis?
Palicki: Dwayne is like a teddy bear. I know his fans probably don’t want to hear that. He might be one of the nicest people on the planet, genuinely. Very caring and very giving. Bruce is a kick in the pants. We get along really well, but he definitely came in during the middle of shooting for a week, added some flavor and left. But he was really fun to work with. I really enjoyed him.
MTV: How comfortable are you with a machine gun now?
Palicki: Between “Red Dawn,” “Wonder Woman” and now “G.I. Joe,” I feel like I could actually go and really harm some people with my hands. I feel like a Navy SEAL. It’s been fun. I mean, I get paid to do this sh–. I get paid to shoot an AK-47 or a .50 cal or punch some dudes in the face or groin or whatever. It’s a really fun job.
MTV: What’s it like having “Red Dawn” come out after all this time?
Palicki: It’s weird, because I’m so very removed from it. It was such a great experience, and I enjoyed it so much. Honestly, there’s been some disappointment for me because it’s going to be released and then it’s not. It’s going to be released and then it’s not. I’m relieved. I’m really excited it’s coming out, and I’m excited to see it myself. I haven’t seen it in a year, and I’m sure it’s changed quite a bit.
MTV: Back then Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson weren’t exactly the huge stars they are today.
Palicki: Oh, Josh Hutcherson. I love him so much. It’s crazy. We were babies. It’s going to be so funny to see myself in “G.I. Joe” before playing an 18-year-old in “Red Dawn.” It’s just insane. We’re all just babies. Chris was training to go shoot “Thor” when we were shooting that movie. It’s crazy. It was so long ago.
MTV: How does it feel having these two action movies coming out in same year?
Palicki: It’s very strange, and it’s like, “OK, I guess I’ll be an action star. Why not?” I will never have a date again, but it’s cool, whatever. Men are going to be afraid of me. It’s really special, and I’m excited. It’s going to be a very busy year for me.
MTV: One of your fellow Ones to Watch is …
Palicki: Taylor Kitsch . I know that guy! He’s awesome. I miss him. He’s the nicest guy. He’s Canadian, I mean, need I say more? He also has the most ridiculous, disgusting sense of humor than anyone I’ve met. He’s so raunchy, and when it comes out of his mouth, because he’s Canadian and because he’s so nice, it comes out of nowhere. It just makes it that much funnier.
MTV: Who’s going to have the bigger year?
Palicki: Oh God, I can’t. I think Taylor’s going to have the bigger year. I’m not going to lie. He has a lot coming out this year and all different kinds of movies. I’m really proud of him. He deserves it. He’s worked really hard. I’m excited to see where he goes with his career. The thing is, he’s not just a pretty face. I mean, he has a very pretty face, by the way, but that’s not all he has.
What are you waiting for? Your must-see movie needs your support. It’s time to show character, poise and heart. Vote for your picks now at MTV Movie Brawl 2012!
Check out everything we’ve got on “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.”
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.