"Red Dawn" also stars Josh Peck ("Drake & Josh," "The Wackness"), Josh Hutcherson ("The Hunger Games"), Adrianne Palicki (the failed "Wonder Woman" series) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan ("Watchmen"). The production of the film has been met with tremendous difficulty all-around, from financial woes to political pressure. When news came that the producers were faced with pressure from the Chinese film marketplace to change the enemy occupying force from China to North Korea, many wondered if that spelled doom for the film.
Fears that China would react harshly to the film were assuaged when the troubled MGM decided to make the switch and have North Korea be the villains of the remake. In the original film (made during the Cold War), a unified Cuba and Russia invaded the United States and were expelled by the Wolverines (led by Swayze). The main reason for giving into Chinese pressure is that China is a huge importer of American media and film entertainment. Fears that the film would negatively impact the United States' relationship with China were far too great a gamble, according to the LA Times. Dan Mintz, head of distributor DMG Entertainment told the LA Times, "there would have been a real backlash. It's like being invited to a dinner party and insulting the host all night long. There's no way to look good ... the film itself was not a smart move."
Around the same time, the John Milius-scripted "Homefront" videogame from THQ had Chinese enemies changed to North Korean, as well. Kotaku reported that former THQ executive Danny Bilson stated that the Chinese, "they're just not that scary." Bilson explained further, "China is like America's factory," he said. "Everything you buy is made in China. It's all friendly. Everything's made there, from games, to every toy to everything. So they're not that scary."
Hero Complex (part of the LA Times) reported that the film's producers were initially reticent to make the changes. Tripp Vinson, one of the film's producers told the LA Times, "We were initially very reluctant to make any changes," adding, "after careful consideration we constructed a way to make a scarier, smarter and more dangerous 'Red Dawn' that we believe improves the movie."
John Milius, the original film's writer and director voiced his opinion of the remake in 2010 (to the LA Times): "I think it's a stupid thing to do. The movie is not very old," adding, "It was terrible. There was a strange feeling to the whole thing. They were fans of the movie, so they put in stuff they thought was neat. It's all about neat action scenes, and has nothing to do with story."
Other than political pressure, the remake of "Red Dawn" also had to deal with MGM's terrible financial situation that led to the studio shuttering projects left and right. Slashfilm reported in 2010 that the film was on hold indefinitely. At the time, the film was close to being finished, but with MGM not able to support it financially, it went on hold. This allowed time for Chris Hemsworth, the star of the film, to build a name for himself with Marvel's "Thor" and JJ Abrams' "Star Trek" reboot (where he played Captain Kirk's father in the opening scene).
Dan Bradley, longtime stunt coordinator on films like "Where The Wild Things Are," "Spider-Man 2" and "Mission Impossible -- Ghost protocol" directed the "Red Dawn" remake, with a script courtesy of Carl Ellsworth ("Disturbia," "Red Eye") and Jeremy Passmore ("Special"). The film will release nationwide on Nov. 21, 2012.