by Kevin Gaussoin, Editor-in-Chief
ComicsOnline recently had the honor and pleasure of an exclusive conversation with one of the co-stars from Red Dawn, Edwin Hodge. Our fans will remember Edwin from his roles in Heroes, Angel, Invasion… Or maybe from his current role on Cougar Town. Red Dawn also stars Thor, Peeta, (Drake and-) Josh, Wonder Woman, and The Comedian.
ComicsOnline: I’m here with Edwin Hodge and we’re talking about Red Dawn today. I looked through your IMDB resume and I realized, “Oh my god, I’ve seen this guy everywhere.”
Edwin Hodge: [laughs] Thank you, that’s a complement.
CO: You’re in all the good stuff.
EH: Yeah, I’ve been at this for twenty-four years now. I started when I was three. It’s been one of this things… It was fun, it was a hobby for me for a very very long time, but I didn’t really make it my profession within my mind until the age of eighteen. This has been a mainstay as far as things to stick, as far as activities or anything of that nature. It’s been an up and down career like anybody else’s career, but it’s been great. It’s been great enough to keep me in it.
CO: Yeah, I can see that. Not only have you had some recurring roles, but you’ve also had guest starring roles in a ton of great genre stuff. Now obviously a place like us, ComicsOnline, we’re particularly thrilled to see, “Oh! He was in Season 2 of Angel!”
EH: Yeah. [laughs]
CO: You know? Stuff like that. Heroes, even.
EH: Yeah, I’ve been fortunate to get some really really great guest star roles on shows. Like you said, I’ve run the gamut as far as different genres and that’s just a staple of what I try to do as far as my career is concerned. …As far as keeping a diverse image of myself. And I think that’s told through anybody’s work, so to be afforded the opportunity to work on shows like Heroes and Gray’s Anatomy and Cougartown and all these shows that have completely different plotlines and storylines, it’s been humbling. …As far as my career is concerned.
CO: That’s got to be a lot of fun.
EH: Yeah, it definitely is.
CO: So Red Dawn. Now I recently heard that Red Dawn was pretty much completed a while ago, and it was kind of sat on for a little while due to some red tape, if you will. Can you comment on that at all?
EH: Yeah, it’s just part of the business sometimes. You know, things kind of fall out and you gotta pick up the pieces again. The film itself… The people that were behind it really believed in the film. They weren’t gonna just let this film set on the shelf. They did everything possible to make sure that our work is seen -their work is seen -that the fans got what they have been waiting for, ’cause this is a cult classic to some people. It was just in everybody’s best interests to just find a common ground and make sure that we get this out to the audience who have been waiting so patiently for it.
CO: So when did you actually shoot it?
EH: I think it’s been about three and a half, almost four years. We were out in Detroit for a month, the entire time of the production.
CO: Yeah, that happened to another one of our movies that we’ve been particularly interested in: The Cabin in the Woods sat on a shelf for a while as well.
EH: Yeah, and that one also starred Chris Hemsworth. Yeah, that was on the shelf for a very long time, in fact a friend and I were talking about that today. But that’s the nature of the business; it’s very unpredictable. So you as a professional in this industry, no matter what aspect of the industry you decide to take on, you definitely have to be on your toes, and you have to be ready for the unexpected and be able to make moves to counteract what may be negative, or maybe even positive in other people’s eyes. You know, as long as the art and the work is seen, I think that’s just in everybody’s best interests.
CO: Right on. So this is finally coming out next week, huh?
EH: Yeah, next week, the 21st.
CO: Any big plans?
EH: Nah, just gonna probably grab a bunch of friends and we’re gonna go to the movie theater, just check it out. Nothing too crazy. It’s always fun to take thirty, forty friends to a movie theater, just completely take it over. Just take it over and you know all of them always show support and love every time I get on the screen. So it’s always a very fun and humbling and gratifying moment, just to see that reaction from all our friends. And then we’ll probably go out and have dinner and some drinks to celebrate like regular adults would do.
CO: [laughs] That sounds like a good time. So what’s your relationship been with Red Dawn? I mean, when it came out you were pretty young, so what’s your first memory of watching the original version?
EH: Well, the initial reaction afterwards was like “Wow, we can’t mess this up.” Because, you know, for me, I’m sitting there thinking this is a cult classic. There are a lot of people… You know, when you talk about Red Dawn, they were just in awe. They were just excited that another one was coming out, you know? So knowing that we had this big responsibility to put out a project that was gonna be just as good, or hopefully better, you know, it set heavy on my shoulders. But it was a great film for its time. It kinda transcended what a lot of other films were doing at that given point. And hopefully that’s what we could do with this film. You know? Hopefully we can create a war film of the ages for people of my generation. You know? If you talk to a lot of kids, if they’re fifteen, thirty, eighty… If they’ve seen Red Dawn, they’re fans of it. For us to get it correct… I think everybody had that same goal in mind–that this was something big. And it was going to be big. I mean, we have Thor! …In it for chrissake.
CO: [laughs] I’m glad I’m not the only one who refuses to call him Chris Hemsworth and just always calls him “Thor” now.
EH: Thor. Yeah, that’s just who he is. You know? He’s Thor. Hey, you know: Josh Hutcherson… You know, with them building up their fan base, the film is now growing and the film is pumping up to something that could be as large as what the original was. So my first take on it was like, “Wow, we have some big shoes to fill.” And plus, the actors too…
CO: You know, I didn’t even think of it before, but looking at the lineup here, it is kind of a stacked deck, if you will, you got a lot of star power in this guy.
EH: Yeah. Lea Thompson, Jennifer Gray, Brad Savage… You know, there are some shoes to fill.
EH: And I’m stepping into Savage’s role, so I’m like all right, that’s the guy I gotta follow. And that’s the guy that hopefully when his family sees this, everybody’s just like, “All right, he did a great job.”
CO: So you feel like your Danny is at or better than the original portrayal?
EH: I’m gonna be humble and say “At.” [laughs]
CO: All right, fair enough.
EH: To be fair, I like to say “At.” When I do perform… When I do What I love to do, I make sure that I give everything that I need to give and I make sure that it’s not only about my satisfaction, when it comes to my performance. I do want the director to be like, “Yeah, that was great.” I want the producers to be like, “Yeah, that was great.” I want the extras to be like, Yeah… That was great.” So I hope when people see it they don’t try to compare me, that when they see it they just enjoy what I’m doing. And they can have their own opinion about the new age Danny, not try to compare the old Danny to the new Danny.
CO: Gotcha. Well, I can’t wait to see it. I haven’t seen a screener yet, so I think I’m just going to see it with the rest of everyone.
EH: I can say that I think you’ll enjoy the performances, Definitely. A lot of people did a lot of hard work to get this project out of here, and I think you definitely will enjoy it.
CO: Yeah, I looks like our core audience, the geeks, have got Thor, and the would-be Wonder Woman, Josh Hutcherson, who can’t leave the geek genre no matter how hard he tries, and also Adrianne Palicki along with Jeffrey Dean Morgan from…
CO: Exactly, it’s our people in this movie. And then of course, you, with Invasion…
EH: And Heroes.
CO: And Heroes. But you gotta go back to Angel, cause I love Angel.
EH: Oh, Angel too, yeah. Definitely Angel. That was before all of that.
CO: Yeah, so we can’t wait to see it. And so you filmed in Detroit. And was it supposed to be set in or around Detroit, or elsewhere?
EH: No, we were still set in Spokane. But Detroit just fit the backdrop of it all. We are just able to shoot in certain places and use certain buildings that they probably wouldn’t have been able to find in Spokane, Washington. So yeah, four months throughout the summer, going till the early part of winter. And we used Detroit like our backyard playground. It was great.
CO: It sounds like good times.
EH: Yeah, when you can run down the street, shooting AK-47s legally, technically, it’s always a good time. [laughs]
CO: Yeah, no kidding. [laughs] So Red Dawn coming out November 21st. After that… The publicist that put us together told me that you’re about to travel to… Japan? Was that the case?
EH: Oh, no, I’m heading to Paris.
CO: Heading to Paris? Do do some voice work?
EH: A video game.
CO: Voice work for a video game? Or something else?
EH: No, no… It’s all motion capture.
CO: Motion capture.
EH: Yeah, so it’s all MoCap. I’m an actual character in the game. But the company that’s putting the game together, they’re French-based. That’s why they’re sending us to Paris to do it.
CO: Oh. Well some of our favorite video game companies are French these days. Are you allowed to tell us if it’s…? [laughs]
EH: No. I. Can’t. Say. Anything. About it. To be honest with you, I don’t know anything about it.
CO: Fair enough.
EH: This project has been in the works for… probably about three years, too. But it was set back because a couple of other games needed to be finished. But I dunno, it transitioned into one thing, but now I have no clue as to what’s going on with the game.
CO: Do we know about the genre, even?
CO: You do, but you’re not allowed to tell?
EH: Yeah, literally I can’t say anything about it.
CO: No, that’s cool. I just want to get as much as you’re ALLOWED to say. I don’t want to get anybody in trouble. It’s not worth it.
EH: Yeah, no doubt.
CO: That’s all right. We’ll just put some wild guesses after this interview. We’ll throw that to the fans. “WE’RE ANNOUNCING HERE: EDWIN IS GOING TO BE…” I dunno, we’ll just throw it out there with an ellipsis there. Anyhow, so after that, what’s your next big thing?
EH: I recently finished this movie called The Purge with Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey. That film should be out early 2013. Currently, I can be seen on Cougartown. And I’m in the process right now of shooting a film called One Heart with Marc Blucas and Abigail Spencer and Matthew Lillard.
CO: Nice. And what sort of movie is that?
EH: It’s actually based on a true story. It’s based on the Gainesville juvenile inmates. They were allowed to play football, kind of like their rehabilitation. They played against all these high schools around Texas. Of course a lot of families, the community, they were opposed to the idea of convicts being on the football field. But these kids fought through all of this: The animosity and the bigotry and still played their hearts out, even though they lost every game of the season. But in their final game of the season, the town, they finally rally behind these inmates, and they may be becoming victorious. So it’s based on a true story and we’re shooting that in Dallas and Crawford, Texas. …Over the next month. And it’s just really nice. Marc and I worked on Alamo back in 2002, I believe, so it’s great working with him again, and Matthew Lillard worked with my brother on his show, Leverage, on TNT. So it was good working with him, so we basically had a bunch of friends. I had another guy [Mark Ellis] who worked on Red Dawn, he was our stunt coordinator there; he’s now our director on One Heart. So it was kinda like just being with a bunch of friends.
CO: That sounds like good times. I didn’t realize Aldis was your brother.
EH: Yeah, he’s…
CO: We’re huge fans of his!
EH: Well yeah, Supernatural and Leverage. He’s my baby brother. I got him at eighteen months.
CO: All right, good stuff. Yeah, we love Leverage. Any scene with him in it is a winner.
EH: He does no how to steal some camera time. In my mind, he’s a genius at what he does. He’s very focused on set. He’s pretty much one of the only actors I know who can jump from being Jamaican to Irish to Swedish, all in the matter of thirty seconds.
CO: [laughs] Oh, yeah.
EH: So it’s nice to see him work. It’s nice to always watch his final product. He gives it all he’s got and he’s definitely seen and present in his performance when people watch it.
CO: Well, you can definitely see it. The camera loves that guy. Anything with Hardison and Parker in it, you’re watching.
EH: Yeah, or course. Those two, that combination, and Christian [Kane] as well.
EH: I think the audience… They really love those three together.
CO: It’s true.
EH: They’re like the modern day Mod Squad. They’re hilarious.
CO: Yeah. So hey, it was great talking with you. Hopefully we’ll do so again for whatever big thing comes out next.
EH: Yeah, sure. Definitely. I’m sure Angela will keep you abreast of all of the new stuff. Like I say, The Purge will be out March of 2013.
CO: And if any of your bazillions of fans want to meet you in person, are you at any conventions or anything? Are you one of those guys?
EH: Nah, I’m not at any conventions yet. I have been to a couple thanks to my brother. But I haven’t been on any convention circuit yet. I think maybe after Red Dawn the conventions might start coming into play.
CO: All right, well we’re always at them, so we’d love to meet up with you in person.
CO: Well thank you very much Edwin, and we’ll talk to you again another time.
EH: You got it, thank you.