Behind The ScenesMLB

ESPN’s Karl Ravech and John Kruk co-star with ‘Snake Eyes’ and cold hot dogs in promo for GI Joe: Retaliation

Karl Ravech, celebrating his 20th anniversary with ESPN this year, has participated in countless commercials and promos for This is SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight and a variety of special projects.

He adds another spot to that impressive acting resume with an ad now airing in support of Paramount’s new March 28 release, GI Joe: Retaliation.

Ravech teamed with Sunday Night Baseball and Baseball Tonight analyst John Kruk for the ESPN CreativeWorks project, which was filmed at Silver Cup Studios in New York.

He gives Front Row insights into what was involved in the shoot.

Can you tell us a little bit about the shoot?
I don’t think either one of us had any idea what we were in for exactly. The GI Joe we grew up with rode in a jeep with a camouflage uniform. This is a whole new concept of GI Joe, so we were completely surprised. But that’s the best way that Kruk and I operate. They even let us ad lib part of it so it wasn’t completely scripted. Just like Baseball Tonight, this is a reflection of who we are.

We filmed it on fake rock wall. It was about 12 feet tall and we literally stood on it for four to five hours. We were harnessed in for safety. I’m sure there were some concerns given our lack of athletic ability but the harness would have held us in. With all due respect to the hard labor Kruk and I put in, Snake Eyes was in that uniform the whole time. He had to fall off the wall and fly back in. I really give him props.

Were the hot dogs props?
They actually had a person who was preparing hot dogs. They were cold but there was a table full of maybe 60 hot dogs all with mustard on them. Given Kruk’s appreciation of hot dogs and even my own, it was difficult not to eat them, but the fact they were cold made them easier to resist.

Is it difficult to act a yawn?
Ah, that’s my great acting. I probably only actually yawned five or six times during the shoot. If you think about it, yawning is just a lack of oxygen and given that we were so high off the ground with very little oxygen, that wasn’t too difficult!

Where does this rate among other commercials you’ve filmed for ESPN?
In no other commercial have I spent so much time standing on a wall with John Kruk, so that alone puts it near the top. They are all a blast and the strange part about it, making a commercial or a movie or a This is SportsCenter or Baseball Tonight promo, it’s often difficult to understand the storyboards that producers show you. So the finished product is always very interesting. In this one, it looks like we are in a mountain range. It really looks like we’re a thousand feet in the air in the middle of the chasm. They did an amazing job.

Karl Ravech and John Kruk (CREDIT)
ESPN’s Karl Ravech and John Kruk shoot a GI Joe: Retaliation ad.
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