ADRIANNE PALICKI: Lady of Action — The Joy Of Kicking Butt From Mockingbird to Supergirl, JOHN WICK And Beyond

The Orville actress reflects on playing a variety of action heroes brought to life in John Wick, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Smallville, the Wonder Woman pilot and more.

Smallville. Wonder Woman. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. John Wick. All of these projects have one thing in common, and that commonality is actress Adrianne Palicki, who has delighted in the opportunity that each and every one of them have given her to kick ass. An element that would seem to suggest that these are the kind of roles that she prefers.

Oh, yeah,” she laughs. “You can't tell with the roles I take? It’s like, is there a fight? Okay, I’ll take it! Seriously, though, that’s the really fun part of it. I get to be a kid and I get to learn new talents. Plus, it’s all a good workout.” 

Humorously, the show that gave her her true start was Friday Night Lights, but is that more an anomaly than what she’s actually interested in? “Friday Night Lights gave me a career and then I just went after it and it became kind of a snowball effect. I got Red Dawn [the remake] and then it was Wonder Woman. Those were the calls I was getting.


Which she was delighted to answer, the physicality of these kinds of parts — including her current stint on The Orville as Commander Kelly Grayson — aren’t as difficult as someone from the outside looking in would think.

I'm already very fit and it seems to be working based on the fact that I've played a lot of these roles,” Adrianne states. “And I’m always learning something new. On John Wick I had to learn jiu-jitsu, which was really intense training, because I'd never learned a martial art before. At this point, I was in boxing and doing jiu-jitsu and all that stuff, and the movement, is a lot easier. For me it's now just more about the choreography of it. As far as the fight stuff goes, that's the fun now.”

Given that time for this particular conversation is really tight, Adrianne wraps things up with a quick assessment of some of her more popular roles.

Supergirl on Smallville (the First Version)


Let me just say this: I have a Supergirl tattoo that I've had for about a decade. Getting to play that character, when I heard it was Kara Zor-El, I was like, ‘Oh my God! This is my dream role.’ That was such … I can't even tell you how awesome that was. It was the first of many comic book roles for me, but that was really special.

Nadia on Mercy Reef


In this pilot for what have been an Aquaman series starring This is Us’ Justin Harley, Adrianne played the sea siren Nadia, who would have been the ongoing villain of the piece if the pilot had gone to series.

“I thought that pilot was excellent. I mean, honestly, it was great. At the end of the day, it was just super expensive. I remember I had the option of testing for that as a regular or for Friday Night Lights, and I really was leaning towards Aquaman, because I had been going after it for so long — for about a month at that point. I had a strong feeling Aquaman was going to be the one that would go to series and I thought, ‘Friday Night Lights. It’s based on a book. It’s about football. It’s stuff that doesn’t work,’ or hadn’t been working at the time. But they made the offer first and I was, like, ‘I have to take it.’ It ended up being the best decision of my entire life."

Diana Prince in the Wonder Woman TV Pilot


Written and produced by David E. Kelley, here’s what Variety had to say about the pilot that did not go to series: “What Kelley did with the pilot, rather shrewdly, was completely avoid the whole traditional superhero story. Instead, he begins in a world where there’s somebody known as Wonder Woman — a widely known vigilante hero — who supports her crime-busting endeavors through merchandising deals, including an action figure.”

Says Adrianne, “Wonder Woman was actually the most amazing, surreal experience. David E. Kelley fought for me on that one. He just saw that I was her and it was one of the cooler roles of my life and experiences. And I was, like, ‘Wow, I got paid to wear this costume!’ Even if it didn’t go to series, it was a great group of people. But it was a lot of pressure, I’m not going to lie. I was taking on a huge responsibility to a lot of people.

Bobbie Morse/Mockingbird on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


She was a strong presence on the Marvel series for a time and came thiz close to starring in a spin-off series. “Honestly, she was one of the best characters I’d ever played in the fact that she’s funny, she’s tough. She gets to do fight stuff. She has her drama and emotion. She’s vulnerable. She gets to be a spy. She does most of the ‘languages.’ It’s just such a cool role. ** “I think Bobbi Morse isn’t a soldier and she’s always on the up and up. She always wants to do the right thing. So in her mind, she's always going to do the right thing, at least what she thinks is right. You know what I mean? She’s a very genuine character and as much as she is a spy and she's had this lifestyle for so long, I think that's she still hates hurting people, especially people around her that she wants to trust her. At the end of the day, she's a soldier and she's a bad ass, but I think she's a really good person.


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