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Adrianne Palicki is easily recognizable as Tyra Collette from the popular television show "Friday Night Lights," which ended its five-year run in 2011. Around the same time, the 29-year-old actress set the comic book community abuzz after nabbing the coveted lead in super-producer David E. Kelly's pilot for "Wonder Woman." Unfortunately, the show didn't get picked up, but Palicki had no problems making the jump to big-screen action hero, even scoring the role of Lady Jaye in the upcoming "G.I. Joe: Retaliation."
In her first film since the end of "FNL," the tall (she's 5-foot-11) hottie battles an enemy takeover in "Red Dawn," which hits theaters on Nov. 21. A tune-up on the 1984 film, the reboot also stars Chris Hemsorth, Josh Peck and Josh Hutcherson, swaps Russians for North Koreans, and proves cell phones can be valuable tools in warfare.
We spoke to Palicki about living up to the original "Red Dawn," her tendency towards action roles, and what her thoughts are on bringing the TV cast back together for a "Friday Night Lights" film.
You play Toni in the updated "Red Dawn," which was Jennifer Grey's role in the original. Did you see the 1984 version before you were approached for the remake?
I did. As soon as I booked the movie, all my friends were like, "What the heck, they're remaking that? Don't you dare f**k that up!" And I'm like, "Whoa! Okay, I'm sorry crazy fans."
So many people had that exact same reaction, people I don't even know, so I was like, I should probably do this movie. I get it. I can see why it had such a cult following, especially at the time. I can imagine how it resonated with people during that time period with the Russians.
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With the cast gun-toting and running around in the woods, were there any mishaps that happened on set?
Josh Peck and I, I think we were the only two that got really hurt during the filming. Josh was running — he had to get on this bus to save Isabel Lucas' character — and he ended up setting his gun on a seat, and went flying, and the butt of his gun hit his head and he had to have stitches. And me, I was firing an RPG that misfired and blew up in my face.
That does not sound good.
Yeah, fun. I burned [the side] of my face and my eyebrow was burned off, and my hair in that area. This was at 3 o'clock in the morning, too. I remember the A.D. at the time said, "Can I do anything for you?" And I was like, "I just want tequilaaaaa." [Laughs] She went out and got me the biggest bottle of tequila I've ever seen. I said, "Thank you! Thank you!" and forgot all about it… 'til the next morning.
The next day I went to the doctor and I had to obviously get ointment, and that stuff that makes your eyelashes grow — Latisse — for my eyebrow and eyelashes.
Did you do a lot of your own stunts?
I did. It was kind of a prerequisite for this movie. Dan [Bradley, the director] was very adamant about wanting to include the actors as much as possible because it really does make such a difference in action sequences when you can actually see somebody's face; [to] see it happening and not have the back of a wig of a stunt double, it will take you out of the movie and the moment.
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You've played some badass roles, including "Wonder Woman" in the television pilot, and Lade Jaye in the upcoming "G.I. Joe: Retaliation." Do you like the action stuff?
I love it. I'm naturally athletic, and I think playing strong, female roles just kind of happened. And then once you do one, people go, "She's really good at that; she can carry around guns and stuff, why don't you just do this?" And I’m like, "Okay, sure, I'll do that. I'll play Wonder Woman."
Growing up [in Ohio], I ran track and played basketball, and I danced for a long time, so there was always a level of physicality. I think moving to L.A., I became much more physical; it's just kind of a prerequisite living here. But there's no level of preparation for something like "Red Dawn." I mean, with this movie, I was definitely shocked at how much of the stunts I did and how scary it was, how hard it was, but also how fun it was to say, "I did that," and actually get to look on the screen and say, "That's me. That fall? Yep, that was me."
Playing Chris Hemsworth's love interest in the film couldn't have been too bad, either.
Oh, it was a nightmare, okay? Like really, I have to work with that guy?
He's a sweetheart and a goofball. Half the time I couldn't understand what the heck he was saying 'cause he's Australian, so I was like, "Huh?," 'cause he talks fast and low.
This is your first film since the end of "Friday Night Lights." Do you think you'll continue making movies or maybe tackle another series in the future?
I don't know. Between this and "G.I. Joe" coming out, and "Coffee Town," a comedy I just did, I feel like I really love film and I love the idea. I mean, as hard as it is with a movie like this being postponed for years, TV is so much harder. You get a pilot, you hope it gets picked up … then you hope it doesn't get cancelled. There's just too much of it that you have so little control over. And I also got to be a part of "Friday Night Lights." I'd done TV after, and I've been very lucky to do so, but it's special.
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Well, there's buzz circulating about a "Friday Night Lights" film starring the TV cast…
Possibly. Possibly. You know, it's all up in the air. Peter Berg opening his mouth like that! I get asked everyday and I'm like, "Look, there's talks, but nothing's official so don't get too excited."
Now that's not gonna stop fans from still getting pumped about the idea of seeing you all together again for a big screen version.
I know, and I'm in the middle. I want it to happen personally because I love that show so much, and I love everybody, but, at the same time, for the show's sake, I'm just, "Let it be what it was; it ended sooo perfectly."
So if not "Friday Night Lights" just yet, what is next for you?
There's "Coffee Town." Right now, I'm doing so much press for this ["Red Dawn"], and then "G.I. Joe" is right after.