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'FNL' Star Tackles Life in Dillon, 'Nerdy' Guys and Comic Books

If you've been following some of my posts over the past few months, you know that I'm a big fan of the NBC series "Friday Night Lights."I did a Q&A with stars Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton last month and discussed the new season with my colleague Noah Oppenheim. This morning, Adrianne Palicki, who plays the beautiful but emotionally-scarred teen Tyra, stopped by for a quick chat with Matt, Nata

If you've been following some of my posts over the past few months, you know that I'm a big fan of the NBC series "Friday Night Lights."

I did a Q&A with stars Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton last month and discussed the new season with my colleague Noah Oppenheim.

This morning, Adrianne Palicki, who plays the beautiful but emotionally-scarred teen Tyra, stopped by for a quick chat with Matt, Natalie, Al and Hoda. WATCH VIDEO

Before the segment, I visited her to talk about life in Dillon, her character's controversial storyline and her affinity for comic books.

Here's our conversation:

Q: What attracted you to the show in the first place?

Adrianne Palicki: It's funny, actually. I was not interested in doing the show in the beginning. I looked at the script the night before I was auditioning for it, and I didn't think it was the most amazing thing. Also, shows that are based on movies and also on football never seem to make it, so I wasn't really that gung ho about it.

So I went on my audition, and then I went on another audition, and I got a call saying [executive producer] Pete Berg wants to meet with you, and the only time he can do it is now, because they're testing every character in the studio.

So I said, "Okay..." I went in and after meeting with him, I said, "Even if I don't get the part, that was the most amazing experience."

Q: What made it so amazing?

AP: He's an actor, so he's a fantastic director. He had me do it every which way. He's like, "Now act like you're on heroin." So I was like , "Oh, let me tap into my days of using." It was just interesting and fun. I felt like I had an acting class, a workout.

So after that I said I would love to work with him. The next day, I tested at network and got the part.

Q: Has the show continued to be an acting class? Does it push you in the kind of ways that he pushed you in that first meeting?

AP: Absolutely. The greatest part about the show is that we have so much freedom as actors. We get to improv when we feel it's necessary. We get to have fun, there are no marks, it's three cameras following us around at all times, so we get to move around. But it's also really scary as an actor, because we're usually puppets. You say this, you move here, you turn your head like this. So it's scary every day, but it's also the best part of it.

Q: Does it feel like a reality show almost, with the way it's shot and the freedom you have as actors?

AP: Not necessarily a reality show, but I feel like it's real life. We're all so invested in our characters at this point, so it's easy. I know Tyra. So when we're there, we're the character, and it's so much fun.

Q: Who's the most like their character on the show?

AP: Oh, God. I would have to say Kyle Chandler [Coach Taylor].

Q: Why?

AP: Because that's the way he talks. He says, "We're gonna go do that, and that's what we're gonna do..." He gets so into it. Also, I think Brad Leland, who plays Buddy Garrity, is exactly like Buddy. He's so funny.

Q: It's funny that you say Kyle Chandler, because he was here a couple weeks ago with Connie Britton. When I talked to them I asked Kyle a question and he looked at me like Coach Taylor looking at one of his players and went into that voice. By the end of it, I was like, "I'm ready to go out and tackle 10 guys and win the state championship!" I was sold.

AP: Exactly!

Q: Is there anyone who is least like their character.

AP: Gaius Charles is least like Smash. He's nothing like Smash.

Q: What's he like?

AP: He's a fantastic actor. He's very reserved and sweet.

Q: Never used steroids...

AP: Not that I know of. I'm sure he hasn't -- he doesn't even drink. He's wonderful.

Q: You're not from Texas but you spend a lot of time there when you're shooting. What do you do when you're just hanging out with the other cast members?

AP: We see a lot of live music, go to a lot of dinners, eat a lot of Mexican food and drink a lot of margaritas. That's pretty much what we do. Go for walks at the lake. It's a beautiful city and it's a lot of fun. There's always a lot to do because it's so artistic. It's been nice.

Q: So this season, there's been some criticism from fans and some critics about the direction of the show. Are you tired of responding to questions about the storyline for your character, Tyra, and Landry?

AP: Well, yes and no. I knew it was going to happen. The writers pretty much put their balls on the table. It's like, "This is everything, let's just do it." The truth of the matter is, there are two adults in Dillon. They happen to be Coach and Tami Taylor. These kids have no place to go. We all make stupid decisions. The only thing I can say to viewers is to keep watching, and it's all going to unfold. And I swear, they won't be disappointed.

Q: Did you see the relationship with Landry coming? When you read in the script that Tyra was going to get together with Landry, were you surprised or was that something that you thought might happen last season?

AP: Well, there was talk of it last season. My executive producer would joke about it, and I was like, "They cannot end up together! I want her to be with a good guy, but it's so unrealistic!" But what happened, obviously, brought these two people together. They're alone. I think, also, the attack kind of changed her. She's done with those jerks, the drunk, Tim Riggins kind of abusive men. So I'm really rooting for them. I hope they stay together.

Q: So have you dated a Landry in real life?

AP: I don't know. I've dated parts of Landry in real life. I am attracted to nerdy, kind of silly people.

Q: Well, that's good for this nerdy, silly guy...But outside of acting and working on the show, what are your interests?

AP: I paint, I write once in a while. I do a lot of reading.

Q: What are you reading?

AP: I'm reading World War Z. I just started it. I also read a lot of comic books.

Q: What kind of comic books?

AP: All kinds. I'm a huge Supergirl fan. I have a Supergirl tattoo. My brother's a comic book writer, so he got me into it at a young age.

Q: Have you seen the Supergirl movie?

AP: Oh, Helen Slater?

Q: Yes.

AP: Oh, I own it! On VHS and DVD.

Q: I remember seeing it in the theater when I was about four.

AP: It's the worst movie ever made.

Q: Terrible.

AP: But it's got the best cast. Peter O'Toole and Faye Dunaway.

Q: Yeah, that was a real revelation for me to know that there was this blond-haired, blue-eyed "Supergirl." Shaped me in ways that I'll probably never come to terms with.

Q: So are you a football fan?

AP: Yes, I did grow up liking football. I'm from Ohio, which is very similar to Texas in the way we love our football.

Q: Did you go to all of your high school games?

AP: Oh, yeah.

Q: What high school did you go to?

AP: I went to Whitmer [in Toledo]. It's funny, actually, we're the Whitmer Panthers. Same exact uniforms [as the Dillon Panthers], same exact colors. So the first time I stepped out on the field when we were shooting a football scene, I was thinking, "I'm really at my high school game right now." The only difference is the helmets.

Q: It was a deja vu situation.

AP: Exactly.

Q: The last thing I'll ask you is a little random...Your mother on the show is played by Dana Nicholson-Wheeler. Guys like me think of her in Fletch. I don't know if you've ever seen Fletch--

AP: Oh, yeah! She was also in Tombstone...

Q: Right. Okay, well a lot of guys like to quote Fletch, pretty much all the time. Do people walk up to her and start quoting Fletch to her? Because I know if my friends were to see her, that's what they would do.

AP: I haven't been with her when that's happened, but that's definitely what she gets recognized for. She's amazing, a phenomenal actress.