Meet the new Wonder Woman: Adrianne Palicki.
If you’re scratching your head at the casting, don’t. Palicki, who may only be a familiar name and face to some, is a fantastic choice to play the iconic DC Comics superhero, with four seasons of NBC/DirecTV’s Friday Night Lights under her belt. (She also recently returned for the critically praised but ratings challenged series’ finale earlier this month.)
On the Texas-set drama from Peter Berg, Palicki played Tyra Collette, a hard-nosed trashy townie who, with the help of guidance counselor Tami Taylor (Connie Britton), takes control of her life and eventually departs Dillon for college. Like just about every actor on FNL, Palicki was pitch perfect: fun and playful and when her character cleaned up, the actress delivered in grand fashion with a newfound sense of innocence that she paired brilliantly with the self-doubt of a high school student finally exploring her potential.
Palicki, 27, also wowed critics in Fox’s short-lived drama Lone Star, in which she played con man James Wolk’s devoted wife in the series’ two episodes that made it to air before the series was canceled.
Much has been said about what attributes the character of Wonder Woman — and her alter-ego, Diana Prince — needs to have and Palicki has it all — and then some. According to Deadline, Palicki was the only actress invited to test for the part. What’s even more perfect is that the actress’ dream role is to star as the title character in a remake of 1984’s Helen Slater starrer Supergirl. That Palicki also has Supergirl tattoos? A total bonus. Oh, and her brother, comic book write Eric Palicki, got her into the genre at an early age. Judging from her taste in comics — she’s a fan of Y: The Last Man, which features all sorts of ass-kicking female characters — it’s clear she’s going to do Wonder Woman justice.
While The Daily Beast noted that the script, from Ally McBeal, The Practice, Boston Legal and Harry’s Law creator David E. Kelley, is beyond problematic, Palicki’s casting gives me hope for the project.
Palicki has the acting chops — and look! — to pull off the part, even if NBC fails to fix the many issues in the very Ally McWonder Woman script. To have the famed heroine lovelorn and lonely is ridiculous. It’s understandable that Kelley wants to do something different with the famed Amazon — in addition to the timid Diana Prince and superhero Wonder Woman, Palicki will also have to play the character’s third alter-ego: Diana Themyscira, chairman of Themyscira Industries. (Look for more on that in next week’s Pilot Pirate column.)
Kelley’s script has the same commercial qualities that have made his other series successful and it’s worth noting that every network — including a pre-Robert Greenblatt-led NBC — passed on the project. Hopefully now that the primary casting is complete, the network can retool the script and update it from its very 1990s vibe. If Wonder Woman’s costume can get an update to pants, let’s hope Kelley’s script can get a Joss Whedon-style update for its leading lady.
In the meantime, Palicki will be seen later this year on the big screen in Red Dawn, in which a group of teens attempt to save their town from an invasion of Chinese and Russian soldiers, opposite Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson.
What do you think about Palicki’s casting? Has NBC found the new Lynda Carter?