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Adrianne Palicki on Red Dawn, Shooting Guns, and Superhero Tattoos

Adrianne Palicki. Photo: Getty Images

Adrianne Palicki is one tough chick. She’s Wonder Woman (or at least was, briefly), she’s Lady Jaye in G.I. Joe: Cobra Strikes, and in the remake of the eighties classic Red Dawn this week, she’s a Wolverine. Basically, she’s someone you want on your side when stuff starts going down, whether it’s a Russian, Chinese, or Korean invasion (take your pick). So when the blackout hit Lower Manhattan Halloween week, Palicki gave Vulture a call on a borrowed phone line to distract us from the almost Red Dawn–like circumstances out on the streets below. Here, she shares her sniper abilities, her take on the Thor versus Wonder Woman fight, and what she thinks about Mitt Romney using a slogan from Friday Night Lights.

How good with a gun are you right now?
I’d like to think I’m pretty good. I’m a pretty good shot, shockingly. I could probably hit from a fucking mile away. That sounds excessive, right? That makes me sound like I’m sniper level, so I’m just going to say that I am, in case a job opens up. Loading and reloading a gun is the hardest, but I’m a pro at that now. One of the prerequisites for doing this film is you had to do your own stunts, and if I weren’t an actor, I would be a stuntwoman. It was so much fun! I mean, I was in so much pain, but it was so much fun. [Laughs.]

So if the apocalypse were to happen, you’d be in good shape?
Hand me an AK-47 and two things could happen: I could run in there and blast away, or be in a fetal position in the corner. Hope I never find out.

Are men ever intimidated by you?
I think that because I’m almost six foot tall and I’m good with guns and throwing things, yeah. But if people are scared, who gives a crap? Screw them! Not literally. I like being scared, though. I’m doing a scary movie night tonight with my boyfriend [G.I. Joe co-star D.J. Cotrona] and my dog, because he’s never seen The Amityville Horror — my boyfriend, not my dog, and the original, not the remake. He’s a huge scaredy cat. You know my boyfriend actually grew up literally a mile away from the same town that the [paranormal investigators in the real-life Amityville case] Ed and Lorraine Warren are from? That is so awesome.

Are you a horror movie buff?
I miss movies where you don’t see anything. I don’t want to see someone running at me like a ghost. Paranormal Activity 3 disappointed me.

Did you see the original Red Dawn movie?
Only after I booked the part, and all these guys were telling me, “Don’t fuck it up! It’s the best thing that ever happened!” And afterwards, I totally saw what they loved about it, but it still didn’t resonate as much with me. This one, I think, transcends it. It still works. It’s about people who take back the same and survive. It’s the same story, twenty years later.

Well, not quite the same story. They made some changes. And even within this film, they changed the premise from the original version, when it was about the Chinese collecting our debt to them. Did you see that version? What did you think?
I did, and you know, I think it was a ballsy move to have the China story, and I liked it. That said, I understand what they had to do and why, and I think our version now is the best one. I think it works, and I hope that people like it, even if it’s not as logical. It’s a fun movie, even with the political aspects, so sit back and enjoy the ride. And Chris Hemsworth is not hard to look at.

Did you guys geek out over comic book superheroes together?
I didn’t book Wonder Woman until after, but I wish I had known, so we could argue about who would win in a fight — Thor or Wonder Woman? And I think Wonder Woman, because she’s a woman, and she’s smart, and she doesn’t need a fricking hammer. I’m just saying. She has a lasso, and she’s hard core! You know, she had a relationship with Superman, and that says it all.

You have a Supergirl tattoo. Would you ever get inked with another superhero?
I got it on my hip about seven years ago, because she’s my all-time favorite, and I wanted to be like that character. I was a mousey, dirty-blonde kid with acne, and I wanted to be a beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed girl. And I got it before I did Smallville, because if I got it after, it would be kind of cheesy, right? And if I got a Wonder Woman one now, that would be cheesy, too. Unless I just got the “W” and hid it.

You know the CW is developing a Wonder Woman origins show now. Would you want to make a cameo?
You mean like Smallville? Oh, no. Let them have it on their own. I think it would be cool, though. I’d love to see a young Wonder Woman.

Mitt Romney used the Friday Night Lights battle cry, “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose,” on the campaign trail.
And we objected, the women of the show. I think he read what we wrote about it, but he still used it. And what pisses me off about it is that it’s not for him to quote, or make money from it. He is nothing like that show. That quote comes from the voice of Coach Taylor, and if anyone is like Coach, it’s Barack Obama.

Any word on the FNL movie?
It’s in flux. Fingers crossed!

Adrianne Palicki on Red Dawn and Shooting Guns