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Published: Thursday, 9/16/2010

Palicki back in Texas for new series, ‘Lone Star'

BY KIRK BAIRD
BLADE STAFF WRITER

You might know Adrianne Palicki from the TV series Friday Night Lights.

Or, perhaps you went to school with Palicki, a graduate of Whitmer High School.

Maybe you know her parents, Jeff and Nancy Palicki.

And if none of the above applies, then maybe it's time to get acquainted with the Toledo native, beginning at 9 p.m. Monday when the 27-year-old actress can be seen in Fox's intriguing new drama, Lone Star, shown locally on WUPW-TV, Channel 36.

Palicki plays Cat Thatcher, the daughter of a wealthy Houston oilman (played by Jon Voight), who is married to a con artist named Bob (James Wolk). Cat doesn't know she is a mark for Bob to get into her daddy's business. Even worse, she doesn't know that Bob is involved with another woman in Midland, Texas, as part of another con.

If this sounds a bit strange for prime-time television, that's the point. But somehow, it works, with an hourlong pilot that evokes HBO's Big Love and the decades-old prime-time soap Dallas.

Director Marc Webb, who gave us the smartest romantic comedy in years in (500) Days of Summer last year, launched Lone Star, giving it a look and feel unlike anything you've seen on network TV. But being good and being different certainly don't ensure the show's success, as Palicki knows from her first TV series set in Texas, Friday Night Lights.

But the actress maintains high hopes that Lone Star will be different, as she told The Blade in a recent phone interview.

Question: You're back in Texas with another series. So, are you feeling a connection with the state?

Answer: I actually felt quite a connection when I was doing Friday Night Lights. You know, Austin is my favorite city on the planet. Now I'm in Dallas. I love Texas. I actually really prefer, in a weird way — especially in television shows — to work outside of Los Angeles. It really forces you to have a bond with your cast that you wouldn't necessarily have if you were able to go to your normal life after work. It really forces us to become friends and I think that's really important because that's what translates to the screen, you see those bonds. That's why Friday Night Lights, I think, was so fantastic, and I think Lone Star's the same way. We all love each other.

Q: Lone Star, as many critics have suggested, brings something different to prime time.

A: The thing that I really appreciate is it's a very original series, which is what drew me to it in the first place. First of all, the writing is spectacular. It's very smart. It's also not full of itself. It's a little soapy, but it's sexy. Marc Webb, who directed the pilot, is a genius. He's a movie director ... and it feels like a film, it feels like an indie film. I think that really gives you this weird connection to the characters as well, because visually it really is stunning.

And also the performances are unbelievable. James Wolk … it all depends on this one guy [and] do you find him endearing, because if you don't like him, there's no season. He plays it like he's with each woman and he's so in love with both of them and you see that. You want him to have both … you want him to have it all. And there's something really interesting about that. That hasn't been done.

Q: How was it to work with Marc?

A: I loved Marc. Marc really set the tone for the show, too, which is so great. He's so great with actors; he's just like one of us. He knows how to talk to us. He's not pretentious and full of himself. He hangs out with us. He's kind of shy, kind of a cool guy. He's actually one of my favorite directors to work with.

Q: You were on another critically acclaimed series that didn't fare well in the ratings, yet has survived for several seasons. How important is it to have audience support for Lone Star?

A: It's always important because that's the way we sustain our TV show. It's important that people watch it, ultimately. I think that there's going to be a lot of controversy over it, which I love. I think that makes for good television and I think it makes people tune in. But yeah, it is important what people think of the show. The fans are the ones who kept Friday Night Lights on the air, thank God, and hopefully they'll be the ones to keep this show on the air as well.

Q: So, would you rather have a series with successful ratings more than a series that earns critical praise?

A: That's a tough question because ultimately you want the best of both worlds. I want to do good work and I want people to appreciate that, and I think that that's what we're doing on this show. I think we'll have a little bit of both, which is fantastic.

Contact Kirk Baird at

kbaird@theblade.com

or 419-724-6734.



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