For three seasons we watched "Friday Night Lights'" Tyra Collette save her pennies, work her ass off and do everything she could to get out of Dillon, Texas. But luckily for fans actress Adrianne Palicki was dying to return and will reprise her role in the upcoming final season.
But by then it might feel odd to see Adrianne in torn jeans because Cat, the wealthy mother she plays on Fox's gripping new drama "Lone Star," is more Manolo than Mack Truck. And starting tonight, you will be learning all about her in the year's best new show.
Cat -- one of three heir's to a giant oil conglomerate -- is married to Bob (breakout star of the year, James Wolk) and lives a life of luxury, blissfully unaware of the fact her husband is actually a grifter with another life -- and wife -- several hundred miles away. And yet the magical thing about "Lone Star" is you never see Bob as the bad guy. Because everyone around him is hiding something equally awful ... including Cat.
PopWrap: What attracted you to this script?
Adrianne Palicki: It’s interesting because I wasn’t really looking to do television again – I had such an amazing experience with “Friday Night Lights” and kinda wanted to do film. But my manager gave me this script and said, “I know you don’t want to do TV, but please read this script.” It was one of the best scripts I ever read, but the only way this show would work is if you cared about Bob, so I knew casting was going to play a huge part. Then I met Jimmy [Wolk] and at that moment, I knew the show would be a hit. He is that character – it's all in his eyes.
PW: Plus, she's 180 degrees from Tyra, your "FNL" character.
Adrianne: Yes, it's a completely different role. Cat's a mature woman with a child from the right side of the tracks and not a bitch. I also got to wear my first pair of Manolo's to play Cat. So yea, I totally did it for the wardrobe [laughs].
PW: You get the sense that tonight's premiere only reveals the tip of the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Cat.
Adrianne: Absolutely. There’s a lot to her – she’s the monarch of the family. She holds everything together -- when her mother died five years ago she assumed that role. She’s also the smartest [in the family] despite wanting nothing to do with the family business. The other interesting thing that happens down the road is her husband comes into play. Which is very juicy and interesting. You start to see who she is, where she comes from, her past and why that makes her choose Bob.
PW: How do you mean?
Adrianne: You see that she went for Bob because he’s the safe choice – but she’s drawn to these men who are hiding so much, so it’s interesting that Lindsay thinks she chose him for one reason when in fact, she subconsciously did it for another. The unspoken secret.
PW: What can you tease about episodes two and beyond?
Adrianne: The nice thing is that main con in tonight’s pilot will be the through-line for the show, but there are so many other cons going on. Now every single character has one. Absolutely everyone has a secret and it’s interesting too because you’ll start to see Bob unravel. He’s loses his footing and the ability to balance everything, which freaks him out. The great thing about this show, the bad guys aren’t the bad guys. You root for Bob, but he’s kinda actually the bad guy.
PW: Like "FNL," this show films in Texas, far from the Hollywood system -- how does that impact a show?
Adrianne: I think it’s one of the most important ingredients in making a successful television show. It changes your interactions and gives a greater emotional heft because you are forced to form bonds. You don’t know anybody else in town so you hang out all the time so you develop these really strong relationships and that transfers to screen. We don't have to try and make these relationships work, they just do.
PW: And being in Texas allowed you to return for the final season of "Friday Night Lights," were you excited to have the chance to give Tyra a proper conclusion?
Adrianne: It was really, really important – I was supposed to come back in season four but I couldn’t because of “Red Dawn’s” shooting schedule. It was a scenes where Landry’s on the side of the road and Tyra was supposed to be there, but she never shows up. And I’m watching the scene, because I’m still an avid fan, thinking, “Tyra wouldn’t stand Landry up! This isn’t fair!” I’m so connected to these characters. And also that was my family. I’m so close to those people so to be a part of the end, saying good-bye to the crew, was really therapeutic and special.
PW: Will Tyra's return involve a "Midnight Express" prison visit with Riggins?
Adrianne: [laughs] Very apropos, but no. Tim is out of jail when Tyra comes home for the holidays and I think the fans are going to like seeing those two together again. Some of my favorite scenes were with Taylor [Kitsch] because those two characters have so much love and appreciation for one another. They’re so similar – like the male & female versions of each other. The fans will be really happy.
PW: You obviously have a few movies in the works, but what would you like to do next?
Adrianne: Obviously I love working in film and television, but I started in theater and I'd love to be on Broadway. The energy of live theater is indescribable. You are just in the moment for an hour and a half.
PW: Straight plays or musicals?
Adrianne: I used to do musical theater, but I haven’t been training my voice [laughs] – I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but it’s not easy. I don’t think I feel totally confident in my ability right now.
PW: You'll just save it for karaoke.
Adrianne: Exactly! Some Journey and I’m great.
PW: Are they your go-to?
Adrianne: Absolutely. Journey and Queen are my guys. "Don’t Stop Believing" is my number one, go-to karaoke song.
PW: Oh, they're no joke bands -- so obviously you can legitimately sing?
Adrianne: I never said I do it well [laughs] but I can hit notes, let’s put it that way.
"Lone Star" premiere tonight at 9pm on Fox
Photo: WireImage; Fox