Frankie Adams the Unfindable Expanse Actress

The men behind adapting the popular Expanse novels to the screen faced a massive challenge in season two – finding the perfect actor to play beloved favourite, Bobbie Draper. And they found her, in New Zealand. Frankie Adams ticked all the boxes.

In the first scene of The Expanse season two, a tough-as-nails soldier in full battle armour charges across the dry Martian landscape, dodging explosions and raining down hellfire. It’s our first glimpse of Bobbie Draper, a bold new addition to Syfy’s complex sci-fi drama – who was also a make-or-break casting problem that the producers were concerned they wouldn’t be able to solve.

In fact, at the beginning of their search, “we dreaded the task of going out into the world and finding this person,” executive producer Hawk Ostby said.

The fan favourite character of Bobbie, a Marine who dreams of an independent Mars, is first described in book two of the series, Caliban’s War, as follows:

“Bobbie was not the right shape to fit into one of the standard suits, and the Marines made her jump through a series of flaming hoops every time she requisitioned a new custom one. At a bit over two metres tall, she was only slightly above average height for a Martian male, but thanks in part to her Polynesian ancestry, she weighed in at over a hundred kilos at one g. None of it was fat, but her muscles seemed to get bigger every time she even walked through a weight room. As a marine, she trained all the time.”

Casting directors Robin Cook (based in Canada), Julie Tucker and her team (working out of New York) and New Zealand-based Liz Mullane were all involved in the hunt for Bobbie, but Ostby said that at the beginning of the search, he was pretty sure that “New Zealand would be a very interesting place to look.” In fact, it was Mullane who first brought Adams to their attention.

The New Zealand-born actor of Samoan heritage had only a few credits to her name, as Ula Levi in Shortland Street and Tasha Goodwin in Wentworth, neither of which were genre roles, but she had something that excited the producers – not just acting experience and the height they were looking for, but years of training as a boxer.

Adams, reached via phone just before the show’s premiere, said that when she found out she got the part she “screamed in excitement,” as not only was she excited to play a character with her same ethnic background – something that happens very rarely for her – but the character of Bobbie met at least a few of the things she looks for in a role. “Do I agree with the things she does, yes or no? Would I get a crush on this woman, yes or no?”

The result is a casting choice that executive producer Naren Shankar called “gold,” and well worth the effort they put into finding an actor who fit the part perfectly.

Adams also stars as Ilisa in Tusi Tamasese’s One Thousand Ropes, which had its world premiere at this year’s Berlin’s International Film Festival.

Original article by Liz Shannon Miller, IndieWire, February 8, 2017.

Tags: Frankie Adams  IndieWIRE  Liz Mullane  One Thousand Ropes  The Expanse  

  • Brian - 10:59 pm on February 24th, 2019
    She isn't just a tall strong chick, she's gorgeous!
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