A Wonder Woman for the ages

With word coming out of Hollywood last week that "Friday Night Lights" actress Adrianne Palicki has been cast to play Wonder Woman in a coming TV series, fans of the Amazing Amazon have only one question:

"Will she really be able to compare with Lynda Carter?"

For three seasons, from 1975-1979, Carter played the DC Comics heroine, earning legions of fans both female (who appreciated her guts) and male (who appreciated her beauty — Carter had, after all, won the Miss World USA pageant and been a semifinalist for the 1972 Miss World title).

Few actors have become so indelibly linked with a single role — one reason, perhaps, there has been no "Wonder Woman" on TV or in the movies since her show went off the air. Multiple actors have been cast to play such superheroes as Superman, Batman and the Hulk, but Carter has remained uniquely Wonder Woman to generations of fans.

We caught up with Carter, who turns 60 in July, at her home in suburban Washington. Although concentrating on her singing career — her most recent album, "At Last," is available on iTunes, and she's preparing to release another in April — she took a few minutes to talk about Palicki's casting and her own relationship with Wonder Woman.

QUESTION: What do you think of the casting?

ANSWER: I think it is an amazing role to play. I know she is going to be really nervous about it, just because you would be. But I have a lot of confidence in [writer] David Kelley and what he's going to come up with. David Kelley's so talented, and that's really where it needs to be, is in the writing.

I spoke with David yesterday, and he's really, really excited about it.

I think the story needs to be retold. It needs to have a fresh look at it. It affected a lot of people. I think it's time, I think it's important to have it out there again.

Q: Is there any advice you'd offer her?

A: [Laughing] Gosh, I would never offer her any advice. Nor would she probably want any. If she wants to talk to me, that would be a whole different thing. But I would never offer, "Now let me tell you how to do this." She's an actress and she's a good actress and she's beautiful, and I hope she kicks butt.

Q: Is there any chance that you might be approached for a cameo, or any kind of role on the show? Have you and David talked about that at all?

A: That is something that I … even if I were, I couldn't tell you.

Q: You wouldn't say no right off the bat, let's put it that way.

A: Of course not. I have too much respect for David, I just have too much respect for him.

Anyway, this is on NBC, right?

Q: Yes.

A: So, now "Wonder Woman" will have gone from ABC to CBS to NBC. She is pretty cool, because she has hit all three networks.

Q: Do you ever find it amazing that, what is it, 35 years ago …

A: It's a long freaking time.

Q: Do you ever find it amazing that you're still so clearly, so heavily identified with that role?

A: I do. When young people recognize me, I'm always floored, absolutely floored.

But it's been going on a long time. I think it's just a reflection of how people felt about the character, much more than how they felt about me in particular. The character's so beloved, for a lot of reasons.

I love to hear what people have to say. People have stories, and it's a way of connecting to people. I like it.

Q: Do you ever get tired? Was there ever a period when it became frustrating, that association all the time?

A: No. I think, early on ... I really started out as a singer, that's really what I do. But I became famous as Wonder Woman. …

I realized that it's way too much work to try to distance myself from Wonder Woman. And it's no fun. She was a great, once-in-a-lifetime character to play. She really helped my singing career at the time.

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

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