In the upcoming apocalyptic supernatural thriller film Legion, Adrianne Palicki battles angels with a pistol and does a lot of fighting and screaming—all as a pregnant character. But the hardest part was giving birth on screen.
"I had a meltdown the day we were doing that scene. I had a panic attack," Palicki said in an interview over the weekend at the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention. "I wanted to make sure I was believable and that it was reality. I was afraid of disappointing people."
In the film, Palicki plays Charlie, a pregnant waitress in a desert diner, who becomes the focus of a battle between factions of angels at the end of the world. A stranger (Paul Bettany) joins the diner's patrons with an arsenal of stolen weapons and informs Charlie that her unborn baby is now humanity's only hope, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to save it.
"I'm the Virgin Mary without the virgin part," Palicki said. "It was the scariest thing I've ever done as an actor. I was very nervous about giving birth. I knew that half of the audience had gone through that, and I wanted to make it realistic." Needless to say, the birth scene has a few complications.
Did playing the scene affect how the 26-year-old Palicki feels about having her own child someday?
"Absolutely, I don't want to go through with that!" she said with a laugh. "I mean, I was there spread-eagled with my legs apart and had two cameras on me. I think the belly alone, with the 10 pounds of weight gain, was birth control enough."
Director Scott Stewart said Palicki even studied real birth videos. "We made a realistic weight for her and had her walk around with it," Stewart said. "We carried it around until we were shooting the birth, and I cleared out as many people on the set as possible. We wanted to make it very raw. She did great. It was pretty amazing to watch."
Legion also stars Lucas Black, Dennis Quaid, Charles S. Dutton, Kevin Durand and Jon Tenney. It opens Jan. 22.