NEW YORK • When Jaimie Alexander, also known as Jane Doe in NBC's Blindspot, crawls out of a duffel bag in the middle of Times Square, you cannot help but gawk.
Virtually every inch of her body is inked in images, symbols and words, like an otherworldly treasure map.
"When I get out of the bag in the pilot, I have only a sticker over my lady parts," she said. "It's full-on frontal nudity, but you can't see the dimensions of any curves because of how dense the tattoos are."
Jane may be covered in clues, like the name of an FBI agent, Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton), and a Navy Seal emblem, but the rest of her is a blank slate: Her memory was erased, with no match for her fingerprints or DNA in government databases.
"When I read the script, the premise seemed a little outrageous, but within the first 10 pages, I couldn't put it down," she said of the role, which requires a dozen languages and some lethal moves.
"I thought: This is right up my alley. It's going to use every talent that I have."
The series debuts today.
With her heart-shaped face and feline eyes, Alexander, 31, only looks delicate. After landing an agent with a GI Jane monologue at a talent showcase, she parlayed a scrappy Texas childhood - founding her high school's female wrestling team and roughhousing with four brothers - into action roles like the warrior Sif in the Thor movies.
Like Alexander, Jane is no damsel in distress. "They created a female character that usually you see for a man and he made her believable. He didn't dumb down the girl."
Do you have to reapply the tattoos each time you shoot?
Every single day. In the summertime, they get sticky and pick up any bit of lint and dirt.
How long does it take?
The tattoos on my arms and neck take up to 11/2 hours. My arms and torso take four. And my full body is 71/2, so it can get pretty intense. I can't sit down because when you bend your body, it pulls the skin, and the tattoos are like a puzzle, so if one piece is off, the whole body is off. The make-up artist and I get some good coffee and good music and we chat, because I'm naked, so it's like nobody's pointing out the elephant in the room.
How did you learn Jane's military skills?
I went through some training with a Navy Seal. I had to learn how to submerge myself underwater and hold my breath, how to move without creating waves and how to be stealthy. And Carson Ulrich (a retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent) trained me with guns. Turns out I'm good with guns even though I don't like them.
Do you do your own stunts?
I tag in and out with my stunt girl, Kylie Furneaux, because my fights are so intricate and long. And she'll take the hard hits or if something explodes. I have two broken toes right now and I broke my back (on Thor: The Dark World). So I have to be somewhat careful with things that are too violent.
In March, you got engaged to Peter Facinelli, who'll play tech billionaire Maxwell Lord in CBS' Supergirl.
When Pete proposed to me at the top of the Empire State Building, I said: "I can't say yes until I know (his) kids are okay with this." But they had helped him plan it. He told them he didn't know if he'd get down on one knee, and the little one said: "Dad, you have to. That's rude." So she made him practise on her.
NEW YORK TIMES
• Blindspot premieres in Singapore on Warner TV (StarHub TV Channel 515) on Sept 22 at 9.50pm.