The Expanse: What Frankie Adams Learned From Being Bobbie Draper
We spoke with Frankie Adams of The Expanse about what she takes from the journey of Bobbie Draper and what the future holds.
Bobbie Draper has always been a fan favorite character in The Expanse, but in season six, the Martian marine saved the day several times both in the capture of the Azure Dragon and in the final assault on the ring station. By way of debriefing the series finale and just to reminisce a bit as well, we spoke to Frankie Adams, who plays Bobbie on the show, about how this much beloved sci-fi series has affected her and how she felt about the evolution of her character over the years.
DEN OF GEEK: How has being part of The Expanse changed your life?
FRANKIE ADAMS: Well, when I started I was 22. I don’t think I knew much in general back then; I don’t think anyone does at that age. But I think it really showed that I can take on a role that was quite big and hopefully do it justice. This job in particular taught me how to conduct myself on set, how to break down scripts, how to have hard conversations, how to communicate an opinion really well about a character and feel really confident about what I knew. It was my first big job that was American, so it really opened up a lot of doors for me.
You seem so perfect for the role based on the description of Bobbie in the books. Did The Expanse seek you out, or did you audition?
I was in New Zealand at the time doing a theater show, and the casting director in New Zealand knew my work previously. She contacted me and said, ‘This is an amazing role that you would be perfect for!’ And I was like, ‘Okay, let’s do it!’ and sent in a tape. But they looked everywhere; they looked around the world for this character, and then they told me I was their favorite!
What memorable fan experiences have you had over the years?
When we would go to San Diego Comic-Con, before I even understood how much people loved this show, that was a big indication of how much people loved it. People lined up for autographs and photos, and they were really invested in the characters and almost knew more than we did about the whole thing. All of those interactions were very special and sweet, and now I get all these messages online — on Instagram and stuff — saying how much they love Bobbie. That’s very lovely and satisfying as an actor!
The Bobbie-Amos dynamic in The Expanse season 6 is new, not something from the books. How did that chemistry spring up between you and Wes Chatham’s character?
Naren [Shankar, The Expanse showrunner] said he wanted to have a Zoom with Wes and I, and we were like, ‘Okay, that’s odd,’ because we had never done many scenes together. And he said that we’d become really good friends, and we were like, ‘Wait, do they end up together? That’s a bit weird!’ And he’s like, ‘No, no, no, they’re just friends.’
But honestly, Wes and I have been such good friends even though we never did scenes together; we were shooting the same show for years. So they must have seen that we were really funny as a pair in general and felt like it was a good match. And I think it was! They’re such good buddies. They’re really playful; they give each other a lot of shit. They also care about the people they’re with, and it made a lot of sense. We enjoyed it so much; we were having the time of our lives working with each other.
Bobbie was known for her power armor, which almost met its match in the finale. Tell us what it was like to maneuver in that costume compared to what everyone else wore.
Oh my goodness, so difficult! I think I’m going to look back on the experience and think, ‘How did I do all of that?’ which I think is usually what hindsight is like, but in the moment you just kind of figure it out. In episode 6 where I do that Matrix move where I’m kind of floating in midair — that I actually did on wires. I could not believe that I could do that and make it look like I was in zero-g because I was holding all of the weight of the armor from two tiny little wires, and the rest of it was like my legs were shaking, my arm was shaking.
I was really proud of that, but that was something that I really felt that I could not do in that suit because it only really bends in certain ways. I’ve proven myself wrong many a time and have managed to do a lot of intricate maneuvers in that suit. Even Wes was dying in his suit, and it’s nowhere near as hard to move in as mine.
If they decide to revive this series or do a movie after everyone has aged to match the time jump in the books, how likely are you to drop everything and sign up for another tour with The Expanse?
They probably wouldn’t even have me on because wouldn’t Bobbie be like sixty? I mean, I don’t know, maybe I could play sixty; I am getting a little older. But of course, of course, of course! I’ll happily work with those people again; I love working with them! But if there’s a thirty year gap, they might hire someone much better than me to do it.
On that last point, Adams is dead wrong. There’s no one that could embody Bobbie Draper better! Fans will miss her and the rest of The Expanse cast dearly now that the series finale has come and gone.