How ‘Stumptown’ Beats Up Cobie Smulders and How She Hits Back

Cobie Smulders is back on TV in ABC’s new drama Stumptown. Smulders plays Portland, Oregon private eye Dex Parios in the show based on Greg Rucka’s comic. Smulders has been in action movies before like the Marvel films and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back but she said Stumptown beat her up like no other project she’s been in.

Cobie Smulders - Stumptown premiere
Cobie Smulders at the premiere of Stumptown | Rachel Luna/Getty Images

Smulders spoke with the Television Critics Association in August about her work on Stumptown. Find out more about her character, her stuntwork and behind the scenes challenges. Stumptown premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Why ‘Stumptown’ is harder than Marvel movies

First of all, Cobie Smulders has other Avengers to share the load in the Marvel movies. The Marvel movies also take less time to film. She’s filming episodes of Stumptown every week, all year.

Cobie Smulders in Stumptown
Cobie Smulders in Stumptown | Mitch Haaseth via Getty Images

“This is a whole other beast, “ Smulders said. “The thing with doing the movies is you only have to be in really good shape for a couple of months. This will be the rest of my 30s. I am a little afraid to see how I’m gonna do it physically.”

‘Stumptown’ films action scenes in less time than Marvel

A Marvel movies could spend weeks filming a single action sequence. Stumptown filmed a car chase with a fight going on inside the car all in one day. 

Cobie Smulders in Stumptown
Cobie Smulders in Stumptown | Tony Rivetti/ABC via Getty Images

“We have a really great stunt team and we train really hard and we make sure that we get it all in one day,” Smulders said. “It’s another challenge. It’s physically wearing, but you’re not really getting hurt. If you’re getting hurt someone’s not doing their job right.”

Dex Parios is a new kind of character for Cobie Smulders

Maria Hill is awesome, but Dex is even more complex. 

“I just like her,” Smulders said. “I like the way that she rolls however she’s feeling. I like playing sort of a sexually ambiguous woman on network television. I like that she’s sort of her own boss. There no rules for her so that excited me.” 

Cobie Smulders in Stumptown
Cobie Smulders in Stumptown | Tony Rivetti/ABC via Getty Images

The gumshoe genre gives Cobie Smulders a lot of tough gal dialogue to speak.

“We’re still trying to figure out the tone of this. There is a certain P.I. way of talking, kind of like sassy one-liners which doesn’t fit quite right but there’s a moment and a place for it, or to take that rhythm and modernize it.  Usually, her humor is coming situationally, but I think that there will be opportunities. There’s a lot of physical comedy, but then also just really funny lines.”

Cobie Smulders to the Television Critics Association, 8/5/19

Cobie Smulders is a multi-hyphenate on ‘Stumptown’

The character challenges Cobie Smulders, but making Stumptown challenges her behind the scenes too. She is also an executive producer of the series. 

Cobie Smulders
Cobie Smulders | Image Group LA/ABC via Getty Images

“This is uncharted territory for me,” Smulders said. “I didn’t want to do something that I’d already done before. And this is an opportunity to do action, to do more dramatic stuff and I’m an E.P. on this and it allows me to have creative control that I haven’t had previously.”

Cobie Smulders knows Portland too

Stumptown films in Los Angeles, not Portland, but Cobie Smulders knows her northwest.

Cobie Smulders in Stumptown
Cobie Smulders in Stumptown | Kailey Schwerman via Getty Images

“My step-family is from Portland,” Smulders said. “I used to spend all my summers in the beachside of Portland, in Cannon Beach. So I have an affinity for the city. My hope is that we can go up there for exteriors and stuff because it was such a wonderful city and really enjoyed spending time. [I] want to make it a living, breathing part of our show as well.”