TV and Movies

Priyanka Chopra shows action skills in Amazon spy series

Priyanka Chopra has seen significant action in her life since the former Miss World’s breakthrough TV role as fresh-faced FBI recruit Alex Parrish in ABC’s “Quantico.” 

Married to Nick Jonas in 2018, the same year “Quantico” ended its three-year run, the superstar couple’s family has expanded with daughter Malti Marie Chopra Jonas, born via surrogacy, who was introduced on Instagram in January 2022.

The new mother has also advanced in the TV spy world, and given license to thrill as mysterious Nadia Sinh in Amazon’s big-ticket, globe-trotting series “Citadel” (first two episodes streaming Friday).

“This feels like a ‘Quantico’ promotion,” says Chopra. “I feel like I’m in the big leagues now. ‘Citadel’ is special.’ “

Priyanka Chopra in "Citadel."

‘Citadel’ begins Amazon’s multinational spy universe

Amazon’s six-episode “Citadel” espionage escapade, executive produced by Joe and Anthony Russo (“Avengers: End Game”) kicks off a planned new spy universe with Citadel agency standouts Nadia (Chopra) and Mason Kane (“Game of Thrones” star Richard Madden) – onetime lovers whose memories and identities are erased after a disastrous mission. 

The series, five years in the making, brings movie-scale action and glamorous global locations. “Citadel” costs ballooned after its first producer, Josh Appelbaum, left the series midproduction due to “creative differences,” requiring extensive reshoots. The Hollywood Reporter estimates the budget at more than $300 million, or $1.25 million per minute (Amazon declined to comment.)

But the streaming platform is doubling down with new international spinoff series that will weave in interconnected stories and new spies, already in production in Italy and India, with more countries planned.

“This is a massive global undertaking,” says Chopra, 40, who trained up to five days a week to step up her action game. “It takes a ridiculous amount of precision to punch someone with all your body force and stop right before you take their eyeball out.”

Priyanka Chopra Jonas as Nadia Sinh, Richard Madden as Mason Kane

Chopra embraced both spy glamour and her inner Rambo

The full arc of Chopra’s extensive spy work can be illustrated by the fate of Nadia’s stunning red dress during an extended first-episode scene on a luxury train. As the resulting melee gets more explosive, the frock is destroyed, but Nadia never stops punching.

“We had so many versions of that dress. It was fascinating watching the costume department deteriorate it,” says Chopra, who leaned into getting her face covered in blood at the battle’s conclusion. “If my character’s head gets split, she’s gonna frickin’ bleed. Rambo was my inspiration for that, coming back fully bloodied out.”

It was Chopra’s idea to have the malevolent Italian farmer who treats Nadia’s wounds put the unconscious spy in pigtails and wear his boxers and T-shirt. “I thought that would be so creepy.” 

It is effective, and the creep pays a price. But shooting the scrum was more painful for Chopra in the outfit that didn’t allow for hidden stunt padding for the fight.

“I kept thinking, why was it my brilliant suggestion to wear shorts,” says Chopra. “The floor was padded, but getting thrown 50 times a day for four days, I had bruises.” 

Chopra on motherhood and romance

The actress shows off a more tender side in “Love Again” (in theaters May 5), playing a grieving widow sending her dead husband text messages, which accidentally sparks a new relationship.

The 90’s-style romantic comedy, which also stars Celine Dion in her first movie role, is “the complete opposite of Nadia and Citadel,” says Chopra. “So within a few days, I get to showcase two very different acting jobs.” 

The family gets an ongoing Instagram showcase, with Chopra updating her 86.7 million followers with updates. The photos often feature Malti Marie, who has fully recovered after 100 days in neonatal intensive care following her premature birth. She came home last year on May 8, which was Mother’s Day.

“She’s just the greatest joy of our lives. Everything revolves around her, and she’s curious, inquisitive, happy and healthy,” says Chopra.

The parents juggle parenthood with their crisscrossing global careers. “We’re working parents, both of us,” she says of Jonas. “But it’s very important to be able to have work-life balance. And (Nick) is extremely hands-on as well. So it’s awesome.”

Malti Marie, in the next room with her grandmother as Chopra chats by Zoom from a London hotel, is old enough to travel, visiting Chopra’s home country of India for the first time earlier this month.

“It’s amazing that my daughter is at an age where I can take her with me everywhere,” says Chopra. 

She’ll need her passport: Mom is set to return to work in London in the action comedy “Heads of State,” with Idris Elba and John Cena. 

“So it’s a crazy busy time and a good time,” says Chopra. “I seem to have been put into action girl lane in Hollywood. And you know what? I’ll take it.”

More on Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas: Read on

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