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My magic boy. You’re 5 today. My bright, sensitive, thoughtful, worldly lover of nature and animals, carer of people and puggles, brave adventurer, snuggliest gigglepot and inquisitive…

Yesterday from Teresa Palmer's Twitter

"I have to not take myself too seriously and I have to realise that if it is meant to be, it will be."
Aussie actress Teresa Palmer got into physical nature of her role

Teresa Palmer really is adventuresome.

Not because she left her home in quiet Adelaide, South Australia, for the States, but the actress rented a car in Pittsburgh while shooting “I Am Number Four” and struck out with Luna, her Shih Tzu.

“I’ve been driving around by myself — me and my little dog. I drove down to the Strip District, and I sort of maneuvered my way around Pittsburgh,” she said with a laugh in June.

“I got lost for 40 minutes. I ended up on some highway in the middle of nowhere, but I just kept on stopping and asking, and the people of Pittsburgh are so lovely. They’re like, ‘Oh, we’ll show you if you just follow my car.’ … It’s beautiful and lush and green and reminds me of Australia.”

Director D.J. Caruso had described Ms. Palmer as “so much fun, she’s so electric,” and she lived up to the billing. The 24-year-old with long wavy blond hair plays Number Six, an alien who has unique powers or legacies and is being hunted by elite enemies here on Earth.

“I’ve never played a character as sort of dynamic as Number Six. She’s very mysterious. She’s sort of a lone rider. She travels around the world. … She’s a martial artist. She rides a Ducati motorbike, which has been really fun. Yeah, she’s tough. She’s a bad-ass chick. She kicks a lot of butt, and you don’t want to mess with her.”

She compares her to an Angelina Jolie type of character from “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” or “Wanted,” and Ms. Palmer spent hours watching old Jolie movies.

“Especially when she was my age, she was a lot less censored and she’s tough. You watch her and you’re totally bewitched and she’s very enchanting and she has this power to her.”

Two days after signing onto “I Am Number Four,” she went into training. “I’ve been doing stunt work and wire work, martial arts, learning to kick, sword work, motorbike stuff,” including learning how to skid.

“It’s a very physical role and I’ve never had the privilege of being able to train like this on a film before, so it sort of makes it even more exciting and thrilling. I’m loving it. I’m really getting in shape. I can see my body changing. It’s nice to be doing this for a movie role.”

Not only that, but Ms. Palmer was permitted to use her natural Australian accent, which has been a rare luxury since she moved to the United States in 2006.

The initial transition was difficult, given how vastly different Adelaide (known for its churches and, more recently, serial killers) is from Hollywood, but she says, “It took me a year and a half to make good friends. I got a little doggy and feel like I’m fitting in, finally.”

Ms. Palmer, currently a spokeswoman for an Australian-based cosmetics company, got her start at a shopping mall in Adelaide.

As she tells it: “I would dress up as Strawberry Shortcake and Santa’s little helper and the Christmas fairy, and that was the extent of the acting work I would do in Adelaide. I’d joined a local acting agency because I wanted to be an actress, and they were like, ‘Oh, we’ve got these great jobs for you’ and that’s what it was.”

A 19-year-old director, however, spotted her at the mall and invited her to be in his movie.

She read the script for what turned out to be “2:37,” an Australian independent film that screened to acclaim at the Cannes and Toronto film festivals. She was singled out for her portrayal of a high school student with a dark secret.

“That was just so surreal,” she said of the feature premiering at Cannes. “We never thought, ever in our life, that would happen. Since then, it’s been a snowball.”

Ms. Palmer, clad this day in an artsy graphic T-shirt by an Adelaide designer, shorts and tights, appeared in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” opposite Jay Baruchel and Nicolas Cage. Reviews were dismal, but it gave her experience on a big action movie with a lot of computer-generated images and special effects.

“It’s funny. You’re not just concentrating on your character, you’re concentrating on specific things like hitting your mark so that one of the special effects guys can come in and wave this wand in front of your face, and they bring a green screen in behind you and all this other stuff is going on and you just have to get used to that … and stay in your zone and stay with your character.”

Even so, she said playing Number Six presented new physical challenges.

“It’s difficult some days to wake up and know you have six hours of stunt training. I feel myself getting better each time I do it. At the moment, we’re doing wire work, so basically I’m harnessed in to some wires and I have to do a back flip so I end up flipping over a wall of boxes eight feet high.”

She initially thought she would need a stunt double but decided she could master it.

“It is just the most rewarding thing to know that there’s something that I’m scared about doing and if I keep working at it, I overcome those fears and end up being able to do the stunt that I never thought I would be able to do.”

If “Number Four” launches a series, Ms. Palmer could find herself front and center. The next book, due in August, is “The Power of Six” and that’s her magic number.