When Allison Miller traveled to Australia’s Gold Coast during the shooting of Terra Nova, the most looming threat wasn’t precarious waterfalls or hungry dingos. It was drunken teens. “We would be going to work at 5 a.m. and kids would be literally stumbling home,” says the 26-year old actor via phone from Los Angeles. “There was broken glass everywhere and insanity 24-7. I look like I’m in high school, so there was a lot of shouting on the street.”

International adventure, even when it only involves intoxicated Aussies, is part of Miller’s birthright. The delicately-featured brunette was born in Rome, thanks to a father who worked as a roving journalist for the Associated Press. He smuggled himself into Chad in the cargo hold of a plane and crouched in trenches throughout the Middle East. “I can’t believe how my mom handled it,” says Miller, whose first words were gurgled in Italian.

After spending parts of her childhood in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, Miller caught the acting bug during high school in Tallahassee, Florida. Her first appearances on TV were for the reality show In Search of the Partridge Family and on several police procedurals (among her roles were a Suicide Girl, a teen model and a murdered singer during the Great Depression). In 2009, Miller was on Kings, an NBC serial that modernized the Biblical tale of King David, and Blood: The Last Vampire, an action-horror flick.

Then came Terra Nova, the futuristic-meets-prehistoric adventure-melodrama that aired last fall on FOX. The big-budget show, executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, currently awaits renewal after a first season that drew mixed reviews. “There were huge expectations,” says Miller. “We all were hoping for the best, huge fireworks — but it turned into more of a family drama as we were going along. I think that’s what FOX realized they wanted the show to be.”

Concerns over renewals and network visions aside, Miller’s interests are less mainstream than her filmography indicates. She cites the Coen brothers, Noah Baumbach and Paul Thomas Anderson as some of her favorite directors. “I definitely am more attracted to independent films and smaller and dark things — mainly because I feel like creativity is more readily accessible,” she says. “Charlie Kaufman could never get away with the things he writes if there were 15 producers.”

For now, she’s content with time-traveling and ducking dinosaurs on TV. “I still feel very much an amateur,” she says. “I always feel lucky to be getting any work at all.”

(This article originally appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of ANTENNA.)