Nicole Richie Gets Her Kicks as an Evil Cheerleader on Chuck

07/21/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT

Nicole Richie Gets Her Kicks as an Evil Cheerleader on Chuck
Donato Sardella/WireImage; Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

How is Nicole Richie staying in shape seven months after the birth of her daughter Harlow? Call it the super villain workout.

Richie, 26, got her kicks playing a villainous cheerleader on an upcoming episode of NBC's Chuck. The normally serene new mom threw herself into her work, especially when it came to the fight scenes.

"She was really into the action," Chuck executive producer Josh Schwartz tells PEOPLE. "She was like, 'how much a-- am I allowed to kick, and when can I start kicking it?' She came really prepared.”

Chuck star Zachary Levi had the misfortune of being on the receiving end of Richie's fury. "She totally held her own and I was really proud of her,” says Levi.

When Richie wasn’t channeling her inner Jackie Chan, she was playing a role she was more familiar with: mom to Harlow, who was with Richie on set. Harlow wowed the crew almost as much as her mom did.

"She was just really sweet," says Schwartz of Richie. "Everyone really enjoyed working with her." … … Oliver Jones and Mark Dagostino

Donato Sardella/WireImage; Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

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