Exclusive: M:i:III’s Mysterious Maggie Q!

March 22, 2006

Exclusive: M:i:III‘s Mysterious Maggie Q!

Source: Edward Douglas

March 21, 2006

I’ll be the first to admit that I really didn’t know very much about Maggie Q when I was offered the chance to interview her. Despite having dedicated many hours of my life watching Hong Kong action films, I wasn’t very familiar with her work, but apparently, the Hawaiian born actress is a bonafide Asian superstar having modeled and starred in films in China and Japan.

Under the guidance of Jackie Chan, Maggie got prominent roles in some of his Hong Kong films, as well as a small part in his 2001 sequel Rush Hour 2. Maggie’s upcoming role in the J.J. Abrams-directed threequel Mission: Impossible: III, once again starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, will probably do for Maggie’s career what the last movie did for Thandie Newton. With her martial arts background, she’ll certainly be getting more into the action, and as we can see in the pictures, she’ll do it while being dressed to kill!

Check out this exclusive interview with the Vietnamese-American beauty as she answers some of ComingSoon.net’s Q’s. If she’s as lively in action as she was in this interview, then America should get ready to welcome this Asian action star back home!

CS: You have an interesting background, born in Hawaii to a Vietnamese mother. So how did you end up going to Japan and China for modeling and acting?
Maggie Q: It was just a simple matter of I graduated from high school and I needed money to go to university, and the only way to do that was not to go to school and work 9 to 5. I had a scholarship across country and I had a lot on my plate. So simply, I couldn’t make ends meet, so I had to find a way to make some money and come back home, but I ended up not going home. I’ve been over there for about nine years.

CS: And when you went there, you didn’t speak any Chinese or Japanese so how did you get along over there?
Maggie Q: No, nothing at all. Well, in the beginning, it was really difficult. Obviously, when you uproot and go anywhere, it’s going to be difficult, but then it not only was a language barrier, but kind of a culture shock, too. It took a lot of work to ingratiate myself into this culture that wasn’t innately mine, but somehow, Asia managed to embrace me, and I was lucky enough to get in there. I don’t know how that happened, but it just did. It was very strange.

CS: Did you start as a model and then get into acting?
Maggie Q: Well, a little bit. I never really had photos or anything like that. I kind of did it on a whim because I needed extra money, and then I only really modeled for a year. Then, in ’98, got my first TV series in China, and then after that, I’ve been acting ever since.

CS: How did you end up getting a role in “Rush Hour 2″? Was that through Jackie Chan?
Maggie Q: That was a real fluke accident. (laughs) Well, Jackie is my boss in Hong Kong. He’s the person who manages me and I’m under his company, and I’ve been trained by his people for action films and stuff. That was Jackie’s film, and because Jackie was our boss and we knew all the people he worked with, the director had asked me if I would do a little cameo for the Asian audience, and I was like, “No, I don’t want to do it!” and then he kind of told Jackie on me that I wasn’t going to do it, and then he was like, “Maggie, you have to do it!” So that was how I had to do that little thing.

CS: Getting into “Mission: Impossible: III,” were J.J. Abrams or Tom Cruise familiar with your Asian movies or were they fans?
Maggie Q: Mmm… I don’t know how familiar they were with what I had done previously. The funny thing that I’ve noticed in Hollywood now that I’m here is that a lot of people really don’t care what you’ve done before they meet you. They want to see what you can do now. And so, when I came into that audition, it really wasn’t about anything that I’d done… “Oh, we’ve seen that or we’ve seen that, and we think you’re great!”… It was like, “This is what we want you to do right now, can you do it? Can I see in you what I want for the character?” It was really more about the audition.

CS: How did you hear about the role? Was it an open casting call that your agent found for you?
Maggie Q: Well, initially, I sent a tape to them and then didn’t hear back for weeks, so I thought it was over. I thought that was it. Oh, well, it doesn’t really matter. And then weeks later, after traveling all over Europe, I get back to Hong Kong one day and they’re like “We need you in L.A. tonight.” I was like, “Oh My God!” so I had to fly over, within hours of getting the call, and I went in for my audition, and they had me do three scenes, and they were like, “Welcome to the film!”

CS: Isn’t that like a 24-hour flight?
Maggie Q: Oh, my God, it’s like ridiculous! When you come to L.A. from Asia, you hit jet lag at like 3:00 on the dot. You hit a wall that you can’t come back from. And guess what time my audition was? 3:00 the next day, so I went in with jet lag and fever, and it was not a good situation, but luckily, somehow we were able to pull it off.

CS: Well, that’s certainly grace under pressure. Maybe if they figured you were that good when jetlagged, you’d be even better with some rest.
Maggie Q: Exactly! (laughs) J.J. was like, “I’m sorry I have to do this to you. I can’t believe I’m doing this to you, but Paula Wagner needs to see if you’re good enough.” Because Tom was off promoting “War of the Worlds,” so he couldn’t see my audition directly, so he needed Paula to tell him, “Okay, yeah she’s good,” or “No, she isn’t.”

CS: Gotcha. So what exactly is your role in the movie?
Maggie Q: I play one of the team members along with Tom and Ving Rhames and Johnny Rhys Meyers. We play an IMF team.

CS: Does that mean you’re able to use some of your action training?
Maggie Q: Totally! Well, the great thing is that I’m able to use a little bit of that, but the wonderful about working with a director like J.J. is that you get to do so many things. I mean, what you can expect when you see the film is not just to see action, but you’re going to be really involved in these characters, ’cause I think he’s really great. Everybody is going to stand out and do their own thing. You’re going to see so many sides to these people. It’s going to be cool.

CS: So you get to go undercover and play different characters, too?
Maggie Q: Exactly! Different languages, different looks, blah blah blah… things like that. It’s going to be like what you would expect to see in the old black and white TV series. It’s going to be a really great team effort.

CS: Had you had a chance to see the other movies before you got the part?
Maggie Q: Oh, yeah. Who hasn’t? (laughs) I think the first one was more of the team thing, and then the second one kind of came away from that a bit, and then the third one, we’re going back to that again, which I think audiences are going to enjoy a lot.

CS: How has it been working with J.J., considering he has the action experience with Jennifer Garner on “Alias,” so how has he been directing action scenes with you?
Maggie Q: J.J.? Period. Whether it’s action or acting or whatever, J.J.’s the man! He is an unbelievable person, and he’s so frickin’ talented that you can’t even stand it! Know what I mean? He’s got talent comin’ out of all areas! He’s the easiest person to work with… he’s calm, he’s entertaining, he’s kind. I mean, it’s kind of a hard act to follow after working with J.J. He kind of just makes everything happen. This is his first feature and you’re going to be BLOWN AWAY that this is his first feature.

CS: Very cool. And how’s it been working with Tom? I assume you do a lot of scenes with him since you’re on his team.
Maggie Q: Oh, definitely. Yeah, yeah. He’s the greatest! I think a lot of the misconceptions about Tom is that whenever I see things or read anything about Tom that’s not positive, the only thing I can think of is that they just don’t know him. There’s nothing that I could see or have experienced while being around Tom that has been negative. He’s a really great guy, and he’s a generous person to work with, and you couldn’t ask for a better co-star. You really couldn’t. He treats everyone as his equal, and I appreciate that a lot, because we’re lucky to be there.

CS: I assume because you work together and he’s married at this point, there isn’t any romance between the two of you in the movie.
Maggie Q: Nah, I don’t get any kind of action.

CS: Not even anything between you and Ving Rhames?
Maggie Q: Noooooo… the Vingster? No! Ving is like my brother! If there’s any joking any kind of anything going on, it would be between me and Johnny Rhys Meyers.

CS: That’s not bad. You could do worse than that.
Maggie Q: No, not at all. Johnny is the greatest. I love him! It’s just kind of joking, because the team members all act like brothers and sisters.

CS: And you’re the only woman on the team?
Maggie Q: I am! Ever! I think. I don’t think they’ve had one in any of the films! So I’m kind of happy, and I’m pretty excited about that!

CS: Where did you end up filming your scenes?
Maggie Q: I shot in Rome, actually all over Italy, and we shot in L.A, and then we shot in China, so we’re all over for this one.

CS: And you’re done shooting everything already?
Maggie Q: Oh, we’re totally done! I just finished doing some ADR, and the film is really coming together and it’s almost done. We’re really excited. It’s coming out really soon and we’re going to start premiering it next month. They haven’t confirmed where, but I know they’re going to start promoting it and everything in April.

CS: Any idea what you’re going to do next once you’re done promoting the movie?
Maggie Q: Well, that’s a good question. There’s a few things on the table right now that I have not really committed to yet, but a few really fun things that I’m actually really excited about. But once that happens, I will definitely talk about it the minute I can.

CS: Are you pretty much doing American movies now or will you be going back and forth to China like Jackie does?
Maggie Q: I’d like to do both, to be honest. The point of the matter is to just kind of do good work and enjoy what I’m doing, and wherever that is, that’s what I’m going to do.

CS: Have you gotten comfortable enough with your Chinese that you don’t have to do it phonetically any more?
Maggie Q: Well, yes and no. It’s kind of like… at the end of the day, I am American and that is what I am. This is the first time where I’ve been in a market where I can be completely comfortable and confident with my language, because in the past, it’s always been a huge struggle. I think that’s one of the things that excites me about being here is that I can actually intellectualize things that I couldn’t before. That’s a big plus for me and that would be a reason to stay here.

ComingSoon.net also has your exclusive first look at a new Stunt Featurette, which you can view in QuickTime here! Mission: Impossible: III kicks off the summer on May 5.

One Response to “Exclusive: M:i:III’s Mysterious Maggie Q!”

  1. video news Says:

    Have you ever been to ‘you tube’? they let you host videos there and you can hotlink them on your blogs. it’s really cool and you don’t have to bandwidth on the videos, cause its free.

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