Maggie Grace Talks LOCKOUT And TAKEN 2 To CBM
Maggie Grace sits down at a roundtable with CBM to talk about her new Sci-Fi Action film Lockout and a few new tidbits about Taken 2 and her love of "Game Of Thrones"
Maggie Grace sits down at a roundtable with CBM to talk about her new Sci-Fi Action film "Lockout" and a few new tidbits about "Taken 2" and her love of "Game Of Thrones"
Audio Version: (Turn up your volume, we had some audio boosting issues)
Q: When you saw the script, did you think ‘typecasting?’
Maggie Grace: *laughs* I do have a long history of playing imperiled females, I suppose. Dating back to when I was about 17, I think.
Q: What was the first one?
MG: Oh God…Lost didn’t fair so well as far as the health of my character. When I was 16/17, that’s how I paid my rent was doing procedural dramas. Being the girl who had tough times on Law and Order, stuff like that.
Q: Were you a body ever?
MG: Oh no. Come on, dude? *laughs* I mean, I was a guest star and a recurring. He’s like, ‘that was your best acting job ever. You were a cadaver.’ *laughs*
Q: So for this, is she really that smart?
MG: Yeah I think that it reveals that she’s incredibly capable. I think she has that within her to begin with when the situation demands it.
Q: This movie has a certain tone. How do you approach the performance, knowing there’s that tone?
MG: Well, I certainly embrace that tone. It’s one of the reasons I was excited to do the film. Luc emailed me the script a while back when I was on vacation. I remember I was sitting on this balcony in Istanbul and it was really beautiful and I started cracking up. People were looking at me like I was nuts because I was cackling in front of my laptop alone. I like action movies. I like them to have a sense of elf-conscious humor, to not take themselves too seriously. That’s what I really loved about this. It had that kind of throw back quality to films when I was growing up.
Q: Like Die Hard?
MG: Yeah, there’s a bit of that. It’s humorous and self consciously funny. It has a sarcasm and wit and a leading man that is incredibly persnickety and sarcastic on the fly. I enjoyed that very much, so I embraced that tone.
Q: You guys have that ‘film noir’ thing going on too.
MG: Yeah, there’s very much a sense of ‘give as good as you get.’ There’s that sense of adversarial sexual tension.
Q: How was it working with all of those intimidating guys?
MG: Yeah six foot something Serbian dudes. That’s the office every day. *laughs* It was fun. I happen to really appreciate masculine energy, luckily. I’m certainly surrounded by it a lot a work, generally.
Q: Obviously, she goes onto the space station to crusade for human rights. Do you think she’s over that by the end?
MG: No, I hope the arc doesn’t come across as humbling. She has some naïveté, but I think she does recognize that the moral landscape is uneven and slippery and that the good guys aren’t always as they appear. But I don’t think that her moral compass is injured in any way. I think she just becomes more clear-eyed about the sources of all this and systems that she’s also part of.
Q: When you got this from Luc [Basson], you were in Istanbul?
MG: I was on vacation and ironically, we went back there to shoot Taken 2. So at the time, I remember peeking around going like, ‘I wonder if they’re going to shoot here.’ I love Istanbul. It’s incredible.
Q: You didn’t feel in danger?
MG: No absolutely not.
Q: Probably more in Serbia.
MG: Well, in Serbia, we were in a stage outside of Belgrade. It’s amazing that we got to spend time in a country where there’s a lot to see and the Roman ruins, but on the other hand, we’re shooting six day weeks and really long – often 16 hour, 15 hour days – so you don’t really get to experience much of the local culture. It’s dark when you go to work and dark when you get back. I did learn tennis on the weekend, so. I think because of [Novak] Djokovic, the Serbians are pretty on board with that. It seemed like a good place to learn.
Q: And how do you feel about tennis now?
MG: It’s great, but it’s never as scenic as it was I Belgrade. It was literally Roman ruins and a moat with red clay courts at the bottom of the moat. I guess the government couldn’t really afford to keep them up, so they just rented them out to this sports complex. So you can literally play at the bottom of this moat. I looked it up and it said that maybe Vlad the Impaler’s grave was under there. Historical tennis.
Q: And you don’t get to play on red clay courts every day.
MG: No, I was spoiled as a newbie. Now I’m here and it’s not the same.
Q: In this film, your character changed her hair, was that real?
MG: You know, the only way to do it is to have wigs because we couldn’t really force everyone to shoot things in order of the hair. I think the only movie they’ve ever done in sequence like that was Apollo 13 where they wanted the length of the beards to match, so they just shot everything in sequence. Normally, you can’t do that so you really have to do wigs. Basically I’m skirting the issue of WOULD I shave my head for that. *laughs* Of course I would but the schedule wouldn’t allow it. But yea, it’s my real hair, then we have some wigs.
Q: When you looked at yourself in the mirror were you shocked?
MG: Yeah, it’s a double take. It took some getting used to.
Q: Are you ‘girly girly?’
MG: Yeah, I’m certainly more feminine, but I loved it.
Q: Have you ever cut your hair short for a role?
MG: No, but I think as an actor, you’re kind of prepared to do whatever is asked. Like when Natalie Portman shaved her head for V for Vendetta, I think you just wait for those moments when it makes sense for the film. That kind of dictates your choices. I think if I shaved my head, I’d be offered some period piece the next day. ‘Sorry dudes!’
Q: So there were two directors. There’s Basson, who’s involved as a producer. How was the dynamic?
MG: *laughs* Fist fights that I broke up every day myself. No, they were amazing. So the directors have worked together for many years, so they don’t even have to speak. They just kind of look at each other with one lifted eyebrow and they telepathically understand. I was a little nervous about that going into it. I’ve never worked with two directors before. I thought it would be like a tennis match. But they were really lovely and have such a short hand together.
Q: So did only one of them speak to the actors and the other one talk to the crew?
MG: No, they both did, but they…it’s like good parenting. They always resented a united front and it was never ‘go ask your father.’ It was always a united front. They know what they’re after and they’re incredibly prepared. I mean, I’ve never seen such storyboarding. They knew every shot. That worked out well.
Q: So, playing a character who grows into a bad ass – taken a bullet and still kicking ass – do you find that it bleeds into your own life?
MG: BLEEDS into? *laughs*
Q: Maybe the wrong choice of words…
MG: Have I become combative and openly hostile? Hopefully not, but I do believe in…there’s different ways to grow in life. I think if you become empowered at work, it does bleed over into other aspects of your life. If you can become vulnerable with your work, I think it helps your relationships. So yeah, I think it’s great to learn combat every day and bring that home. I wish that every time I’ve gone through a break up I could start this movie again. *laughs* That would be incredible and I’d be so much better off if I could do combat training and fly on the wires and process things that way would be easier.
Q: Did you learn how to fight during this movie?
MG: Yeah, people better not mess with me. *laughs* Yeah somewhat. I think it made me realize how much I’d enjoy kickboxing. Actually, there’s an amazing kickboxing community in Paris, which we were just shooting Taken 2 there. I got to experiment with that a little on the weekends, so that was fun.
Q: Your character is interested in human rights. What about you? Do you have any hobbies?
MG: I’m a big supporter of Global Green USA, big fan of what they do. I’ve become involved with them recently. In terms of hobbies, I’m trying to find some more masculine energy hobbies to balance myself out, but I think more gardening and baking and that kind of thing. *laughs* Like I said, not very scintillating reading.
Q: You mentioned Taken 2. Obviously, we can look forward to Liam Neeson being a bad ass again, but what can we expect from your character?
MG: Well, she’s more empowered this time around. Her parents are abducted, so she’s left to try to help rescue them. It pretty much picks up where the other film left off.
Q: The father of the murdered guy is Rade [Serbedzija] and vows vengeance, right?
MG: Yes, Rade is AMAZING. It’s fueled by a personal vendetta, which I think was a much more compelling choice. I think people’s reaction at first was ‘how do you make a sequel to that? A coincidence? We were vacationing in Fiji and our pet was abducted. Gosh darn it, we just can’t go on vacation.’ *laughs* No, I think the private vendetta is a really compelling narrative and I was really impressed with what they wanted to do.
Q: Were you guys surprised that it connected with audiences so fast?
MG: Well, we didn’t do the sequel so fast. It’s five years later, really.
Q: Is it?
MG: Yeah because we shot the film and then with editing and everything, the turn around of it…so it was almost five years since we were last in Paris shooting the first one. It was amazing, but emotionally wonderful to have everyone back – Liam and Famke [Janssen]. It was really crazy to be back in some of the same studios. Sorry, what was the question? I flew in from location last night. *laughs*
Q: What location?
MG: Atlanta. We were at night shoots last night.
Q: What are you shooting
MG: It’s untitled right now.
Q: Who’s the director?
MG: I don’t know. *laughs*
Q: You can’t say?
MG: No. Super secret.
Q: Alien invasion movie down in Atlanta…
MG: *laughs* Atlanta kind of kills the mystery, doesn’t it? It sounds really good until you’re like in Atl – I mean I love Atlanta, but it’s not as mysterious as some locations might be. ‘Yes, I was shooting in Tallinn, Estonia last night. I’m sorry I’m so tired.’ *laughs*
Q: In Lockout, how did you feel about your character not doing the stereotypical onscreen kiss at the end?
MG: We tried a few. There were a few endings, actually. Mostly so that I could…oh no, never mind. *laughs* I was like, ‘hey guys, what about when we make out? How about that?’ No, I’m kidding. No, we had quite a few alternate endings and we got to improve what they finally ended up with – when we walk of into the horizon.
Q: Very much like Casablanca.
MG: Yes, except it’s more like ‘I don’t think this is going to work out. Do you?’ ‘Well, it depends.’ ‘On what?’ ‘On how good you are in bed.’ ‘Well, I give it maybe ten minutes. What do you think?’ *laughs* It was fun. We got to play around that last bit.
Q: You’ve been in some pretty high profile movies. What are the roles people recognize you for?
MG: It depends on context. In airports, I get a lot of people telling me not to get into a cab with a strange French boy. *laughs* Every time. It’s actually still funny. I don’t know why, but it still cracks me up. Mostly Taken or Lost. Hopefully Lockout after next week.
MG: I look so different in person. I think I’ll be insulated from that. I’m not a six-foot sparkly bloodsucker.
Q: Those fans are so focused, you must have some Twilight fans.
MG: Yeah there are some. It’s actually kind to crazy to think…One of my friends pointed out, ‘Think of the three things you were really invested in as a kid, that you were super aware of and you knew all of the characters’ names.’ Thinking that I could be that part of pop culture, even if it’s in a supporting way like with Lost and Taken, things that people grow up watching again and again, that’s pretty incredible.
Q: What were you three things you were a fan of growing up?
MG: Well, I’m kind of a freak, so that would be like the 1996 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice.
Q: With Colin Firth?
MG: Yeah. I think that would be totally normal for a girl my age in England, but I might have been the only girl at school with a fake accent. *laughs* Amazing that didn’t really aid my social currency situation.
Q: What would be a couple of the others?
MG: Well, there’s Middlemarch. *laughs* You see the theme? Now I’m really into Game of Thrones so it’s come full circle. So I can really embrace the Comic Con of it all too.
Q: Thank you so much!
MG: Thank you!
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