Maggie Q - The Star Of Nikita, Die Hard 4 and Divergent Movies
A few years ago, the name Maggie Q was all but unknown to people. And it’s no surprise. Having gone from a down and out fashion model developing a career in Hong Kong - to minor actress to sudden Big Movie star, to then suddenly getting her own TV series NIKITA, it begs some obvious questions – like how did she do it, how did she act in so many Asian movies even though she hails from Hawaii herself - and what does Q stand for? How did Maggie Q get to acting alongside Tom Cruise and more recently opposite Bruce Willis in the latest Die Hard Blockbuster? Since everyone is talking about this new starlet, it’s time we had a Hub on Maggie Q. Read on!
Maggie Q was born into the world as Margaret Denise Quigley, in Honolulu - born to an American Father of Irish descent (hence the Irish name Quigley) once stationed in Vietnam and a Mom from Vietnam. Her mother has 2 children from a previous Vietnamese family. Maggie being the youngest of 5 siblings, graduated from Mililani High School, then left to travel to Asia to places like Taiwan and Japan, and commenced a career as a young model. Her part-Vietnamese, part-Caucasian looks managed to work to her advantage in Asia, and she passed off an Asian model. Her sojourn in Asia, turned from a few months to a few years, and she wound up on the cover of many magazines and papers in Hong Kong. One newspaper there the Apple Daily was to shorten her name to Maggie Q, as Chinese people had difficulty pronouncing her Irish name, which sometimes sounded like "Queely" or "Quickly". (The name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue smoothly if you are Chinese, and the name is Irish!) She Kept Maggie Q, and Hong Kong became a second home to her where she often had to model for small fees, before a chance encounter with a Hong Kong Acting Legend changed her life and fortunes.
Jackie Chan, the famed Martial Arts actor saw Maggie Q and told her that she should be in films, seeing as she had both the looks and the figure for the screen. Though she had no acting experience, Maggie correctly surmised that films paid far more than modeling, and her meager salary as a model meant she jumped at the chance. But there was a big problem. This was Hong Kong, and Maggie was from Honolulu, in the USA. She could not speak any Asian languages, and in action movies – where actors had in those cash strapped days – to do some of their own stunts and fight sequences, she was a fish out of water with no experience, no ability to speak Chinese and she could not even do push-ups or touch her toes. Jackie Chan took a shine to the young Maggie and set her on the right course – making sure she got the training as an actor and stunt star in films. She had a small role in Rush Hour 2, as a girl in a car. Thanks to Jackie Chan, her career took off, and her first few films were Chinese language action films Gen-Y-Cops and Naked Weapon, not to be confused with the controversial Naked Killer.
Titular roles in Das Hous Der Harmonie, a German – Singaporean collaboration further improved her prospects in acting. She appeared as a female agent in another Jackie Chan film Around the World in 80 Days in 2004. Having to learn Cantonese and Mandarin to get Hong Kong movie roles, it was a formative and learning period in her career. It was in 2006, when future Star Trek Movie Director J.J. Abrams (Creator of the TV series Lost and ALIAS) was looking for an “Asian Babe” to star alongside Tom Cruise in the Third Installment of Mission Impossible that Maggie Q was chosen. She fit the bill because she ticked all the boxes, as being Asian, youthful, sexy, and this time American. This time it was her being American which came to the fore, and worked in her favor. The character she was playing was Zhen, the only female member of the IMF Team in the film, and she had some memorable scenes where it was felt she helped carry the film. Wearing a sexy dress, dressed like a super model and driving a showy racing car naturally helped to turn heads both in the film and off screen. This was her moment, and when Hollywood took notice, people wondered where on earth did this Babe come from?
In 2007, Les Wiseman wanted an Asian Beauty to act opposite Bruce Willis in the fourth film of a Blockbuster series in Live Free of Die hard (Also known as Die Hard 4.0) Hot on the success of Mission Impossible, she was cast as Mai Linh, the girlfriend and Can-do badass high kicking hacker female lover of the film’s bad guy, played by Timothy Olyphant. Her memorable fight scenes beating up Bruce Willis and co-star Justin Long, and nail-biting moments in the memorable Elevator shaft CAR scene (!!?) - were to be the capstone on her film acting career, securing Maggie Q as an A-List Female actor. Her dream of hitting big time had just become reality. The film, not surprisingly was a smash hit box office success around the world. She followed this with the film Balls of Fury, a quirky film about the sport and game of table tennis. It couldn't be a more sharper contrast, compared to Die hard 4.0.
Yippeee - Kayyy - Aaaayyy!!
Maggie also appeared in Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon, an ancient costume drama set in China, and she starred as Inspector Chase Linh, a live action character in the Video Game Need for Speed: Undercover. It was a video game with a near movie style budget. Maggie was chosen to be the title character and role for the 2010 TV series NIKITA, based on The Luc Besson French hit film “The Assassin” and American remake “Nikita” which featured Gabriel Byrne. The NIKITA TV show is a revamp of the original Film story, with extra new characters added. Nikita is about a woman who is sentenced to prison for life for being a Killer, only to be releases on condition that she train to be an Assassin for the Government to do Black Bag operations involving eliminating all sorts of Bad Guys. The female character is pursued and saved by the Nikita character who has escaped the system, and attained her own freedom, and is now trying to bring down the entire program that tried to ruin her life, and she uses her skills as trained Killer to take on the shady Govt organisation and bring it down. With another hit film “Priest”, co-starring alongside Paul Bethany, it was obvious life was busy for this Asian babe.
From humble origins in the beautiful island paradise of Honolulu to Hong Kong to Hollywood, thanks in part to actor Jackie Chan, Maggie Q has much to be grateful for. Good looks, sexy star quality, and knowing the right people – she has become, like Jessica Alba and Jennifer Garner (of ALIAS fame) - another great leading lady.
Recently on the set of a new series "Stalker" Maggie found the love of her life in Dylan Mc Dermot, and they are now engaged. She has also been a proud advocate of PETA, an organisation that fights for animal rights. Maggie is known for walking around a lot in her bare feet. With one foot in Movies and the other in TV, she can run with the foxes and run with the hounds. And having the ability to play American or Asian characters in either – gives her an edge. Maggie Q is a very bankable star will continue to shine for the foreseeable future.
All text in this article Copyright (c) 2010 -2016 Cheeky Girl. All film titles are copyright of their respective holders. Images used under fair usage policy.
NIKITA - trailer - rated 18
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