Known best as the titular assassin in TV’s Nikita and franchise flicks like Live Free or Die Hard and Mission: Impossible III, Maggie Q (née Quigley) parlayed modeling and action babe roles in Hong Kong cinema to a cameo in Rush Hour 2 in 2001, launching her Hollywood career.
Beginning this week, she’s back on TV in the new series Stalker (Wednesdays, 10/9c) as Lt. Beth Davis, whose own experience as a victim drives her pursuit of obsessive psychos.
We asked about the role, her next movie and one very eye-catching dress.
“A show like this can show people that you don’t have to be afraid. You can say something and that can make the difference in your victimization.”
How does your Stalker role compare to Nikita?
Nikita was a strong female internally and had a lot of physicality, and that worked hand in hand to make her who she was. There is a level of physicality in this, but it’s a nice departure for me because this is more of an internally strong character. I believe she’s a survivor, but I don’t believe that she’s an overcomer, not yet. There’s a lot of strength and sensitivity, understanding and compassion in Beth. She does truly struggle with a lot, and I think her strength is going to be more about what she fights, why she wants to be good at her job, where she wants to go with it. There’s a certain softness, I think, that Beth needs to explore about herself and to understand that strength doesn’t have to mean having this sort of armor on all the time.
Are you glad this role is less strenuous than Nikita was?
I love it! That showed killed me. I’m getting old. My system just shut down, from stress combined with the hours combined with the output. It’s not just about being a leader in a show and getting a sixty-page script every nine days and physicality and no sleep. There are a couple hundred people that depend on you every day and I take that responsibility very seriously. I not only give professionally, but I like to give personally and that depletes you even more, it all kind of adds up.
I think that’s one of the issues with an ongoing character and making television in this way. On Nikita I was so fatigued, after the first season, I was on an IV for a couple weeks. I was so depleted. My endocrine system shut down. I realized that when the first season had finished that I had spent more time being Nikita than I had being myself. When I finished a 12- to 18-hour day I would go home, sleep, wake up and go right back to being her. It wasn’t healthy at all. You’re giving a lot physically, emotionally and mentally and it takes everything. So knowing that now, I can go into this show and understand what the balance needs to look like and how I can achieve that.
Yes, this is the dress we asked about…
Do you think Stalker has a message?
Responsibility. Certainly social media is not the reason people stalk people, but it certainly helps. And especially for young women, I want them to be responsible with the information they’re putting out there. When I was a kid, you’d tell someone where you were, and there are ways to protect yourself. I remember getting a call years ago asking to do a photo shoot at my house. I didn’t do it because I don’t want people to know what the inside of my bedroom looks like. I don’t think that’s healthy. And now, it’s just a free-for-all, and I think that because there’s such an immediacy from how we feel and think into our fingertips out into our phone or computer, that there’s less time of it for introspect.
Also, a show like this can show people that you don’t have to be afraid. You can say something and that can make the difference in your victimization. I think perpetrators gain power when you don’t talk about it and I think suffering happens when it doesn’t come out. Silence is what makes you a victim. It’s unfortunate. You go through something and you don’t say anything, so nobody knows.
Were you ever stalked?
Yes. I don’t want to talk about it because I don’t want to give that person more credit than they deserve. I take the experience and I’m going to use it, but I certainly don’t feel that those people acting irresponsibly in that way deserve the attention in the media.
What’s the latest on the Divergent sequel, Insurgent?
My role gets bigger in the second one, which is really exciting. We got a new director, new crew, new everything, so it really looks like a new film. It’s so cool. I’m really excited about it.
The cutout dress you wore to the Divergent premiere caused quite a stir.
Oh, I know I did. I didn’t expect that.
Could not wearing underwear have something to do with that?
You’re making an assumption. You are definitely wrong!