Femme Fatale: A Chat with ‘Nikita’s Maggie Q

by | September 9, 2010 at 10:20 AM | Fall TV Preview 2010, Show & Tell, TV News

Maggie Q Stars as 'Nikita' (Photo: The CW)

Maggie Q Stars as 'Nikita' (Photo: The CW)

One of the most buzzed about shows this fall TV season is butt-kicking its way onto the tube tonight, and here’s one thing viewers should know about this escapist adventure: ‘Q’ is code for ‘cool.’

Maggie Q, a huge star in Hong Kong and familiar to American audiences for her roles in action movies like ‘Live Free and Die Hard‘ and ‘Mission Impossible III,’ takes the reigns in the TV remake ‘Nikita,’ playing a deadly (and, yes, sexy) assassin gone rogue.

A 31-year-old beauty who’s very lean and doesn’t look very mean, Maggie Q is a surprising force to reckon with–and it’s all Q. This lethal leading lady does all her own stunts: “I’m doing everything,” Maggie tells me. “Don’t you think I owe my audiences my blood, sweat and tears?”

I recently spoke with Maggie Q about her killer new role, and despite the spotty track record of remakes on TV, this seasoned action star is fearless.

“What we’re doing with it is something so different. It’s on CW, a young audience who doesn’t even know what Nikita is, they did not see the original film–which makes me feel like a complete grandfather clock,” Maggie jokes. “So we’re re-educating a generation that has no idea who this character is, but we’re still paying homage to what people loved about it in the first place.”

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Nikita‘ is such a gripping tale, this is the fourth re-telling: There’s the original 1990 French film ‘La Femme Nikita‘ from director Luc Besson; the 1993 American film version ‘Point of No Return‘ with Bridget Fonda; and the 1997 TV series, ‘La Femme Nikita‘ starring Peta Wilson.

Adding their brand of hip quotient to the mix, The CW knows its main mission is not to screw up this latest ‘reboot’ (the network’s third behind ’90210′ and ‘Melrose Place’)–and turning the role from a bitter blond into a brazen Asian in casting Maggie Q is right on target.

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More from my interview with Ms. Q (Top Secret Fact: Her real name is Margaret Denise Quigley):

On What Her Version of Nikita Will Be Like:

“My inspiration is the original film, absolutely; the only thing I saw was the original Luc Besson film from the ’90s. That was a film that resonated with me that I loved for many, many years, so when this came up, what came into my mind was not really any incarnation, it was that film that I loved.”

And How It Will Be Different:

“The premise is, we’re going from where they left off in the film, into the future of Nikita. And so that’s what’s different about it–we’re not going back, we’re going forward.”

Femme Fatale: See What ‘Nikita’ Is All About:

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What To Expect This Season on ‘Nikita’:

“We have so many surprises in store, I have to tell you…. Season 1 you’re going to be finding out where these characters came from, why they are where they are, and what they’ve been through–and that’s always exciting. They’ve all lost their identities, they’ve made major sacrifice. It’s exciting for me as an actor, I get a new script and I’m tearing through it. So the theme this first year is uncovering what their pasts have been and why revenge is necessary.”

On Keeping Her Body in Fighting Form:

“Yoga, yoga, yoga. Okay, more like power yoga, because if you go to my yoga, you’re not falling asleep. I’m very into inversions, headstands, handstands, flipping…. Power yoga is so hard it makes you want to cry.”

And Staying Fueled for Destruction:

“I’m vegan; I feel incredibly empowered when it comes to that stuff because what’s good for the body is good for the planet. But I also love desserts, that’s my pleasure, I go nuts over it.”

Maggie Q’s Fight Scenes Get Fierce!

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On the Surge of Girl Power on TV This Fall:

“I am all over it, honey. You know what, I’ve been doing action for 13 years, and I remember doing that stuff when it wasn’t cool at all and nobody cared, and what’s interesting is that now I have other girls coming up to me saying they love my work and they want to do it … it is such a change. There’s something to be said about girl power, and people seem to be craving it now.”

PHOTO: Could ‘Nikita’ Be Any Hotter?

Here’s the declassified deets on the debut episode: After breaking Spy Girl Rule Number 1–never fall in love–a broken Nikita, one of the top secret ops agents, sets out to take down her makers–a mysterious government entity known only as ‘The Division,’ who is training an army of pretty little killers. Shane West (‘ER’) costars as Nikita’s handler Michael; Melinda Clarke (‘The O.C.’) takes on the juicy role of mentor/groomer to the newbies (a part played by two legends in the film versions, Anne Bancroft and Jeanne Moreau); and Lyndsy Fonseca is the agency’s latest young recruit. Indeed, the series premiere packs some serious punch—and a killer twist.

‘Nikita’ premieres Thursday night at 9 p.m./EST on The CW.