A Candid Conversation with NIKITA Star Maggie Q

maggie q nikita

If anyone should be in a good mood first thing in the AM on a Monday morning, it’s actress Maggie Q. After-all, as one of the breakout stars on one of the Fall’s most buzzed about new shows, the NIKITA actress has an awful lot to be happy about at the moment. Which is probably why we had such a blast chatting with the actress, who was only too happy to dish about what attracted her to the iconic series, what it’s like facing off against Shane West, and most importantly, what’s in store for fans of the roller coaster ride that is NIKITA.

Just how much thought goes into your first television series that could potentially last for six or seven years?
Maggie Q: Weirdly, I like to make rash decisions! It’s funny, the initial meeting with the head of Warner Bros., Danny Cannon and one of the show’s creators Craig Silverstein, the plan for the character, the future of the character and the elements they were going to involve to make this good all felt really right. I guess you can sort of wonder, hope, if it’s going to feel the same way in 3 or 4 years but you certainly have to feel it initially, and I did. It all kind of fell together the way that it should. I was offered it and signed to do it within a week, everything happened so quickly.

In an interview with your co-star Shane West earlier in the month, he mentioned that fans would be surprised by just how little time you have to sign your life away!
He’s absolutely right and put it much more eloquently than I did [Laughs] You don’t have a lot of time, it really is a faith based decision.

Just how much of more of Nikita’s past and present do you know?
Oh I know everything honey! I do. One of the reasons why taking this was so important and solid in my mind was that the writing team knew what they wanted from day one. Craig certainly did, he had a vision for this and I think he had the first 13 episodes in his head the minute we started shooting the pilot. So there was a master plan at work with a really smart and assertive energy behind it where I knew that they were doing something special with the storyline. So when I sat down with the writers, there was definitely a big picture at hand and I was watching this spiderweb unfold on this writer’s wall in this room and it got me so jazzed and excited. If you knew what I knew you would be excited too.

What do you know?
Oh so much! I could tell you — but you know the drill — I’d have to kill you…

Which is something we’re pretty confident you could do with one, heck two hands tied behind your back! Seriously, having just recently watched your fight with Michael (Shane West) last week, how is it you guys don’t end up accidentally hurting each other?
We do accidentally hurt each other! But I do all my own fighting, I’m really adamant about that and tough with the stunt co-ordinators about that. It’s me and that’s what makes the show very different and very real for the audience. I feel like I owe my audience that and I also feel that because audiences are a lot more sophisticated now, we have to really bring our “A” game. With Shane it’s funny, because he was training really hard for that fight and I was like, “Babe, I’m so proud of you, you’re doing so well and you look great.” He looked at me and said, “Mag, it’s you!” And I was like, “What do you mean?” And he was like, “I have to fight you, what do you think I’m going to do!” Which was so kind of awesome and sweet. He put so much effort into it so when you’re watching that fight, it’s us. There are no doubles, you don’t see anybody else and I’m so friggin’ proud of my cast for bringing up the level because it only helps with the believability of the show.

What’s more of a challenge, a highly choreographed fight scene, or an emotional one that’s all talk?
Emotional scenes are way more of a challenge. NIKITA the show itself, and the character gets so much more emotional as we move forward because really what we’re doing is unraveling these story lines as we go along both in flashback and present day. But there are so many secrets that they’re all sort of keeping from each other and the audience, so many lies, and a lot of pain that really kind of ties these characters together. You’re going to see that start to really unravel in the next three episodes — episodes six in particular — you’re really going to see a big turn in the show. The show sort of turns on its heels and there are a lot of surprises in store for the audience.

We start to reveal some of the stuff that has happened to Nikita in her past, how it happened, who it was and how she’s meant to deal with that and go forward. The thing is with someone like Nikita, who is definitely really strong and smart but she’s also incredible damaged, is that you’re dealing with this character who has escaped from Division but is really still in a prison. Revenge is a never a healthy thing, it’s very lonely and can become even lonelier when you’re uncovering thing you never knew before.

So Nikita’s past misdeeds will come back to haunt her?
Yes. Nikita has done a lot of really bad things, especially in the past. And part of why I love this show and this character is that it’s all about redemption. She needs to atone for a lot of things that despite being forced to do, have taken an emotional toll. Whatever the circumstances were or weren’t, there is a lot she wants to make right in her mind and in her heart for her to move on. It may take a while.

Is there any chance one of the ways Nikita might move on is to find love, with say, Michael perhaps?
I don’t know. I think that Michael was the first person that Nikita had an emotional relationship with and that’s a big deal for a damaged young woman who was never really shown any kind of love at the need of the day. That said, so much has happened and we’ll have to see whether their past love was something strong enough that will weather all of this. It’s so incredibly layered that it’s really kind of hard. Nikita and Michael’s relationship is my favourite storyline throughout the show.

And finally, you’re obviously known for your action chops, but is there are a part of you that would love to try a straight up comedy or drama?
Oh my God honey I would love that. But let me tell you a little something about Hollywood, First of all I’m a minority in Hollywood which is definitely a challenge and has always been a challenge. Nikita has never been played by anyone but a caucasian woman so when I got this role it was really a big deal. I remember turning to the WB and the CW and was like, thanks for making a really cool and brave decision. To their credit, for them it wasn’t about what race you were or that you weren’t blonde, or that you didn’t have a certain stereotypical sexy Hollywood look, it was that you were right for the character and that’s all that matters, which is huge.

When it comes to romantic comedies and things like that they also have their idea of whose right for that. There’s a couple of examples of people I could give you that I won’t who do all the romantic comedies, is there room to open that up? Absolutely! But I certainly feel that when you’re always playing these very dramatic characters you’re like, hell yeah, I’d like to lighten the load once in a while and do something that’s just fun. But you gotta change perception in Hollywood to do that and because I do the action genre you are not the first choice for a comedy.

NIKITA airs on Thursdays at 9PM on the CW (“A” Channel in Canada)

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  • This interview made me like this show even more. Thanks!