"Mission: Impossible III" Interviews - Star Maggie Q.

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MovieJungle.com conferences with the elegant, sexy and all at once asskicking character of Paramount Pictures' "Mission: Impossible III." Although she has a cold but her spirits are still high and comes off as a fun loving and witty beauty.

Maggie Q
Maggie Q in a leggy scene from "Mission: Impossible III."
Copyright© Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Question: How did you get cast in the role Zhen in the film?

Maggie Q: Finally enough I was… they found me in Hong Kong actually, I have been living and working in Hong Kong for about eight years doing agent films. I got the call. I went over to L.A. I met with J.J. and Paul Wagner, and I auditioned for them really, really ill, and somehow I was offered the role right there.

Question: I think when a lot of fans discover you for the first time in this movie they are going to be very interested in where you came from. Can you tell us about your interesting background?

Maggie Q: Well okay. I was born, and raised in Hawaii. So I am American. I left Hawaii when I was around 17, 18 after school, and I moved to Asia. Traveled around Asia, and I was in Japan, and then Taiwan, and ended up in Hong Kong for eight years, and getting into sole ministry in Hong Kong. So I have been doing Asian films until that time, and this is my first American movie.

Question: And you come from a mixed background is that correct?

Maggie Q: Correct. My father is American (Irish/Polish). My mother is Vietnamese.

Question: And why have you shortened your last name to the one letter Q?

Maggie Q: I did not actually. I am not really a… I know there are people out there who actually think about giving themselves a name, but I am not one of those people. What happened was when I was living, and working in Hong Kong one of the biggest newspapers there when they first started writing about me around seven or eight years ago, they could not pronounce my last name. I think to them it was just like oh and so they printed Q, Maggie Q, and so because they were the biggest everybody followed them.

Question: And what is the full last name? Is it Quigley as IMDB reports?

Maggie Q: Yep that is correct, but in Asia everyone knows me as Q because you know once that newspaper reported it everyone copied them, and then I would show up to events, and everyone would talk “Maggie Q”, and I was like, “Oh, okay. Guess that is my name”.

Question: How is it to be the only woman on this all male team? Because you with Carrie for like a brief second then she died.

Maggie Q: That is right. [Laughter] So you saw the film. Good. You know it was interesting because I think by the time we were three quarters of the way done I would tease Tom, and Ving, and Johnny and tell them after this movie I was going to do a chick flick because there is just all this maleness. It was interesting because you would think that I would feel kind of out of place, and that I was the only girl, and people would treat me a certain way. The funny and the great thing is that being the only girl they all take care of me really well, which is funny because I think they were trying to kind of compensate because I think they realized that I might feel a little bit… not really substantial. So they sort of really, really, really watched over me, and that was great.

Maggie Q
Maggie Q in "Mission: Impossible III."
Copyright© Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Question: J.J. is actually very supportive of having strong female characters. So how is it like working with him?

Maggie Q: He is. Like incredible. I mean J.J. is the kind of Director… first of all he is a Director with no ego. He is a Director who has a very consistent attitude when he is at work. He is funny. He is brilliant. He is this combination of all these really great things, and when you work with him you always… you could have always… I always on this film had the sense of… we are doing something special here when it comes to J.J. because J.J. is the kind of person who sees the bigger picture before anyone else does, and it sounds simple, but I mean not all directors do that.

Question: Given now that you are part of the IMS team, what sort of research did you need to do?

Maggie Q: I did, and I did not because I mean J.J. wanted… he sort of wanted to go back to the series, and sort of kind of emulate what the spirit of Mission Impossible III was a Mission Impossible was about from the early days, and that is sort of what he wanted, but then at that the same time he wanted a very modern rendition of what they use to do. Something that would appeal… I mean obviously we are not living in the 60’s anymore. Our audiences are getting younger, and he wanted to kind of this version to be… a version of that, but something modern enough to where young people go and see it, and they get it, you know young people who were not alive at the time when the series was happening.

Question: What does Mission Impossible film provide you as an actress?

Maggie Q: As an actress? Well, normally you would think that on an action film it would not provide you with much as an actress, but it was this film, and because this film has such wonderful non-action actors in it. The challenge on this film was unbelievable I mean just to be acting with Phil or Lawrence or any of these… or Tom or any of these wonderful actors. With really it is an actress dream.

Question: What sort of challenges did Rome provide you with in compared with the challenges compared to China?

Maggie Q: Well, yes different, different challenges obviously because there is certain language barriers, and things like that, but I mean Rome… the crews there are pretty incredible. I do not think that it was really so much, I mean we worked together really well I think the size of the crew that we had in Rome, the scale of what we were doing and having that work together in harmony, and I think we managed to do it pretty well.

Question: Can you talk a little about the preparation for this? Did you do some Marshall arts training, and are you a big Jackie Chan fan?

Maggie Q: Well, Jackie actually is actually my boss in Hong Kong. I worked under him for years, was trained by his stunt guys, and what not. So yeah, am I a fan of Jackie’s? Totally! I do not know anyone who works harder than Jackie or anybody who deserves what they have more than Jackie, but because I have worked in Hong Kong, and under his team, I was prepared for the kind of training that we had in this film. Obviously the level of training was different. Every time you work with different stunt coordinators it is going to be an entirely different experience, even though it is all fighting, but I trained for weeks, and weeks before this film started, and then I trained throughout the duration of the film so in total it was about six months, I mean nonstop because with action you cannot just train, and then stop, and expect your level to be at the level that they need. You kind of have to keep soldiering on through the whole film.

Left to right - Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ving Rhames, Tom Cruise and Maggie Q
Left to right - Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ving Rhames, Tom Cruise and Maggie Q in "Mission: Impossible III." Copyright© Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Question: Given J.J.’s ability to discover great women actors, did he tell you what specifically he saw in you, and what he wanted from you in this?

Maggie Q: That is so funny because a lot of people ask me why I was cast in the role, which really I do not know, but one thing I do remember is when I came into the casting in L.A. I was really, really ill, and J.J. sat me down. He said, “I know it is really hard for you to concentrate, but this is what I am looking for before we begin”. So we sat there, and I am listening to him, and he says, “I have casted loads of people. I know what I want, and I have not found it yet because the woman that I want for this role is a woman who is strong enough to be sort of at Tom’s level, at Ving’s level, and Johnny’s level; a woman who will be present within this group”. Obviously a group like that is… it’s a pretty intimidating group of men. You have this very imposing black guy, wonderful actor, and just imposing figure, you have Tom, and then you have Johnny, and a very strong team. So he said, “I cannot have a woman in this role who gets lost by these men. I cannot have a woman in this role who speaks with Tom Cruise, and people do not believe that she is at his level” and that is what he told me during the casting.

Question: You get to have some nice glamorous scenes also. Have you enjoyed the fantasy party gowns, and stuff?

Maggie Q: You know what is really funny is that I love being kind of dirty, and not having to look nice even more than looking nice because you know when you sort of look nice you kind of have to look nice all the time, but I will tell you what I liked for the character in the film was that I just loved that there is this duality of this woman who can kind of be on the front line with T.C. go in and storm this building. Get what they need, and get out, but also a woman who can dress appropriately and really essentially be a spy as well.

Question: Working on a movie with huge American movie stars do you ever… can you allow yourself a moment to be star struck a little or what was it like for you?

Maggie Q: You know you would think… that is a great question because you would think that would happen, but the funny thing is if you do that you sort of get eaten alive by your own lack of confidence. So I kind of never really allowed myself those moments to just go, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god because I felt like if I did that I would really not be drawing from the confidence that I was trying to find in the first place to be acting with such wonderful actors, and another thing as far as that goes is that my costars in this film from Tom to Lawrence to Phil… all of them there was never a moment when I was filming that they ever allowed me to be star struck because they are such human beings all the time, and I know that sounds strange, but actors are not like that. All actors are not like that especially actors at this level. I mean if they act like such great kind of tangible human beings it allows you to be more relaxed around them, and allows you to feel more at ease, and at home.

Question: How does a movie of this scale impact your acting? Is it different?

Maggie Q: No. The scale of the film… no because I think that as a actress or an actor you process is essentially the same no matter what size the film you are walking on to or not, but I think for this film it is just basically acting at this level with such people. I mean that was really the challenge. I mean I could be working on a million dollar independent film with Phil Hoffman, and be just as afraid, and wonder if I was good enough. It is the same deal because we have this film cast such wonderful non-action actors.

Relevant Information for Mission: Impossible III:

Our Review:

“M:I:3” says “Welcome to Summer!” This explosive third installment is more personal, less arrogant and undeniably the best “Mission: Impossible” film yet to be released. Under the guidance of “Alias” and “Lost” creator J.J. Abrams, Cruise’s Ethan Hunt shows a more human and vulnerable side than the previous versions helmed by Brian De Palma and John Woo. Traits of Abrams “run ‘n gun” style and more character absorbed direction are eminent with characters bonding easily throughout the 126 minutes or so of running time. Abrams writes alongside Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (“The Island” and the upcoming “Transformers” pic), replacing Robert Towne of the second release.

“Zap” and a bloodied Ethan finds himself strapped in a chair facing lover Julia (Michelle Monaghan). “We’ve put an explosive charge in your head. Does that sound familiar?” states a yet to be identified enemy played by Academy Award® winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Capote”). You’ve never seen Ethan as dazed and confused and in an out of control situation such as this one.

“Where is the rabbit’s foot” he’s asked as each nervous second is counted up to ten. A cracking gun shot fires at the final count and the pic jumps forward in time. Spirits are high at the Virginia home of Ethan and Julia as guests arrive for the engagement party, but not for long as a call comes in “This is Ready Travel Resort Services. We would like to offer you an all expenses paid trip to Mexico.”

Off to the store to supposedly replenish the ice. Enter Billy Crudup as John Musgrave, a friend and work colleague for IMF (Impossible Mission Force). Musgrave leaves Ethan his “engagement present” in the form of a disposable camera with details on the mission: recover team mate and little sister figure Lindsey Ferris (Keri Russell) who’s been captured whilst tracking gun-trafficking kingpin Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman). The team is already assembled and off goes Ethan to Berlin, Germany after an explanation to Julia of a last minute work conference.

Ferris is retrieved but something is horribly wrong. Within minutes after boarding the chopper flown by funky Irishman Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers “Match Point”) a menacingly painful noise fills Lindsey’s head and a nitrogen based explosive is discovered. Ethan’s actions of trying to short the device with an electric charge are a fraction too late and Ferris is lost.

A welcome personal touch added once again as back home Ethan’s pain is felt by his nurse wife who embraces him and picks up the scent of a woman.

IMF boss Brassel (Laurence Fishburne) briefs the team on their next mission of capturing Davian and “The Rabbits Foot,” an unexplained device worth millions that is capable of mass destruction. Davian is captured and Cruise comes face to face with his greatest adversary to date. Cruise and Hoffman are good vs evil chemistry at its finest as Davian cleverly taunts and manipulates Ethan. A devastating assault makes way for Davian’s escape and before Ethan can catch his breath Julia is snatched away. IMF’s top agent is left with 24 hours to track down “the rabbits foot” in exchange for Julia’s life.

Don’t mistake a deeper, more character fulfilling film for one that loses its action genre; this is loaded with detailed gadgets, firepower, incredible stunt work and it just gets better with each passing second.

Welcome IMF additions include Hawaiian born Maggie Q as the sexy Zhen, Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Declan, the team’s transportation guru / chameleon capable of multiple languages and “Shaun of the Dead” star Simon Pegg as the lab rat sidekick.

Cruise and Rhames brotherly bond works well as does Fishburne’s Brassel character who, at one point mouths “I will bleed on the flag to make sure the stripes stay red.” As far as Hoffman goes, his versatile talents are proven once again and the prize winner makes for a refreshing villain that manages to not “Shart” himself in the least.

Review Date: Tuesday, May 2nd, Atlanta, Georgia.
Running Time: 126 Minutes.
M.P.A.A. Rating: Rated PG-13

M.P.A.A Rating:
Rated PG 13.


Web Sites: Official Mission Impossible Website

Directed By:

J.J. Abrahams

Written By:

Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & J. J. Abrams based on the T.V. series created by by Bruce Geller

Produced By:

Tom Cruise & Paula Wagner


Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Laurence Fishburne, Billy Crudup, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q, Simon Pegg


Tom Cruise returns as Special Agent Ethan Hunt, who faces the mission of his life in “Mission: Impossible III.” Director J. J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Alias”) brings his unique blend of action and drama to the billion-dollar franchise.

Filming Locations:


Alternate Title: M:I-3

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