Outtakes: Hard work pays off for Maggie Q

Mar. 20, 2015 | 0 Comments

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BY MIKE GORDON / mgordon@staradvertiser.com

It’s good to be a working actress — just ask Maggie Q. The nationwide release Friday of the feature film “The Divergent Series: Insurgent,” whose cast includes Q, is a nice celebration of that, but don’t be surprised if Q reminds you how much work is involved.

Daniel Dae Kim and Maggie Q at the New York premiere Monday of "The Divergent Series: Insurgent." Photo by E-PR


Daniel Dae Kim and Maggie Q at the New York premiere Monday of “The Divergent Series: Insurgent.”

It started in Atlanta last spring on the “Insurgent” set, segued in July to a co-starring role on the CBS psychological thriller “Stalker” and finished with a “Stalker” season wrap last week, a plane flight to the East Coast and the New York premiere Monday of “Insurgent.”

Not busy enough? For six weeks last summer, the actress even worked on both projects at the same time.

And somehow amid all that work, she found love, too: If you believe the gossip column rumors and the photos of that huge diamond ring, she’s engaged to her “Stalker” co-star Dylan McDermott.

“I couldn’t be more blessed,” said Q, the 34-year-old Hollywood actress who went by Maggie Quigley when she grew up in Mililani.

“It’s really a nice time,” she said. “I can’t express fully how grateful I am to be a working actress. You can call yourself one any time of the day, but you have to be working.”

“Insurgent” is the second of four films based on the “Divergent” novels by Veronica Roth. It stars Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants”) as Tris and Theo James (“Golden Boy”) as Four. It also features Daniel Dae Kim of “Hawaii Five-0,” who plays Jack Kang, a leader of the Candor faction devoted to honesty.

Q is a huge Kim fan and gave him the highest compliment a kamaaina can give.

“He is like an honorary local,” she said. “It feels like he is from Hawaii. He has that total Hawaii vibe. He fits right in.”

In truth, Q doesn’t have a lot of screen time in “Insurgent,” which is based on Roth’s second book. (Roth’s third book, “Allegiant,” will be split into two movies.) “Insurgent” spends a lot of time focusing on Tris and Four, their relationships and their motivations. A lot of characters come and go and come back again, Q said.

“To cover what this book explores in one movie is a difficult task,” she said in a call from the set of “Stalker” in Los Angeles, as a gaggle of assistants peppered her with questions about her makeup and wardrobe. “For all the other characters, we are on this journey with them, which leads us to the third book.”

“Insurgent” director Robert Schwentke (“R.I.P.D.,” “Flightplan”) shot a lot that didn’t make it into the final cut, including an action-packed parkour scene with Q and Woodley. They had to make their way up a large wall, running, jumping and hanging from it.

“A lot of what we did didn’t make it into the film,” Q said. “You have 20 characters in a film and you are trying to tell everyone’s story and there is not enough time for everything. It’s two hours.”

Although she’s done more films, Q has logged some serious TV time in recent years.

For four seasons she starred as Nikita, the rogue assassin in the CW series of the same name. “Stalker,” which has averaged 10.5 million viewers an episode, is Q’s second major series. She plays an LAPD detective who investigates harassment and intimidation cases.

No one wants to hear an actor complain, she said, but working on a TV series is grueling. “There is no way to explain it except the words ‘chronic exhaustion’ come out of my mouth every week when people ask me what I am doing,” Q said. “I work 12 to 17 hours a day. That’s every day.”

That said, she likes the fact that she can explore the depth of her TV character in ways that a film does not allow.

“You get to explore a character and build on that every week,” she said. “That’s a real gift. That’s why you see so many actors doing TV.”

CBS hasn’t announced if it will renew “Stalker” for a second season, but Q knows she will be in the third “Divergent” film.

Not knowing the future of her small-screen gig doesn’t bother her.

“I don’t feel entirely anxious about those things,” she said. “I don’t leave an experience thinking I didn’t give it my all. At the end of the day if you do that you have no regrets.”

What’s next beyond catching her breath is a bit uncertain at the moment, even if you ask her about that big ol’ ring. Q is keeping it on the QT.

“I’ll tell you this,” she said, laughing, “I didn’t buy it myself.”
Mike Gordon covers film and television in Hawaii for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Email him at mgordon@staradvertiser.com and follow him on Twitter. Read his weekly “Outtakes” column Sundays in the Star-Advertiser.

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