In the vampire action thriller Priest, Maggie Q stars as Priestess, a mysterious soldier who fought to defend mankind from the vicious vampire creatures that threatened to destroy the human race, and then was banished, along with the other Priests, for being seen as too powerful. Spending their time doing menial labor, the warriors who once saved the human population from its most terrifying enemy are now shunned by their neighbors. But, when a vampire attack leads to the abduction of the 18-year-old niece (Lily Collins) of Priest (Paul Bettany), he decides to break his sacred vows and defy orders by setting out to find the girl, with the help of Priestess and their otherworldly fighting skills.
During a recent interview to promote the film, actress Maggie Q talked about playing a character who has sacrificed everything, how she sees Priest as a drama that just happens to have action and vampires in it, and how much she enjoyed working with Paul Bettany and exploring the relationship between their characters. She also talked about how her television series Nikita will have a big finale that will run like a movie for the last couple of episodes. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
MAGGIE Q: I am the only one you see in the film. Well, you see some others in a flashback. They’ve sacrificed a lot. They’re soldiers. People always ask how there are female priests, but in this world there are.
What was the process of putting the cross on your face every day?
MAGGIE Q: What was really fun were the hair and make-up tests and deciding on the cross. It was funny because Paul [Bettany] and I would get it put on and (director) Scott [Stewart] would be like, “It looks different on him than it does on you. What’s happening?” The make-up artist was like, “They have different faces. Their noses are a different size.”
What was your auditioning process like for this?
MAGGIE Q: It was interesting. Everyone had heels and big hair, and there was all this smoky eye make-up happening and boobage, which I couldn’t do, even if I wanted to, so I was jealous. I thought I was at the wrong place because, last time I checked, the role was for a Priest, so why would you do the boobage and the hair and the heels? I was mortified. I was like, “What is happening right now?”
Are you typically a fan of vampire films?
MAGGIE Q: I’m not a vampire movie fan, per se. That’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed movies with vampires in them. I know there are vampires in our film, but when I think about Priest, the word vampire was never in my head. It was never about that. There’s a lot of symbolism in this movie and a lot of parallels that we draw, and there are creatures instead of people with teeth, which made it a lot cooler. But, it’s always story first, for me. Scott is such a great storyteller. He will sell you on visuals, but the visuals were just one of those things. It was after we had talked about what this film meant. That’s where I came from. It was about the relationships and the inter-connectivity of these people, what they’ve sacrificed, how awful that is and, ultimately, what you do in that situation and where you go from there. How do people forgive and forget and move forward, and what’s left for them? That was exciting for me. It’s weird. I only see Priest as what I experienced, and I experienced some really solid storytelling, a great cast, and a director who is incredibly deep and specific and had a vision for every single character, every moment, every breath and every line. That’s my experience. I don’t view this as an action film or a vampire film. I see it as a drama, but then you get all that other stuff too, which is great.
MAGGIE Q: They have history. Priestess has been a Priest for longer than Paul’s character. She was found much younger, when she was a child. He was found much later. Because of the vows that they take – and the females take the same vows that men do – she’s got this weird thing happening where she’s taken her vows to the Church, but she is this person who loves this man who had a love that wasn’t her, at one time, and that doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t even know that Priestess wants to be with him, as much as she wants to just be loved by him, the way that she’s always imagined it to be, whether it just be an emotion or an energy. She’s always wanted so much to be close to him. He was that person. He was her comrade, and when you fight a war together, something happens. You’re connected in a different way than other people are, and that connection got to another level, in her mind and in her heart. Had his situation been different, would they have been different? Maybe. But, that’s the big question mark. We really will never know – not in this film – how he really feels about it. We certainly know what his loyalties are to his great love, and it’s very beautiful and poetic. At the end of the day, Priestess is still a woman. She still feels things and wants things in her life. There are things that she will never, ever have, and things that were taken away, and things that she’s never experienced, that she wants. It’s sad because, will that ever happen? We don’t know.
MAGGIE Q: It’s interesting how different certain actor’s processes can be. If the character is as hard as Paul’s is, some actors come to set and they bring the severity and they live it, and you have to live in that moment all the time, and it can be very exhausting. Whereas, I felt like every time we had finished a scene, Scott could hear us laughing from all the way across the stage. This movie, and a lot of things that I do, are the heavier, more stoic characters, and it’s really nice to be able to work with a person who brings that and understands that for the film, but then, once we cut, we could still have a good time and make a film that we believe in and feel strongly about. We just enjoyed the process. Sometimes, with certain actors, you’re not enjoying the process and it’s this miserable thing and you’re like, “Why are we doing this?” But, I get that people’s focuses are different and people are only capable of certain things and they bring it a certain way. We were really fortunate, not just with Paul, but with Scott and our entire crew of amazing people.
MAGGIE Q: The Priests have been given these heightened abilities. They’re not superheroes, but they’re touched by the hand of God. They don’t do what Superman or Spider-Man does, but their abilities are heightened. So, Priestess has a gift and Nikita has had to earn her gifts. Priestess is pretty cool, but Nikita is very well armed. Where does her stuff come from? Where does she get her guns from? She just pulls one out. Every time we get to that problem, where we’re like, “Where did she get that from?,” we’re just like, “Whatever. Moving on. It just fell out of the sky.”
Have you finished the season of Nikita yet?
MAGGIE Q: I’m on hiatus. I’m so excited. I’ve been in Toronto for 10 months. I came back and the customs guy was like, “Why do you have so much stuff?” I said, “I was gone for 10 months!,” so he was like, “Okay, go.”
Is there a big season finale to look forward to?
MAGGIE Q: Very big! We shot it like a movie. The last two episodes are going to run like one episode, so it’s going to be like one big movie, which is cool. You’re going to be like, “What just happened?!”