Priest - Maggie Q
Priestess (Maggie Q) © 2011 Screen Gems

Although Maggie Q has been working in films for several years, including roles in Deception, Live Free or Die Hard and Mission Impossible III, it’s her performance as the title character on the TV series Nikita that has brought her to the attention of audiences.

She is currently starring in the post-apocalyptic action horror film Priest portraying the Priestess, who along with Priest (Paul Bettany) must fight a horde of vampires who have kidnapped his niece.

Are you a fan of vampire films?

Priest - Maggie Q
Priestess (Maggie Q) © 2011 Screen Gems

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 [the vampires] are creatures instead of people with teeth, which made it a lot cooler.

But, it’s always story first, for me. Scott (Stewart, the movie’s director) is such a great storyteller. He will sell you on visuals, but it was after we had talked about what this film meant, that’s where I came [alive].

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.

How did you come to this role?

Priest - Maggie Q
Priestess (Maggie Q) © 2011 Screen Gems

I went and auditioned, and everyone had heels and big hair, and there was all this smokey eye make-up happening and boobage, which I couldn’t do even if I wanted to, so I was jealous.

I came in and 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, the hair and the heels? I was mortified. I was like, ‘What is happening right now?’

How long did it take to put that cross on your face every day?

What was really fun were the hair and make-up tests and deciding on the cross.

It was funny because Paul and I would get it put on and Scott 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.’

Can you talk about the relationship between Priest and Priestess? What is their history?

Priest - Paul Bettany and Cam Gigandet
Priest (Paul Bettany) and Hicks (Cam Gigandet) in the background © 2011 Screen Gems

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 does love [Priest], 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 to be close to him. 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.

What was it like to work with Paul?

It’s interesting how different 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 like Paul who brings that and understands that, fundamentally, 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. We were really fortunate, not just with Paul, but with Scott and our entire crew of amazing people.

Who would win a fight between the Priestess and Nikita?

Nikita - Maggie Q
Nikita (Maggie Q) © 2010 CW Network

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 like, ‘Whatever. It just fell out of the sky. Moving on.’

Have you finished the season yet?

I’m on hiatus. I just got back last night. 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 was like, “I was gone for 10 months!” So he was like, “Okay, go.”

Is there a big season finale to look forward to?

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. You’re going to be like, ‘What just happened?’ It’s going to be cool.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.