Feb 19, 2010

Tradecraft: Maggie Q Goes Femme

Mission: Impossible III's ultra-hot Maggie Q has been cast as the new La Femme Nikita in the CW's previously reported Nikita pilot, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "The casting of Maggie Q is particularly significant," says the trade, "as it jumps off an iconic character historically portrayed as Caucasian, first by Anne Parillaud in Luc Besson's 1990 film, followed by Bridget Fonda in the 1993 redo Point of No Return and Peta Wilson in the 1997 USA Network series.."  That's not entirely true, though; we've already learned that this Nikita is a brand new agent, recruited to replace the original Nikita, who's gone rogue.  Nevertheless, it's still notable that this casting marks "the highest-profile series role for an Asian actress on a broadcast drama series and the highest-profile CW minority casting in the network's four-year history."  According to the trade, this is a landmark pilot season for minority casting--and it seems to me that spy shows are leading the charge!  We've already seen Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe cast as the married spies in J.J. Abrams' Undercovers, and the Hollywood Reporter also mentions that Freddy Rodriguez has been tapped to star in Chaos for CBS.  I hadn't heard of Chaos before, but the trade's description sounds right up my alley: "Chaos revolves around rogue CIA operatives who combat bureaucratic gridlock, rampant incompetence and political infighting. Rodriguez will play a dedicated and naive agent who believes he can make the world a better place."  Brett Ratner directs the pilot.

As for Maggie Q, I'm kind of (pleasantly) surprised that the CW cast a 30-year-old; I'd assumed they were going to reboot the franchise for a more Gossip Girl-aged star, considering the network's regular demographic.  I loved Maggie Q in both M:I:III and the last Die Hard movie, and I look forward to seeing her star in a spy series.  She's certainly got the fight moves to match the beauty as a convincing Nikita!  The biggest question remaining right now is who will play the original Nikita?  Will she even be a character, or just mentioned in passing?  And if she is a character, will Peta Wilson or Anne Parillaud do a cameo?


Snipes said...

Looking forward to this, Maggie Q doesn't get very many good movie roles, and I'd rather see her on a weekly basis. The CW is on a role here with the Vampire Diaries doing great and that other drama they just started is supposedly getting good ratings.

Rebecca said...

Matt, I missed when you posted the original announcement, and I am very curious about this now. I think it's highly unlikely they would bring Peta Wilson into this without alienating the fans of the first TV show by negating the ending. I also doubt Anne Parillaud would be brought in because, let's face it, this is Hollywood and it's been 20 years. Unless they wanted to pull some cute casting maneuver and instead have her play the woman who trains the assassins how to be ladies (*wink* *wink* look it's the original Nikita).

So it sounds like they're picking up from the end of the movie (or the end of Season 1). I think my biggest question is actually what is Maggie Q's character going to have done before? In the USA show, Nikita was falsely accused in order to bring her into this world because the execs thought having the show revolve around a drug addict who *chose* to kill someone wouldn't gain an audience. So will the new Nikita also be a TV-friendly falsely accused? Will she be an actual criminal being given a second chance? Does she want out too? Or did she choose this life (and possibly look down on Nikita for leaving it)? Is she supposed to find Nikita and finish the job the Cleaner didn't do? This definitely has interesting possibilities.