Maggie Grace calls Liam Neeson, who plays her onscreen vigilante father in the “Taken” franchise, a goofball.
“A lot of people think of him as such a serious person, but he’s really goofy,” the blond actress reveals about the Academy Award-winning actor, with whom she’s co-starred in two successful films.
The 30-year-old actress just wrapped her work on “Taken 3,” which she insists will be the final installment in the action-packed globe-hopping franchise. The action thriller, directed by Olivier Megaton and written by Luc Besson, is due out next year.
In the meantime, the soft-spoken blond beauty has a more intimate, character-driven drama she stars in rolling out in theaters called “About Alex.” Directed by first time writer/director Jesse Zwick (son of filmmaker Ed Zwick, an executive producer on the film), the explosions in this indie involve emotions, not the C-4 variety. Grace plays Siri, one of six friends who arrive at the New York’s Catskills home of a former college classmate to provide emotional support after he suffers a mental breakdown.
Despite their best efforts to keep the weekend gathering upbeat and joyful for their friend’s sake, a mix of old jealousies, unrequited love and widening political differences leads to confrontation and heartbreak.
Siri is dating Ben (Nate Parker), a journalist with writer’s block, who is contemplating leaving the Big Apple for Los Angeles, which she doesn’t want to do. Aubrey Plaza plays her friend Sarah, who is dating Josh (Max Greenfield), but she pines for Isaac (Max Minghella), who has brought along his much younger girlfriend (Jane Levy). Jason Ritter (son of the late actor John Ritter) plays Alex.
In an interview, Grace spoke about this “Big Chill”-like drama, penned by Zwick for a whole new generation and its woes, and finishing up “Taken.”
Q: Did you ask Jesse why he came up with Siri for the name of your character?
Grace: I didn’t ask him but at least it’s acknowledged in the script. A girl around that age is the last to have that name for a while.
Q: Are you relieved your chosen profession from the time you were a youngster appears to have worked out? Do you still wonder if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing with your life?
Grace: Of course I still do. We’re never done.
Q: Are you on social media?
Grace: I am. And I have to say I really enjoy parts of it. I’m trying to find a way to be both authentic. You can only offer sound bites. It’s not nuanced. There’s no context. It’s not an intimate relationship. I never want to sound ungrateful but saying I had a bad day. Everybody has a bad day now and then. People look at what you have and say, “How can you ever have a bad day?” So I never want to come across as complaining. That’s the one thing where social media is endlessly sanitized and comparing at the same time. You look at this whitewashed version of everyone’s best self. Everyone has their own website. That’s crazy.
Q: Have you had a chance to do Shakespeare yet? Would you like to?
Grace: I’d love to. I did a couple of Shakespeare plays when I was 14 or 15. Regional theater. That’s a lot of training to catch up on.
Q: You’re out here for the premiere and to do press for “About Alex.” How is it reuniting with your co-stars?
Grace: I’m happy I’m in town for this. I think it speaks to how much (the cast) loved this film and this experience and working with Jesse. All seven of us are going to be at the premiere tonight. I can’t remember the last time where the whole cast turned up. Everybody’s been working like crazy but they all managed to get the day off or whatever to be here.
Q: Have you had a chance to catch up?
Grace: We have. It’s unusual to have a premiere in LA. My family’s coming.
Q: How was your Broadway experience and do you plan to do more theater soon?
Grace: Absolutely. I really miss theater. It was heavenly. I loved it.
Q: You just finished a film with Zachary Quinto called “We’ll Never Have Paris,” right?
Grace: Yeah. It was a comedy, which was fun to do to shake things up. And I just finished “Taken 3.” We’ve been shooting that for the past 12 weeks. And I did a pilot. So I’ve been pretty busy. This is the first time I’ve been home since April.