Maggie Q to star as CW’s ‘Nikita’ | Representing hot Asian girls who fight!

Posted by Alden E. Habacon & filed under Diversity, Film, Television.

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, full-fledged Asian superstar Maggie Q is to be cast as the title role of the American broadcaster CW’s pilot of Nikita, an extension of the spy-fi franchise of La Femme Nikita.

The CW pilot’s premise of a new Nikita being trained to replace the original one after she goes rogue gave creator Craig Silverstein an opportunity to break the stereotype, and he wrote the lead as “beautiful and exotic.”

Admittedly, this is four months old, but that doesn’t make it any less significant as a breakthrough for television:

The pending hire of Maggie Q would mark 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.

On other words, the first time CW has cast a non-white actor as the lead.

Of course keeping in mind that Maggie Q is American, first and foremost. She doesn’t have an accent. She was born in Hawaii to a Polish-Irish American father and a Vietnamese mother. Her parents met in Vietnam during the (as the Vietnamese call it) the American War. The family moved to Hawaii and settled in Mililani.

The North-American-born-Euro-Asian-mix sounds like a pretty typical Canadian nowadays.

If you’re new to Maggie Q, you guessed right. “Q” isn’t her real last name. According to the bio on IMDB, she changed her name from Maggie Denise Quigley to Maggie Q to make her name easier to pronounce for Chinese audiences. She’s a superstar in Hong Kong (perhaps that’s what makes her “Asian”) for her modeling and acting, but best known in the U.S. for action roles in Mission: Impossible III and Live Free or Die Hard.


There’s a great clip in her kicking Bruce Willis’ butt in the her interview on The Late Show with Craig Fergeson (video).


She’s HOT (kind of known as a sex icon), kick-ass and an experienced actor. And has a huge fanbase! She’s quoted saying, “Not only do I not want to be stereotyped as this Asian girl who fights – gee, what a wonder – but also I have more to offer than that.” We believe you, Maggie! (She actually dreamed of being a veterinarian. But let’s state the obvious, she’s DAMN good at being the hot Asian girl who fights.

Is this what casting directors call “colour blind casting methods?” Absolutely, not.

The CW pilot’s premise of a new Nikita being trained to replace the original one after she goes rogue gave creator Craig Silverstein an opportunity to break the stereotype, and he wrote the lead as “beautiful and exotic.”

Diverse roles don’t come by accident. They have to be intentional and written into the concept. Now if you’re a fan Luc Besson’s original French-language film, La Femme Nikita (1990) you’ll agree with me that “beautiful and exotic” is NOT breaking from the stereotype.


In fact, that is what made Nikita so interesting to me as a teenager in North America. The original Nikita, played by Anne Parillaud was also portrayed as beautiful young woman who was exotic in other ways (she was French!). Everywhere else in the world, the French/Italian film was known as “Nikita.” Clearly the American distributors played up the French-ness of Nikita, playing this up as exotic.

The Hollywood Reporter described Nikita as 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.”

All that to say, in casting Maggie Q as the next generation Nikita, Craig Silverstein is actually bringing the character closer to the original concept, as Nikita was always meant to be “beautiful and exotic.” I never liked Fonda’s nor Wilson’s depiction of the original French character.

Nikita was the first time that I and many other spy film enthusiasts saw the female assassin archetype. And in a really smart way. Despite being a pretty mainstream concept now, the DVD still resides in the “foreign film” section.

When I think back of all the times in North American television or film where you see this empowered, kick-ass, slick and sexy (but not sexualized) assassin, who was not to be later seduced by James Bond, I can only think of Nikita and the characters in Kill Bill and later Sin City.

Nikita was the most contemplative, torn between the life she wants and the life she is forced to live. Sound familiar? Yes, our fave spy-fi Jason Bourne wrestles with the same personal dilemma and identity crisis.

Maggie Q is playing a truly iconic character, arguably the female assassin archetype. Kinda like Korean American actor Daniel Henney playing lead in a TV-offshoot of Jason Bourne.


Thanks for letting us know | Maggie Q’s credits in IMDB | Bio on IMDB


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