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Interview: Actor Maggie Grace from LOCKOUT

Drew Tinnin

April 12th, 2012

Strikingly beautiful with a piercing stare, Maggie Grace (Lost, TAKEN) also appeared to be pretty exhausted when we spoke earlier this week. What remains to be seen is whether or not endless interviews and press days are more depleting than running from escaped convicts on a prison space station.

In LOCKOUT, Grace plays the President's daughter - an idealist sent to find out if cryogenics has warped the minds of some of the jailed prisoners kept frozen in their space cells. Once they're sprung, however, it's up to Guy Pearce to get her off the station before it crashes into our planet.

When we sat down together, Grace was tired but attentive and easy to make laugh.

The film takes place on a prison planet of sorts. Have you ever been arrested? Have you ever spent the night in jail?

No. You're the first one to ask me that, I'm shocked that's a new question. It's such a kind of post-coital question.

So it's too personal. I would think that maybe Luc Besson has gotten into a little bit of trouble over the years, maybe when he was a kid.

Maybe. You should ask him about that. He's had some varied experiences to draw from. I don't know if prison time is really one of them.

(Read the rest of the interview) 

One thing I thought was cool about your character is that your very diplomatic and very caring, a complete antitheses to Guy Pearce's character, but you have to end up being more like him to survive. Was that a fun arc to play?

Yeah, I think there's a strength there and a capability that's revealed, but I don't know if it's this humbling of a naive girl. All of her concerns turn out to be very much based on fact, but yeah you're definitely right. She's more of the moral compass than Snow.

Would you rather have to work out every day in the gym like Guy had to do to prepare for his role but in return you'd get to say all the cool one-liners?

Oh, it'd be worth it for all those one-liners.

And then Guy Pearce would have to wear that awful wig that you have to sport.

Yeah, that'd be fun. I'd like to do the SNL version of LOCKOUT. It'd be great, we could just switch up our roles.

Is that something you'd really like to do? A tough action role like that?

Absolutely. I think having a few action movies under my belt so far and embracing the genre, you know, it's a lot of fun to make action movies but I think the next step for me would be the kick-ass, full-throttle heroine.

You do kick a little bit of ass in this one.

Yeah, she's strong but you have to remain true to the context of the character and her political family.

What was the most fun you had on set. Getting to wear the space suits?

I'll be honest, the space suits were not the fun part. We thought they were going to be and when we had the fitting for the suits we were messing around and I was doing my best , "You have five seconds to comply!", you know, doing my best impressions and that was fun. But they were so heavy and unwieldy and took like an hour to get off. No bathroom breaks, and if you can't hold the weight of it anymore they just kind of tip you against the wall and you lean against it for a second. The really fun part was doing the prep for the wire work before we actually got into the suits.

Was the outer space sequence the only wire work you did for the film?

Yeah, well there was originally this fight sequence in space that didn't make the final cut. That's how much action is in this action movie.

I wonder if it will end up on the DVD as a Maggie Grace easter egg.

Yeah, that would be nice. But yeah so, because originally there were some long sequences in space on the wires and working with the Hydrowinch and everything we had a couple days when we got up on the wires in rehearsal.

What's the Hydrowinch?

The piece that they use to hold us up. We were like marionettes and then they have the wind machines to make everything look like zero gravity.

Was that the first time you did something like that for a film?

Yeah. I mean I've done the kind of pulley system that yanks you out of the scene and yanks you out of frame.

Was that for Lost?

In Lost we did one.

That sounds like a lot more fun.

It was. I was like, "Again, again!". But when we were on the wires in rehearsal we just got to play around. It was like trapeze school.

You're making me want to go to Action School.

Action School would be amazing! We kind of got to go to Action School when we were shooting in Belgrade [Serbia].

The film defies logic at some points but it's still a blast in parts. As you've said before, it does feel like a late '80s / early '90s flick.

Yeah, there's definitely a retro-feel, and yeah there's a certain heightened reality and suspension of disbelief in some places but it's fun and it's not pretentious in any way. It's definitely, unabashedly, a really entertaining romp in space.

Did Luc Besson send you the script originally? You guys obviously have a long standing relationship with each other now.

Yeah, Luc emailed me the script when I was on vacation and I laughed hysterically and said sign me up and that I couldn't wait to shoot it.

Was Guy attached at that point? 

Yeah, and that was the other big reason. I'm a huge fan of Guy's work.

Were you surprised how ripped and in shape he was on set?

Yeah, yeah I was. He was a champion bodybuilder as a teenager so he can just get it right back. People think of him as more of an actor's actor and more of a cerebral guy, but yeah it was amazing. He just showed up looking like a G.I. Joe.

Is the future in LOCKOUT a future you could see yourself living in?

It has shades of a dystopian future. THE FIFTH ELEMENT was kind of pre-global warming. I think the way we portray the future has changed.

But this definitely isn't a message film.

No, if you're looking for a message film, look elsewhere. It's a fun, popcorn in the air kind of movie.

Would you ever consider cryogenically freezing yourself or a loved one if the technology was there, and if it didn't cause possible brain damage like it does in LOCKOUT?

I don't think so.

What if it was really cheap?

So, you're saying cost would be the prohibitive thing? Science. They're all about "coulda" and not about "shouda". "Hi, we're science."

LOCKOUT is in theaters Friday, April 13th.

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