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Maggie Q Cast in CW's Nikita Reboot 
21st-Feb-2010 12:49 am
Okami
Just out today, SciFi Wire is reporting that Maggie Q has been cast as the lead in the CW's reboot of the La Femme Nikita franchise.

Maggie Q is a half Vietnamese, half white actress from Hawaii and has worked both in the Hollywood and Hong Kong movie industry for some time.

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."
The pending hire of Maggie Q in "Nikita," from WBTV and McG's Wonderland, 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.




Thoughts? Unlike some other casting *cough*StreetFighterLedgendofChunLee*cough* where they hire a mixed race actress who reads as white, Maggie Q has always visually identified as Asian to me. And while I cringe somewhat at the use of the "exotic" criteria, she has proven herself quite the ass kicker on screen.
Comments 
21st-Feb-2010 05:55 am (UTC)
Definitely another mixed bag case, for me.

Yay! Asian-American actress!

Boo "exotic" still otherizing treatment... :(
21st-Feb-2010 06:07 am (UTC)
This, pretty much.
22nd-Feb-2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I wonder how many "exotic" Asian American women the writer actually knows? Because most, I think, bristle at being called that. We're not giraffes or zebras.

I guess he could have written "beautiful and alluring" or something less ethnically coded, but the feminista in me still bristles!
21st-Feb-2010 06:29 am (UTC)
*headdesk* Any of y'all ends up becoming Supreme Commander of the World, please ban the use of 'exotic' as a descriptor of anything besides plants and pets.

On the bright side, good news on the hire! Also, I note she is wearing practical clothes and does not have a sword on her. That's a start.
21st-Feb-2010 08:35 am (UTC)
That would be from when she was in one of the Mission Impossible flicks.
23rd-Feb-2010 12:43 am (UTC)
Did she get a bad wardrobe then? Now I'm curious. I tried to Google some stills of her but all I get are model-poses and some bland "look how pretty our female lead is" stills.

Semi-related: that was one of the things I really liked about Nico Minoru's character (from Runaways; she's the Asian girl with the sea-urchin hair in my icon)--she wasn't 'all Japanese, all the time'. With non-white heroes, there's an unfortunate tendency for any and all powers/shticks/costumes to be tied directly into their ethnicity, and they tend to be first- or second-generation Americans because it's so obvious they're FOREIGN, you know? :/

And then there was Nico. She liked goth clothes, but it wasn't in the Japanese-gothic-lolita style. Her superpowers were not related to a samurai legend or an ancient Japanese curse or anything like that. Her parents were Catholic and her family had been in the U.S. for decades. She wasn't The Japanese One, she was another Californian kid. And then Joss Whedon stepped in and prompty fucked it all up, but that's a story for another day.

Yeah. Tangent. Sorry. My point was that it's unfortunate how it seems every action-heroine's dress sense can be guessed just by checking the actress's ethnicity, but I don't know how well I expressed that.
21st-Feb-2010 07:29 am (UTC)
Ugh. Yeah, the "exotic" tag is just really, really off-putting. Sorry that Asians have been part of American culture for a pretty freaking long time. I'd welcome a change by now.
21st-Feb-2010 08:08 am (UTC)
fail on the 'exotic', but Maggie Q hits 'beautiful' right on the head. I love her, in HK flicks, in Die Hard, whatever. She's awesome and talented; I'm glad to hear the news.
21st-Feb-2010 08:26 am (UTC)
Loved the movie, hated the show, not sure about this one.

A- on the casting, though. I understand what they mean when they say "exotic", but in today's world it just sounds like they are stupids.

About the "cough", I've always viewed that as being something similar to colorism. Sure they play the, "Yeah, we've got an asian actress," then go on to make her look as white as possible on the DVD covers/movie posters: what's the point then?

Hollywood, here's an idea: Mark-Paul Gosselaar can be Ryu in the next movie!

21st-Feb-2010 08:37 am (UTC)
Especially when there's how many red blooded Asian Americans born and raised? How long a group of people have to be in one place before you're not exotic in an 'other' sense?
21st-Feb-2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
Maggie Q looks fetching and would not complain about a movie with her as the new Nikita.

Now all I ask is for an East Asian guy who is not the villain (yakuza/triad), get to kiss the heroine.

If they want to kill the Asian man for having the temerity of showing other than an asexual or emasculated stereotype, I will keep quite.

Baby steps...

22nd-Feb-2010 12:30 am (UTC)
Anonymous
She is going to be in that King OF Fighters movie Right?
Besides I don't see how she is any different then Kristin Kreuk anyway
People work with the cards your dealt and if Kristin looks white, does that mean she shouldn't act because people will know she has asian in her?
You can't change your appearance.

Maggie Q = John Foo = Kristen Kreuk = Bruce lee
24th-Feb-2010 03:13 am (UTC)
Anonymous
Eeehhhhh, not quite. There are examples of minority actors having no trouble getting roles as long as they aren't *too* foreign, or even just straight up seen as white.

I.E. Ben Kingsley after he adopted the stage name, Keeanu Reeves, Kristen Kreuk, and technically Cameron Diaz.

They're able to play characters named *John* Constantine and the like. But then you still have a few people who want to use them and keep their minimalized heritage as a shield against criticism. Like casting Kreuk as Chun Li, when the character is fully Chinese, and not even American. Or how they cast Keeanu in 47 Ronin, and talk about how his half-Chinese (actually a quarter), not Japanese heritage makes a great asset in a movie entirely about Japan.

But then you have Maggie Q, who has even said in interviews that she's had trouble finding work both here and in Hong Kong for her mixed heritage. You have Bruce Lee, who didn't get to star in Kung Fu, even though he started that thing from the ground up with himself in mind. You have actresses who had to get plastic surgery to look white to get work.

There's a difference in how you're treated if Hollywood can ignore the fact that you're a minority.
24th-Feb-2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
Not quite. Hollywood has a tendency to treat you better if you don't look ethnic. Casting half-Chinese Kristen Kreuk as the fully Chinese, and not even American Chun Li, for example. That's especially lazy since in her very first appearance, being Chinese was one of the few identifiers for Chun Li at all. Or casting Keanu Reeves (who's, like 5/8ths, English along with Hawaiian, Chinese, and Portuguese) to star in 47 Ronin, a story about actual Japanese people, all while the studio says his part Chinese (not Japanese), hardly ever mentioned heritage will add to the film. Or! To give a more cynically relevant example, casting half-Asian actress Jessica Andres for Suki, while the rest of the unnamed Kyoshi Warriors, along with unnamed earthbenders and their fathers, seem to be fully Asian.

But then you have Maggie Q, who had to go to Hong Kong because her Asian heritage shows more, and even then, in Hong Kong, they wanted fully Chinese girls or White girls, nothing else. She only became famous there because while she was working as a model, they featured her in a photo -shoot with a rapper.

You have Ben Kingsley, who had to change his Indian name to find work, and ended up ironically being cast as Ghandi.

You have guys like Bruce Lee, born Lee Jun Fan in China, who tried to star in a series he himself wrote and produced, only to have it given to David Carradine, somebody who didn't even know martial arts. Denied, simply because he was Asian.

Hollywood is full of actors who's mixed heritage isn't something that held them back, something that's little more than an ice-breaker for conversations between people talking about their movies. Technically, Cameron Diaz is half-Cuban from her dad, and part English, German and Cherokee on her mother's side.

Also, yes, you *can* change your appearance. There're people in Hollywood's history who got plastic surgery to look more white and thus get hired. I say "history" but it's happened as recently as the last decade.
12th-Mar-2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
Even Jackie Chan got eyelid surgery to help him look more white.
22nd-Feb-2010 12:38 am (UTC)
Disappointing 'exotic' use aside, I think it's awesome that she'll be leading the show. (Although I'm also slightly biased; yay, Hawaii-born actress! 8D) I'm not familiar with the series, but I hope the writing will be smart and not fall into old cliches.
22nd-Feb-2010 07:10 am (UTC)
Let's see...a beautiful "exotic" ass-kicking Asian assassin/superspy? Yeah, that's a real stereotype-breaker--although it'll be refreshing to see such a character as the protagonist rather than the hero's love interest of the week.
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