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Q&A: 'Lockout' First Daughter Maggie Grace on Being an Unlikely Action Star

Maggie Grace
Getty Images

Maggie Grace might not see herself as an action-movie heroine, but you wouldn't know it by watching her opposite Guy Pearce in the new sci-fi thriller "Lockout." The 28-year-old actress moved to Los Angeles from Ohio after her parents' divorce and won accolades for her breakout role in the 2002 TV movie "Murder in Greenwich." That led to more TV roles -- including the part of Shannon Rutherford on "Lost" -- and memorable appearances on the big screen as Liam Neeson's kidnapped daughter in "Taken" and Irina the vampire in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1."

We sat down with Grace as she chatted candidly about the behind-the-scenes action on "Lockout," her "Lost" finale reunion, her preparedness for "Twilight" mania and how she got the nickname "Maggie Graceless."

What interested you in the role of Emilie, the president's daughter who is held hostage in an orbiting space prison in "Lockout"?
I love the dynamic between Emilie and Snow [Guy Pearce]. They have crazy one-liners and are jabbing each other the whole way through. There's something so kick-ass about the title "Lockout," too. I like it.

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What is something Guy Pearce did during the "Lockout" shoot that you will never forget?
He did quite a dance one day when a hot bullet shell went down his Kevlar vest! Every actor who has done an action film has a little tiny scar somewhere from that. I remember one movie where I was wearing a bustier and that happened. It's not fun.

Maggie Grace in Lockout
Open Road Films

Describe the training you had to do to prepare for "Lockout."
When we first landed in Serbia we did a lot of wirework and combat training. The wirework was the most fun -- it's like being a trapeze performer. We had an excellent stunt team on this one, so I wanted to learn as much from them as I could. It made me realize that I wanted to get more into kickboxing. I got a few lessons in and, as a chick, I think it would be cool to get more into that energy and feel empowered when I walk down the street.

What do you think happens between Emilie and Snow after the end credits?
We improvised the voiceover that is happening as the credits start to roll and we walk off into the horizon. I think they have a real respect for each other at the end, and it's something to build on. They have an equitable partnership at that point.

You returned as Shannon for the last two episodes of "Lost." What was it like to reunite with your "Lost" pals after your character had been killed off years earlier?
On a personal level, I thought it was amazing for us all to come back. We had a guitar circle like the good old days, and it was a special night shooting that final episode. I followed the show a bit [after I left] -- I think it's tough to come to it as a viewer because it's like watching your moving yearbook.

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You are returning for "Taken 2" with Liam Neeson. Are you taken ... again?
No! [laughs] It's such an improbable thing to follow up with a sequel, right? People keep asking, "How do you get abducted again?" and saying "What a coincidence!" It's very much a continuation of the situation in the first one, but the plot is inverted in that my parents are taken and my character has to help find a way to get them out. The moral of the story is still very much: Don't mess with Liam Neeson. They kept the frantic pace of the first one and the tone. I just saw a little bit of it -- this amazing car chase through Istanbul -- that I think is going to be one of the big moments of the film. I'm really excited about it.

You're a relative vampire newcomer to the "Twilight Saga." What will Irina be up to in "Breaking Dawn - Part 2"?
Well, I think Irina is true to the books. I think she's largely misunderstood and a situational villain, but well intentioned. The "Twilight" fervor is still new to me -- it's kind of intimidating.

Is it true that you are clumsy and that a former castmate called you "Maggie Graceless"? Who said that?
That would be Josh Holloway from "Lost." That nickname stuck and is fairly earned, so it's kind of ironic that I'm doing action movies and running for a living. I trip a lot, and I've busted my lip a few times. It used to be that I would be trying to read and walk down the street at the same time, and I'd run into poles. Even fly fishing I've managed to hook myself before. I was in Utah recently and we were going to go hatchet throwing and I thought, Is this really a good fit for me? It's something I'll probably get the hang of someday.

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