NOC Interview: Maggie Q on Representing Powerful Asian Women in ‘The Protégé’

The Protégé isn’t just your typical action movie. And Maggie Q is absolutely not your typical Hollywood action hero. Indeed, Q and this movie represent something special for Asians like myself; more so especially for Asian women. In the history of American-made action films, how many have been led by Asian women? And no, Scarlett Johansson doesn’t count for obvious reasons. I bet if you’re counting at home, you have barely finished counting on one hand.

However, a change is coming. And it’s a change for the better. We’re not only starting to see more female character-driven action films, but we’re starting to see them led by women of color. And as our insightful editor, Laura Sirikul, noted in an article recently, the roles of Asian women, in particular, in these films are starting to evolve forward.

And it all starts with Q and The Protégé.

In addition to being a stylish, witty, and action packed film with bone-crushing sequences and an explosive performance from Q and co-stars Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson, the film is one of the first to, not only put the spotlight firmly on an Asian woman, but also make her a fully fleshed out character. This could have been a cop out that fell back into the Dragon Lady trope. But Q’s character, Anna, proves to be much more. More than that, Anna’s Vietnamese culture is prominently featured as an important part of the character’s identity.

It was an absolute honor that we got to speak to Maggie Q about this change, her role in the movie, and what it means for the future of the action genre. However, even more than that, it is my honor and privilege that I get to share her responses and our time together with you all today. Here it is:

The Protégé hits theaters this Friday, August 20.

And I want to encourage all of you to go out there (if comfortable going to the theaters) to support Maggie Q, this really fun, incredibly entertaining, badass Action flick, and Asian representation as a whole. You will not be disappointed!