After her stint on the island of J.J. Abram’s Lost, Maggie Grace has taken to the big screen with roles in a series of high-profile movies — including Faster, Twilight: Breaking Dawn and, most famously, Taken, in which she played Liam Neeson’s kidnapped daughter. It seems movie villains never learn, however. In this week’s Lockout (also from Taken producer Luc Besson), Grace plays the President’s daughter, dispatched as an emissary to a floating space prison where — you guessed it — she’s taken hostage, prompting Guy Pearce’s mercenary mission to rescue her. We’re assuming Neeson was probably too busy fighting space wolves or clones of himself (take note, Besson…), but he and Grace will be reunited for more daddy-daughter carnage in the inevitable Taken 2, due later this year. In the meantime, we spoke with Grace this week for a conversation about her five favorite films.
The English Patient (Anthony Minghella, 1996; 83% Tomatometer)
I think when you ask for favorite films, you’re really asking “favorite films at 15” — you know what I’m saying? Formative favorite films. I don’t think they really change much. You sort of can’t argue with your inner 13-year-old that watched something 25,000 times. Now I’ll see something adult and be affected by it — like A Separation, which I saw and I loved — but it’s gonna be hard to top those 25,000 viewings when you were 13. You get past pubescence and it’s cooked. Put a fork in it, your favorite films is done. [Laughs] Don’t hold me to it. The English Patient: Oh my gosh, it was just so affecting when I saw it. The performances are impeccable. The sense of time and place; everything about it. It’s really one of those kinds of epics — like Lawrence of Arabia is an epic. You rarely see epics any more.
The 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet, the Zeffirelli version. I really fell head over heels in love with that movie when I was 13. I watched it countless times. Just hearing the score makes me feel like I’m 13 again.
It might be the best Romeo and Juliet on film.
I think it certainly is. You know, they cast pretty close to their ages; I think Olivia Hussey was about 16, and it really captures that emotional stuff.
Shouldn’t you have been watching the Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes version when you were 13?
Well, they gave great performances. But I couldn’t forgive them for cutting the Queen Mab speech. [Laughs]
Breaking the Waves, I saw that when I was — and this was ill-advised [laughs] — I was in Bucharest, alone with the flu. I don’t know what possessed me to put that in to watch, but I think you could imagine it was pretty devastating. It’s so raw and amazing, and Emily Watson is one of my favorite actresses.
Well I think we just have to have a shout out to the rom-com genre in there and it’s a perfect example of the two, you know, really lovable, flawed characters — perfectly flawed for one another. As my grandmother used to say, “There’s a lid for every pot.” So I think that out of that genre that’s probably my favorite.
When did you first see that one?
Probably as a teenager. But, you know, I rewatch it with girlfriends. [Laughs] I’m pretty sure I know it line for line at this point.
I just feel like there’s so much estrogen in this list. [Laughs]
Well you’re in so many action films; that kinda balances your list out.
I really need to do a five favorite action films. I think Die Hard would be up there. No… I’m afraid it’s gonna have to be Sophie’s Choice. [Laughs] Sorry! One of the greatest performances of the 20th century, I think. She’s incredible. I mean, I kinda liked many of her films but that one springs to mind first. I figured I can’t list all five as Meryl Streep films, right? That’d be a little annoying. It’s hard to pick one, but if I had to I’m gonna go with that one.
She did win an Oscar for it.
Yeah. You know, she really should have won many more times than she has. It’s easy to get confused as to which performance of hers was Oscar-nominated and which was Oscar-winning. I think at this point it doesn’t matter. It’s just cumulative. They should just give her a bigger Oscar.
They should remodel the Oscar in her likeness and give that out to other winners.
[Laughs] That’s a fantastic idea.
Lockout is in theaters this week.