Maggie Grace Jane Austen Book Club

Maggie Grace Jane Austen Book Club
She was bitten by the acting bug at a very young age, and started off in theatre and TV before landing the part of the self-centred princess Shannon Rutherford in hit TV series Lost. Since leaving Lost, Maggie Grace is making up for um, lost time (no pun intended) and has already shot four films with a fifth underway. Her latest one is The Jane Austen Book Club, an engaging tale of five slightly neurotic women and one man, (Amy Brenneman, Maria Bello, Kathy Baker, Emily Blunt and Hugh Dancy) who discover the novels of the English author eerily relevant to their own lives some two centuries after they were written. Gaynor Flynn sat down with the young actress at the recent Toronto International Film Festival.

Gaynor Flynn: Were you a fan of Jane Austen before this film?

Maggie Grace: I was actually since I was quite young I loved JaneAusten so it was a perfect film for me. My wholefamily thought it was hysterical that I finally founda film about Jane Austen. It?s a very contemporarymovie I think. People might not expect that from thetitle but I loved the book when it came out. I read itlike as soon as it came out so I was excited to seethe script come across my desk.

Gaynor Flynn: It?s also not everyday that you get to play thelesbian daughter of Amy Brenneman and Jimmy Smitsright?

Maggie Grace: [laughs] Yeah it was a great excuse to have a reallyfun lesbian love story movie marathon all to myself,it was fantastic.

Gaynor Flynn: Was it difficult to get the part?

Maggie Grace: Not especially. I came in and kind of clicked withRobyn (Swicord) the director right away. We?ve bothJaneite geeks and then she thought I was right for itso I was relieved.

Gaynor Flynn: Bit of a change of pace from Lost, was that part ofthe plan? And you?ve also changed your hair colour.

Maggie Grace: Yeah, now I?m a brunette. The hair colour has changeda few times since Lost but the timing of leaving wasso great for me.

Gaynor Flynn: Why?

Maggie Grace: Well it kind off launched me and now I have theopportunity to pursue all sorts of parts.

Gaynor Flynn: Do you prefer film or are you planning on jugglingboth TV and film?

Maggie Grace: I prefer film. I mean I feel like after Lost that wasa pretty special circumstance and I felt it was aspecial show and I didn?t necessarily want to jumpback into a seven year contract so I?ve shot fourmovies since then and I?ve got another film coming outearly next year called Taken. It?s a thrilleropposite Liam Neeson, and we shot in Paris so I?ve hadreally good luck with locations, Hawaii, Paris. That?s also why I lean more towards film I love totravel and I love the gypsy lifestyle. I mean I?m 23and it?s a great time in my life to jump from oneplace to another.

Gaynor Flynn: It must make it difficult on relationships though.

Maggie Grace: Well I have other priorities right now.

Gaynor Flynn: When did you know you wanted to be an actress?

Maggie Grace: I was really young and nobody in my family is involvedin it. I?m from Ohio. I?m from a small community inOhio it was a kind of a ridiculous thing to want to dothere but I really loved it.

Gaynor Flynn: How did you get started?

Maggie Grace: I started doing plays when I was really little likewhen I was five and I started getting into it more inschool and then I started working with more adulttroupes, like the local Shakespeare troupe and we dida couple of Neil Simon plays and it was really fun,like 13, 14, 15 I really got into it. It was like mywhole life, I hardly dated or had friends or didanything else. It was like a play rehearsal afterschool every day.

Gaynor Flynn: No time for boyfriends?

Maggie Grace: [laughs] Well that was then, this is now. Now we makea little time. I?m continually seeking a sense ofbalance with all things and I think I?m getting betterevery year. But I kind of fell in love with theatreand read a lot of plays. I?m an avid reader and thenmoved to LA when I was 16 and worked in TV for fiveyears and live there and film for the last two.

Gaynor Flynn: It?s really amazing because you hear so many storiesabout actors struggling for years.

Maggie Grace: Well I struggled. I was broke and definitely itwasn?t the easiest thing. I worked my way up.

Gaynor Flynn: How broke?

Maggie Grace: I ate the crackers and it was a lot to swallow at 16and everyone you meet when you?re in LA is in thebusiness so it?s a little crazy. Its not thehealthiest place but I?ve been very lucky and I?vebeen very grateful and I?ve certainly got friends whohave struggled for decades in a city that candefinitely wear away at you if you?re not careful andif you don?t see enough plays and read enough books toforget that its not all about the daily castingannouncements and the trade magazines.

Gaynor Flynn: What was it like working with this cast?

Maggie Grace: It was fantastic.

Gaynor Flynn: Did you know any of them beforehand?

Maggie Grace: Only through some mutual friends but I didn?t reallyknow any of them.

Gaynor Flynn: Was it better or worse with an almost all female cast?

Maggie Grace: Better like from day one rehearsals were just a blast.Everybody really gelled and having a cast and a set ofwomen the producer, the writer/director it reallymakes a difference, the whole vibe and the wholeprocess was just a different one and it was reallyrefreshing and they?re all very warm giving generouswomen. Not one of them is jealous or bitter or any ofthose awful qualities that we sometimes, if you?vebeen in the business too long, can rear their uglyhead. They?re just the most amazing women and suchgreat role models for me being the youngster. Its nottoo often that I think people will be this encouragingand shepherd you and Robyn especially is just soencouraging its all so wonderful that they?re sogiving of yourself.

Gaynor Flynn: Are you finding it difficult to find roles whereyou?re more than just the girlfriend?

Maggie Grace: Yeah and especially after Lost I got a lot of the samesort of offers.

Gaynor Flynn: What girl survives plane crash and lives on a beachsort of thing?

Maggie Grace: (laughs) No and I?m happy to have any offers really,its flattering no matter what they are but I don?twant to play the same role over and over. Even on asilly superficial level, I came in to audition forthis as the little blond chick and seeing that I couldbe Amy and Jimmy?s daughter, who both have dark hair,and Robyn was willing to see past that because a lotof directors can?t even picture a different haircolour, something as simple as that.

Gaynor Flynn: So you don?t run around in bikinis all the time andact like a spoiled princess?

Maggie Grace: (laughs) No, but my family might say otherwise. No I?mkidding.

Gaynor Flynn: After the Lost thing, has your life changeddramatically?

Maggie Grace: Not really. I try to keep everything on an even keel. I want to be in this business for the long haul, so Itry not to get caught up in what?s popular or what?snot right now because those things are fickle. I justwant to do good work I?m proud of.

Gaynor Flynn: Do you have a career plan?

Maggie Grace: Well not so much a plan, but I?m a big fan of lists. And I like to make lists of people I want to work withand of course there are vague ideas of certain genresI want to do. I?d love to do a really great adaptationand a historical drama some day. I?ve got a soft spotfor them.

Gaynor Flynn: What have you got coming up?

Maggie Grace: Well the ink hasn?t dried and I don?t want to jinx itand its really dark and really lovely. Its exciting.Hopefully everything will work out.


Cast: Kathy Baker, Maria Bello, Hugh Dancy, Emily Blunt, Marc Blucas
Director: Robin Swicord
Genre: Comedy/Drama

Six Californians meet on a monthly basis to discuss the novels of Jane Austen, one at a time. As they debate Marianne?s marriage to Brandon and whether or not Charlotte Lucas is gay, they reveal nothing so much as their own 'private Austen(s).' Based on the critically acclaimed novel of the same name by Karen Jay Fowler.