Takenstar Maggie Grace is on the rise -- and on the move. By Laura Kostelny
MAGGIE GRACE has decidedly more grown-up concerns than many people her age. Though most 25-year-olds are wading through low-level jobs and trying to make rent, Grace has been busy selling her house in Hawaii (which she purchased while filming her breakout role on Lost) and doing big-screen work with big-name actors in far-off locations.
Grace’s work has taken her a long way from Worthington, Ohio, the small suburb of Columbus where she was born and raised (and where her parents still live). She was just a teenager when she left her hometown for the West Coast, and once there, she appeared on a number of TV shows before being offered the part of Shannon Rutherford on Lost. Though she hadn’t seen a script before she accepted the job, young Grace was savvy enough to know that any project created by J.J. Abrams is worth a roll of the dice. “It was purely based on faith,” she says.
The gamble obviously paid off, as Lost quickly became one of the highest-rated shows on television. But filming such a mysterious show came with a unique set of challenges. “[Writers Damon Lindelof, Jeffrey Lieber, and Abrams] were writing as they went along. A lot of times, we would get new scenes the night before we’d shoot, so a lot would change as we went along,” she says.
Those last-minute changes often included the fate of the characters, and Grace’s Shannon was killed off the show in 2005. Though her days of shooting in a tropical paradise were over (save for a guest appearance on Lost in 2007), she had little time to lament, as before long, she was off to Paris to film Taken, a Luc Besson–helmed thriller that hits theaters this month. Grace had no qualms about some of the darker themes the film deals with -- her character is kidnapped and sold into a slave trade -- but she was nervous about working alongside Hollywood heavyweights like Liam Neeson, who plays her father. Thankfully, Neeson proved a kind and considerate costar.
“My fears were quelled right away,” Grace says. “He’s so wonderful.”
Once shooting wrapped, Grace went to London to work on Malice in Wonderland, a dark take on the Lewis Carroll classic Alice in Wonderland. “I was the only American in the cast,” says Grace, who had trouble shaking her slight British accent after filming was completed. As the name of the project suggests, viewers shouldn’t expect any Disney fairy tales. “It’s a modern-day twist on the tale, with adult themes,” she explains. “It’s definitely not for kids.”
For now, Grace is catching her breath between projects -- she’ll be in New Mexico later this year to film her next movie, a heist film called Catch .44. With this little bit of downtime, she can finally take a moment to reflect on her success from the comfort of her house in Los Angeles. It’s a long way from suburban Ohio, but it’s starting to feel like home.
Globe-trotting GracefullyMaggie Grace is quickly becoming an expert traveler, thanks to several on-location assignments and international vacations. We asked her to share her favorite flying tips and must-haves.
• Maggie Grace avoids puffy eyes by using her “killer” eye pillow. It works like a charm, even though, she says, “I look like a dork.”
• Silence is golden for Grace, so don’t expect to strike up a conversation if you’re her seatmate. “I always wear earplugs,” she says.
• Forget stilettos; comfort is key. “I wear a supercomfortable outfit,” she says.
• Grace gets through long flights with the help of a good book. “Jane Austen is a perennial favorite,” she says. “I also try to pair reading with my travel. I spent three weeks in Argentina and read a lot of Jorge Luis Borges.”
• When she needs some shut-eye, Grace turns on the tunes. “I create airplane playlists,” she says. “They help me fall asleep.”
• Packing light makes for stress-free flying. “It’s my personal challenge to see how many countries I can do solely with a carry-on,” she says.