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Just a `crazy dog lady'

June 17, 2007|Choire Sicha | Special to The Times

MAGGIE Q was born in Honolulu, went to work as a model and an actor in Hong Kong and Japan, and then returned to the U.S. She recently wrapped shooting on "Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon" and last year appeared in "Mission: Impossible III." She'll appear all over the world starting June 27 in "Live Free or Die Hard," the fourth edition in the Bruce Willis action franchise.

You're packing for a lengthy press tour in Asia. So what are you bringing to read?

I just finished a book by a wonderful author called Philippa Gregory. Historical fiction books -- about 14th, 15th century life at court, the Tudors. Everything is very real as far as the facts go, but she fictionalized what went on between the kings and queens. I'm sort of addicted! I just finished one of those, and now I'm finishing the "His Dark Materials" series. I know the first movie's coming out soon so now I finished the third one, even though that movie won't be coming out for 10 years.

Do you have to think up interesting but safe stories to tell all the press people?

Yeah! You know, what's funny, I worked with some pretty entertaining people on this movie. So there'll be tidbits. But the one question I hate the most is: "Tell me something we didn't know about the huge star you just worked with." Uh, if they wanted to tell you, they'd tell you! I'm not going to tell you something about Bruce Willis!

And now you spend much time in Los Angeles? Is L.A. weirder than Tokyo?

I do, this is my home now, though I'm back in Asia a lot. I live here -- wherever my dogs are. All my dogs. It's funny -- you know when you are out on a date with someone you don't really like, so suddenly you're really busy. But if it's someone you liked, you have the time. That's how I am with my dogs. I have seven.

Uh, are they ... small?

One of them is a Chihuahua. Two German shepherds, a pit, and three mongrels. Crazy. I'm the crazy dog lady. They're all rescues. Each one of them is a serendipitous, wonderful thing that happened in my life.

And is the world smaller for those who grow up in Hawaii? Or larger?

It was larger for me because my world was so small. One of those things where things are so small you have to think big. That was me. I was a little girl in a big world.

Mililani, where you grew up, seems to be growing extremely fast.

I just drove through there. It was expanding when I was young -- it's like tripled, quadrupled. I don't recognize it anymore. When that town started getting bigger, my family went back to a smaller community. We moved back to the beach. There's a big battle going on in Hawaii. People go on vacation there, and then they leave and go home. They don't know about the struggles of the local people. The local people are against and upset about the development on Oahu. They want to keep the country country. I hope it doesn't expand to where we can't even support how many people will be living on the island anymore.

You've worked with Tom Cruise, who's sort of the Andy Lau of the West. So what's Andy like?

You know what's interesting about Asian stars -- I guess maybe because my experience is largely with Asian stars -- I feel like people who are as big as Andy is in Asia, they don't lend themselves to letting you know who they are. It's work. You don't have intimate conversations like you do on all American sets. There, they're a mystery. I've worked with him a few times, and I can't say I know him well. He's very kind, I'll say that. And he looks friggin' great for his age (45). Just like Tom (44)!

When Googling you, the word "exotic" comes up a few times. Is there a special place in hell for those who refer to you thusly?

For sure! It sounds like I belong in a lizard community on the edge of a remote cliff. It's funny when people want to compartmentalize what they feel from you. When you know yourself, you don't find yourself exotic -- or hugely interesting. Sexy, exotic -- it's always really weird for me.

These days L.A. seems like a city cowering under three huge giants named Lindsay, Britney and Paris. It sounds so scary!

It's so not, though! These three or four people that are always written about and have nothing to do with L.A. life. In the morning I take the dogs hiking, and go and have my breakfast. I don't see that other side of L.A. You have to chose that L.A. lifestyle. I don't have any problems with those things because I don't go out. How to avoid drugs and alcohol? Hmm! Go to a club? The lucky thing for me is I entered the entertainment industry in Asia, and I was there for 10 years: Weirdness and ups and downs and articles and partying -- and I'm done. It's wonderful. I'm an adult. I wake up in the morning with my animals and enjoy life.

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