Maggie Q and Mekhi Phifer talked DIVERGENT With Boston Hearld about their role in the Divergent movie. Check out their interview below:
Question du jour: In a battle to the death between “Hunger Games’” heroine Katniss Everdeen and “Divergent’s” Tris Prior, who would kick butt?
“Wow, that’s a really good question,” “Divergent” star Mekhi Phifer told the Track. “Tris is still training in this one, and Katniss, if you look at the second ‘Hunger Games,’ she’s badass! She’s a sure shot with that bow and arrow.”
In case you haven’t caught up on your reading, Tris is the main character in “Divergent,” the latest young adult novel to hit the big screen. Set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago, Tris leads a band of revolutionaries in a battle against an evil, corrupt government that will stop at nothing to stay in power. (Stop us if you’ve heard this before …)
In the world of “Divergent,” the populace is separated into factions, based on abilities. Tris, played by Jennifer Lawrence look-alike Shailene Woodley, chooses Dauntless — the dystopian society’s muscle. But in reality she is a Divergent, a personality that does not belong to any particular group, and hence, a target for elimination.
Phifer plays Max, the evil head of Dauntless, and co-star Maggie Q is Tori, a Dauntless rebel and Tris’ fellow Divergent.
“What I like about this film is Tris’ journey,” said Maggie, a model, martial arts expert and “Mission: Impossible III” star who was in town with Phifer yesterday to promote the flick. “As a 16-year-old you would be trying to find your way and that’s exactly what she’s doing in this film. She’s afraid, and she’s brave. She’s up, she’s down, she’s tireless, she’s making mistakes. She believes in things and is being betrayed, and isn’t that the journey of a young person?”
Hollywood is hoping that journey registers with the young — specifically the teenage girls who made the “Hunger Games” flicks box-office blockbusters. After a string of young-adult series that bombed on the big screen (See “Beautiful Creatures,” “Vampire Academy”), the hopes and dreams of a pack of studio execs are riding on the flick’s March 21 opening.
“I don’t really feel under pressure because, for one thing, we have a really good film,” Phifer said. “It’s an adaptation of the book, so I think fans of the book will appreciate it — and we’ve heard people say they like the movie better than the book.”
Phifer — who had a long run on “E.R.” and currently plays playah Dre on Showtime’s “House of Lies” — and Maggie, who trained in martial arts with kung fu master Jackie Chan, are more than a little Dauntless in real life.
“I grew up in Harlem but I had the best of both worlds,” Phifer said. “My mother was a school teacher but I was also a product of my environment, so I had the street aspect as well. So I had to be sort of dauntless and brave not to become a victim of the environment and still prosper and make it in life.”
As for Maggie, she can flat out kick butt — even if she rarely caught any praise from Chan.
“Working under him was hard, nothing was good enough,” she said. “But that was great training.”
And like their fictional counterparts, both have tattoos. Phifer has “Harlem” on his arm — an homage to his hometown. Maggie is inked pretty much everywhere.
“I’m one of those people,” she said, laughing.
But as tough as they are, the actors — who are in town for three days — confessed they had no plans to brave the frigid outdoors.
“Oh, we’re not leaving the hotel,” said Maggie. “We’re not going anywhere.”