“Maggie” at its core is a film about a father protecting his daughter and in a departure for the zombie genre, the true horror and suspense in the drama lays not so much in the blood, brains and gore of the walking dead, but rather in the dark reality of caring for a child or loved one whose terminal illness or behavior make them a danger to themselves and their family – and eventually confronting the even darker choices that behavior presents to anguished, loving parents.
In the movie, the unimaginable choice Wade (Schwarzenegger) faces is profoundly soul-wrecking: Maggie (Breslin) is not just his first child and oldest daughter, she is the only child he had with his late, first wife. As Maggie deteriorates and Wade steadfastly remains at her side, he soon realizes the only way he can truly protect his precious child is to end her misery – but how can he kill his own daughter?
“After my daughter Maggie, played by Abigail, is bitten, she makes the conscious decision to run away to protect the rest of us. I, as a father, make more of an instinctual decision to find her and save her. Any father knows that the instinct to protect your children is real, so it will resonate with them. It leaves you asking yourself, ‘What would I do?’ and it isn’t an easy answer - the tears you see are real,” shares Schwarzenegger.
“This is the most human zombie film you have ever seen”, said Schwarzenegger, “and it’s the most human role you’ve ever seen me take on, and I’m proud of it. I think we produced an emotional, suspenseful film that will surprise and touch audiences.” As it turns out, the larger-than-life sports icon, movie star and former governor of California was ready for the next chapter in his remarkable life and was interested in the role of Wade Vogel.
Producer Matthew Baer sees the role as a turning point in Schwarzenegger’s acting career. “Arnold’s onscreen transformation and appearance will surprise a lot of people,” said Baer. “Just the notion that for all his size and physical strength this man still can’t protect his daughter, his little girl, from harm is interesting to watch. He’s working with a first time screenwriter and a first time director and taking a chance with young talent, which I think speaks to how much he believes in this family story and what it says about humanity.”
According to Breslin, Schwarzenegger’s performance of the protective, physically intimidating, but emotionally ravaged father will surprise a lot of people. “People are shocked when they hear he’s playing this character in this film, but once they see it, they’ll see he’s perfect in it and plays it so well I can’t imagine anyone else in the role,” she said. “We play well off each other. He brings emotions out of me, which is what you want and hope for in a co-star, which is helpful. A lot of our scenes are really emotional and intense, so it’s good to have someone who can tap into that, which he does. I’m very proud of what we did together and how it turned out.”
“Maggie” opens May 13 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.
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