‘The Protege’ Director Martin Campbell Wanted to Make a Believable ‘Female Assassin Movie’ (Exclusive)

The Protege, a sleek new action-thriller from Lionsgate, opens in theaters on Friday. The film’s director Martin Campbell recently shared that he signed on to the movie because he really wanted to make a believable film about a female assassin. Speaking to PopCulture.com in an exclusive interview, Campbell said that with most female-driven action films, he just “doesn’t believe that the women could beat the hell out of 10 guys.” He then added how he feels the same way about most male-driven action films as well.

Campbell praised The Protege star Maggie Q and shared how her casting was crucial in making the film’s action feel plausible. “So that our job was to really try and make it convincing that when she dished out, you really believed it,” he said. That she could actually do this. And I think you do. I think that’s what’s so good.” Campbell said that Maggie Q is completely “equal” to Michael Keaton’s character, who plays a rival assassin. “They’re both kind of almost equal stature in those terms,” Campbell said, “but she gives as good as she gets.”

In The Protege, Maggie Q plays Anna Dutton, a woman raised to be an assassin by Samuel L. Jackson’s Moody Dutton, who rescued her from a Vietnamese gang when she was a child. Now an effective and meticulous killer, Anna is forced to track down her adoptive father’s killers. The bloody and bullet-filled journey brings her face-to-face with Keaton’s Michael Rembrandt, a fellow hired hand who guns for Anna in more ways than one.

The film is an intense and violent R-rated action film, and Campbell explained that this was always the plan. “The thing is that the script was always very tight. It was a tight script,” he said. “The characters were great. The story was interesting. It had all the elements to make it good.”

He went on to say that they “pretty much” filmed the entire movie “as was written.” The director added, ” It was always designed like that…to be an entertainment, to be fast, fast and furious…that was the point. In addition to Maggie Q, Jackson, and Keaton, The Protege also stars Robert Patrick, Patrick Malahide, David Rintoul, Ori Pfeffer, Ray Fearon, and Caroline Loncq. It opens in theaters on Friday, Aug. 20, with some theaters hosting Thursday night showings on Aug. 19.

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