Jennifer Beals Reveals 11 Things About Her Taken Character

Christina Hart takes an interest in Bryan Mills, a man with a particular set of skills.

by | February 24, 2017 | Comments

If anyone ever goes missing, Bryan Mills is the one to call. Liam Neeson played Bryan in the three Taken movies. In NBC’s Taken TV series, created by Homeland writer Alex Cary, Clive Standen plays a young Bryan Mills early in his career as a rescuer.

Bryan blips on the radar of National Intelligence when he foils a train hijacking, although it costs him his sister’s life in the crossfire.

Jennifer Beals plays Christina Hart, who recruits Bryan to put his very particular set of skills to use on a national scale.

Beals spoke with Rotten Tomatoes recently ahead of the Taken premiere. Here are 11 things she revealed about her brand new character in the world of Taken.


Bryan was a lone wolf in the Taken movies, but he came from a background of elite teamwork. Christina is instrumental in teaching Bryan to work together.

“I think she needs to teach him discipline certainly,” Beals said. “He needs to learn how to work with a team. In the beginning, he’s not a very astute team player, but he learns eventually.”


This is not a movie. Taken has an episode to do every week, so it will take more than one mission for Bryan to really learn the lesson.

“He gets the lesson and forgets the lesson, he gets the lesson, he forgets the lesson,” Beals said. “We’re working on repeating the positive outcome.”


Taken is pulling back the curtain on Bryan Mills’ mysterious past, but behind his curtain there’s Christina’s curtain. Beals has inferred a little bit on her own.

“We don’t get a lot of her backstory yet,” Beals said. “I have no doubt that she thinks she’s the smartest person in the room nine times out of 10. Every now and again she’ll meet that person who she wants to learn from or study with, I guess. She’s got some issues in that regard.”


The whole point of the Taken movies was that Bryan screwed up his family, but he was the one they needed in a crisis. Beals suspects Christina may have sacrificed her personal life for the agency. Of course, the needs of a weekly show probably mean retirement is not in her future.

“I think this is somebody who has taken this job at great personal sacrifice and is beginning to long for a life outside the agency,” Beals said. “We’ll see what happens. I don’t know that she could ever really leave, but maybe she can create something else for herself and try to create a life that could be in tandem with her chosen profession.”


When Beals appears in the premiere of Taken, she’s a confident, tough-as-nails boss. It may be surprising to see her become vulnerable in only the second episode. It certainly surprised Beals when Christina’s relationship with a former agent proved to be so emotional.

“That’s a very vulnerable episode,” Beals said. “It was interesting because it wasn’t how I had imagined her originally. When Alex started talking to me about the relationship that I had with this other agent, I thought it was interesting to reveal you may have tried to harden yourself to get through the day knowing all the things that you know about security. When you lose someone or when someone is taken from you, it’s still painful. It doesn’t mean that you’ve lost your heart. It’s still there somewhere.”


Tune in for Bryan Mills. Stay for the rest of the team, including John (Gaius Charles), Scott (Michael Irby), Vlasik (Monique Gabriela Curnen), and Riley (Jennifer Marsala). Christina knows how to get the best out of her agents and use them strategically together.

“We have our black ops team who does the action, which is a group of predominantly men, but I have one gal on the team who is a total badass,” Beals said. “Then we have our team at the office who is coordinating everything electronically.”


Christina also embodies good leadership. She doesn’t tell her team members what to do. She allows them to contribute their unique skills.

“It doesn’t feel powerful in that I’m the authority,” Beals said. “It feels powerful in that I’m trying to empower other people to be the very best they can be — that’s when I know I’m doing a good job as a leader. You kind of stay out of the way a little bit at times, to let them have the conversation, to let them see if they can figure out what the strategy is without me dictating.”


Taken is not a documentary on intelligence work. It’s action-packed entertainment, but there is a basis in truth. Because of the nature of intelligence work, many of the recruits have to be specially trained to follow the rules.

“What I was surprised by when I was reading some of the material — and what I didn’t think about was — people who come to the intelligence community often have an issue with authority,” Beals said. “So in combination with the fact that they are naturally secretive, to organize the agency is very hard. How do you get people to come forward with what they know and trust you as an authority figure to organize the agency? It becomes quite a difficult task.”


Part of Beals’ research included learning the technical jargon of intelligence work. She really had to cram because she was cast less than a week before filming.

“Yes, there’s a lot of technical jargon,” Beals said. “You’re really having to learn the lexicon of that world.

“I was cast at the last second, and I was given a small truckload of reading to do by Alex Graves who directed our pilot, who’s a friend. He directed the pilot on Proof, a show that I did for TNT. He and I are friends, and I trust him completely, and I said, ‘OK, I’ve got to go shoot in five days. I know that you have a reading list that you refer to. Tell me, what do you want me to read right now?’”


Christina’s day-to-day duties are to manage the team. They can be the ones fighting bad guys in close quarters and shooting guns. When Christina does spring into action, nobody better mess with her.

“I was in a stunt where a car flips upside down, and I’m supposed to get out of the car and pull my fellow actor out of a burning car,” Beals said. “The car was only supposed to be burning on the top, and I asked if there was going to be anything inside the car. They said, ‘No, there won’t be any flames or anything inside the car.’ When I went to go pull this person out of the car, the interior of the car burst into flames. That was completely unexpected, and we just rolled with it, and I pulled the person out of the car as quickly as I possibly could.”


Even more impressive than the car stunt, Beals actually helped save a life for real. Because she’s played doctors on shows like Proof and The Night Shift, she knew what to do when she drove by an automobile accident. She said the driver did not know she was the Jennifer Beals of movies and television.

“When we were shooting Taken, I was on the freeway, and I came across a truck that had flipped over. I was the third person at the scene of the accident. The driver had crawled out of the truck, and his head was bleeding, and he was obviously disoriented. I ran out of my car with a bottle of water. I applied pressure to the wound, and I got on the phone and got the medics there, but in the meantime was sitting there picking glass out of the wound. These guys came and had an emergency medical kit in their car. He was OK. He was fine. I gave him some water and cleaned up his wound a bit, then the paramedics did all the real work afterwards.”

Taken premieres Monday, February 27 at 10 p.m. on NBC. Read our interview with Clive Standen here.

Tag Cloud

Binge Guide Sci-Fi cars ABC Family Paramount Network Reality Competition sitcom Bravo A24 war Peacock spy thriller Fantasy disaster based on movie game show Nickelodeon cats Tomatazos Winners Summer FOX Apple TV Plus Emmys revenge The Arrangement Logo kids IFC Films Marvel adaptation Endgame award winner Nat Geo Video Games romantic comedy Disney streaming service festivals AMC Showtime VH1 Epix comics Ovation green book NYCC Mystery BET cooking spinoff Mary poppins Music south america Turner Classic Movies foreign dragons Sundance Musical Mindy Kaling Apple TV+ Disney travel USA Amazon Prime Video 2018 Superheroe streaming spanish language Hallmark Christmas movies CBS All Access Pop Brie Larson Infographic casting facebook blockbuster stand-up comedy SDCC FXX Family Women's History Month Cartoon Network 20th Century Fox WarnerMedia Marvel Studios 2017 Valentine's Day series YouTube Calendar Shondaland El Rey Apple RT History History Election miniseries Comedy Central adventure LGBTQ Hallmark Set visit Photos book supernatural comiccon 2015 joker reboot canceled theme song Sony Pictures MTV Disney Channel discovery Year in Review doctor who HBO Max Oscars versus cinemax mockumentary sag awards Starz Western Netflix Christmas movies docudrama spider-man PBS 007 Amazon BBC America Chilling Adventures of Sabrina GLAAD YA crime Baby Yoda canceled TV shows Classic Film werewolf Academy Awards TV Comic Book Arrowverse Universal Box Office psychological thriller Certified Fresh DC Universe Acorn TV TIFF 2016 Biopics Comics on TV Holiday animated Mary Poppins Returns YouTube Premium 71st Emmy Awards Lionsgate zombie anthology Tubi Avengers social media period drama Heroines halloween indie robots Character Guide screen actors guild Crackle vampires The CW transformers Masterpiece spain MSNBC Cosplay Creative Arts Emmys zombies Winter TV Esquire Opinion CW Seed crossover Rocketman E! X-Men Star Trek Schedule CBS Shudder crime thriller TCM anime MCU Cannes Thanksgiving political drama cancelled television Country Lucasfilm LGBT thriller Elton John YouTube Red Trailer Teen what to watch unscripted Spring TV Watching Series natural history Countdown 2019 Pet Sematary Quiz technology Crunchyroll cancelled binge DGA elevated horror Dark Horse Comics Black Mirror cults Song of Ice and Fire talk show Emmy Nominations screenings First Reviews Film independent Interview sequel GIFs Pride Month Vudu President WGN game of thrones latino singing competition Rom-Com Kids & Family psycho Awards Tour Freeform historical drama tv talk HBO NBC TLC Marvel Television Pirates Amazon Prime TruTV Toys Horror batman The Purge TV Land comic movies ESPN Food Network Columbia Pictures name the review dramedy breaking bad Sundance TV strong female leads Reality Nominations The Walking Dead Pixar Best and Worst Lifetime Christmas movies TNT Premiere Dates Grammys renewed TV shows sports Chernobyl APB Ellie Kemper crime drama Trivia Rocky Podcast See It Skip It OWN TCA 2017 Spike 21st Century Fox FX USA Network Musicals Writers Guild of America DirecTV biography First Look Holidays cancelled TV shows Netflix Stephen King Anna Paquin medical drama television New York Comic Con finale A&E Disney+ Disney Plus GoT Adult Swim rotten movies we love TCA quibi Star Wars Turner BBC The Witch VICE cancelled TV series National Geographic dceu aliens Discovery Channel politics PaleyFest Polls and Games free movies romance Ghostbusters mutant SundanceTV witnail Sundance Now Paramount E3 Spectrum Originals San Diego Comic-Con ABC Superheroes Marathons zero dark thirty cops jamie lee curtis Mudbound Walt Disney Pictures TCA Winter 2020 hist Tumblr police drama ratings slashers Super Bowl Syfy Fox News serial killer 24 frames Christmas TBS dc Film Festival Fall TV Tarantino CNN Television Academy Red Carpet Britbox christmas movies OneApp SXSW golden globes Martial Arts cartoon boxoffice true crime Rock Mary Tyler Moore composers TV renewals video 45 Captain marvel DC Comics science fiction teaser Disney Plus harry potter hispanic Comedy Action ghosts American Society of Cinematographers Extras DC streaming service nature Trophy Talk directors Awards CMT Drama toy story Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ITV Warner Bros. blaxploitation 2020 space Animation richard e. Grant Lifetime RT21 justice league children's TV diversity Sneak Peek Hulu IFC