Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a parent more than the abduction of a child. In the thriller Taken, a former CIA operative (Liam Neeson) must outwit an Albanian criminal organization in order to recover his 17-year-old daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace).

She is kidnapped along with her best friend while vacationing in Paris. However, before she is taken, Kim manages to give her father some pertinent information about her abductors; information that he uses to track his daughter down and free her from the illegal sex trade.

This riveting story comes – in part – from the mind of co-writer Luc Besson (The Transporter). The French phenom has contributed to a successful assortment of films exploring father-daughter relationships throughout the years. Movies like The Professional and Wasabi have wowed the international film community, and Taken hopes to expound upon that legacy.

Aside from Besson’s attachment to the project, Taken is directed by Pierre Morel. The auteur has etched out a career that has displayed his talents as a cinematographer for films like Love and Other Disasters. However, he is no less gifted in his role as director.

But perhaps the most noted aspect of this Euro-thriller is actress Maggie Grace. The 25 year old steps into the role of Kim with a powerful intensity. She looks at her character with a youthful perspective – enabling her to add numerous layers to the role.

“Kim is a true ingenue,” she says, “very sheltered and innocent, and really wants to understand her father and his intermittent absence from her life thus far.”

Her awe of the parent-child relationship was also integral to her performance.

“I think it’s truly amazing what people will do for their children. There is a myriad of real-life stories that attest to this. It is so visceral and really drives the film.”

Grace feels fortunate to have performed with Neeson in this action-packed drama. She also applauds his generosity as an actor.

“[Neeson] was all goodness and light,” she jokes. “Seriously, he was lovely and quite protective in actuality as well. It can be terrifying to meet people you admire, let alone work with them, and he is as gracious as can be.”

The actress and her onscreen dad even found that they had more in common than initially expected.

“Liam and I figured out that my family, several members of whom are charmingly obsessed with our Irish heritage, is from the same tiny town in Northern Ireland that he is from,” explains Grace. “He knew families with the same last names, etc. So remotely, it’s possible we are related in reality.”

While Taken provided Grace with a wonderful experience as a young actress, she still looks forward to working with other Hollywood elite. Among the directors whose work is an inspiration to her are Danny Boyle, Todd Field, Darren Aronofsky. She would also love to act with Helen Mirren and Emma Thompson.

And even though Grace has made great strides in her career with roles as Shannon Rutherford on ABC’s “Lost” and as Allegra in the romantic comedy The Jane Austen Book Club, she still jokes about being a down-to-earth girl through it all.

“Today I landed a 19-inch rainbow trout on the Baker River all by myself,” she says. “I feel like this is important info for as many people as will listen, kind of like a kid that wants to put the new finger-painting masterpiece on the fridge.”

Taken releases in theaters Jan. 30.