Though only 36, Australian actress Melissa George has been a fixture on our screens from her days in Home and Away in the 1990s, through to The Slap last year. Now she’s back in Hunted (Thursday, October 4), a new BBC1 high-octane Spooks-styled thriller set in the murky world of industrial espionage.
TV&Satellite Week magazine caught up with her to find out more…
You play the lead role of spy Sam Hunter. What’s she like?
“She’s a very good spy. She is very strong, but she is also vulnerable. She’s had a troubled past, and has been through a lot, but she can’t show that vulnerability in front of her colleagues.”
The series begins with her pitched right into the action…
“Yes, you see her in Morocco at the top of her game, where she uses her sexuality a little bit. But then, why not? Although she’s very good at what she does, you see her there on a mission that goes terribly wrong.”
As well as Morocco, you also filmed in London, didn’t you?
“Yes, I love filming in London. It’s got that blue-grey look to it. That’s my favourite colour palette, it makes me look beautiful.”
This is a co-production between the BBC and US TV; do you think that gives it a different feel?
“Yes, it’s where the best elements of British television meet the best of American. It’s got the integrity of a British drama, but with American pace.”
When you’re offered a role like this, what do you look for before accepting it?
“There are two things. When you take on a TV role you have to think that it might go on for a long while and so you have to think whether you love the character enough to live with her potentially for the next five years.”
And the other thing?
“In my own life I’m a loving sister, daughter and girlfriend. If I’m doing that anyway in my life, I don’t want to play it when I’m working. I get off on playing complex leading ladies like the ones in The Slap and In Treatment because that’s not who I am in my own life. So I wanted something that allowed me to do that and combine it with something with action like Alias, because I loved doing that show.”
You do your own stunts here, did you hurt yourself at all?
“The action scenes in Hunted are violent and brutal and I did a lot of wear and tear on my hip and wrist, but I did more damage to the stunt people. The idea was not to touch them, but I gave one a split lip by mistake, which made me feel bad. I have muscles like Popeye now. It’s not very feminine so I wear long sleeves a lot.”
Are you happy to see yourself as the go-to-girl when there’s an action role being cast?
“I get cast a lot in action stuff, because not a lot of others girls do it. I never get the girl next door role. I like Downton Abbey, but I doubt anyone else sees me as right for that.”
Hunted screens on BBC1 on Thursday, October 4 at 9pm