Determination to land Hunter role pays off
Melissa George was so determined to get the role of Samantha Hunter in the BBC spy drama Hunted that before she even had the job, she told her family and friends she would be spending half of last year filming in London and Morocco.
‘‘They were like: ‘You got the job?’ And I had to say: ‘No, not yet’, but luckily they gave it to me,’’ the 36-year-old Australian says. ‘‘But I fought hard for it. ‘‘When you hear you’re up against an actress from the Netherlands, one from France and one from Sweden, you realise you have no control over your destiny. You can only do your best.’’
The series follows a spy who returns to duty after an attempt on her life she suspects was planned by someone within her own agency. It was created by Frank Spotnitz, the writerproducer of The X Files.
The role, George says, was physically demanding, with extensive fight scenes and George performing most of her own stunts. ‘‘I was dreading the action [scenes], because I don’t like to feel the pain,’’ she says, ‘‘but at the same time, if you want to commit to a part, it’s the only way, otherwise you come off looking like a fraud and I’m just not interested in that any more.’’
While the BBC has announced it will not air a second season, US broadcaster Cinemax stepped into the breach, announcing plans to reboot the show.
George says she would happily return, but would equally be happy with another exotic filming location.
‘‘I met the love of my life [French businessman Jean-David Blanc] filming in London,’’ she says.
‘‘I always look at these things and say: ‘What is it going to bring me?’ And, obviously, I was meant to be there.’’
George is still basking in the afterglow of The Slap, the awardwinning ABC drama based on Christos Tsiolkas’ novel.
Her performance as Rosie drew wide acclaim.
‘‘I’ve been waiting my entire life to come back and change people’s minds about Home and Away,’’ she says.
‘‘Not taking anything away from that, but if somebody gives you something in life, you use it.
’’My real pleasure and my real sense of accomplishment are when Australia recognises me,’’ she says.
‘‘It’s great that people talk about The Slap. It was an outstanding piece of work.’’
Her Silver Logie Awards, which she won in 1994 and 1995 for her work on Home and Away and in 2012 for her work on The Slap, sit in her Paris apartment.
‘‘They get a polish every week,’’ she says. ‘‘I am living in the 8th [arrondissement, a suburb of Paris], but they are my piece of Australia.’’
Hunted, 8.30pm, Sundays, SoHo.
Spy hard: Actor Melissa George was determined to get the lead role in Hunted.