De­ter­mi­na­tion to land Hunter role pays off

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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.

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