Melissa George made quite an impression on Alias fans (and Sydney Bristow's face) when she joined the show in season three as an adversary for Michael Vaughn's heart. Now, almost a decade later, "Lauren Reed" is getting back in the spy game with Cinemax's new series, Hunted -- but this time, Melissa's playing the good guy!
In the 8-episode series, Melissa plays Sam, an espionage operative for a private intelligence agency (shades of SD-6 abound) who goes on the defensive after it appears her own people tried to kill her! But Sam's working with a dual purpose as well since she using the agency's resources to try and track down the man who murdered her mother years earlier.
I caught up with Melissa to talk about returning to this genre, the physical toll Hunted's action scenes took on her and why this is the show Alias fans have been waiting for!
TheInsider.com: What attracted you to this role?
Melissa George: I was so invested in this role from the minute I read it – it's not just a role, I am so in love with this woman, I just had to play her. I went on a crazy journey for five months to get the role, and when I was told I was hired, I was so nonchalant about it. I knew I was meant to play this part. I fell in love with the journey of what happened to her as a child – and the fact that she's out to find the guy who killed her mother. It's almost like being a spy is a hobby because she's more interested in finding out what happened to her mother, so it's like she's got two jobs. I love seeing those two parallel journeys play out in such complimentary ways.
Insider.com: How much of the stunt work is actually you?
Melissa: The kicking ass was all me, 100 percent. If I couldn't film it physically, they wouldn't shoot it. It wasn't about choreography since Sam is fighting for her life. So the [directors] would tell me what they wanted and I would get in the scene and just fight for my life. I tried to make it as real and gritty as possible. Nothing glossy – just real.
Insider.com: What kind of training did you do?
Melissa: It wasn't about learning how to fight because, as Sam, I don't know what move I'm going to have to pull out next to save my life. So I didn't want them to train me how to do fancy moves. We trained my core to be so strong that I can fight off whatever was thrown at me. I did a lot of pushing carts, pulling blocks of metal, weights and throwing steel balls -- more like gladiator training. It was all about making sure my bones and strength were there and ready to go. I was mental, by the end, the stunt guys were like, "Don't f*ck with her!"
Insider.com: What kind of toll did filming this show take on you?
Melissa: I'm still hobbling around now. My left hip, my right hand. I'm very depleted. I finished in May, and it's July? I haven't even read another script. Acting? What? No. [laughs] I'm only now getting my mojo back. It was 7 months of something so special, and I didn't want to jump into something else. I wanted to soak in it.
Insider.com: Are you ready for the Alias comparisons?
Melissa: Absolutely. And I think the [producers] saw a bit of Lauren Reed on Alias and thought I could be great for this. Although, Sam is a little nicer. I don't murder anyone's husband [laughs]. Obviously they knew I could do this physically and emotionally with a sense of grace. You don't want to be such a toughie that the character has no heart or warmth as a woman. You want a little combination of that and I think Lauren Reed had that. When I was on Alias, the days I wasn't in scenes, I was still on set. I wanted to be around that energy – I love that spy world.
Hunted premieres this October on Cinemax.