“It’s like the female “Bourne” in many ways, because as Jason Bourne is looking for his identity, she [Sam Hunter] is looking for revenge,” says Melissa George when asked how her new spy thriller “Hunted” compares to others in the genre.
She plays a British operative for Byzantium, a covert private intelligence agency. After an attempt on her life, Hunter goes into exile for a year before returning to plot her revenge against those who conspired to have her killed. Working undercover as an American nanny, she pieces the mystery together while struggling with her own demons from a childhood tragedy.
“Hunted” is much darker and more cerebral than series such as “Alias,” on which George guested, and “Covert Affairs.” George speaks glowingly of the show’s pilot, in which series creator and showrunner Frank Spotnitz (“The X-Files”) did away with a lot of dialogue. “The camera photographs thought, and we just wanted to take the audience on a journey,” explains George, adding, “we let people see what they want to see in this woman and figure her out without explaining it all to them in words.”
Apart from the physical demands, the biggest challenge for George is the many accents she must master. “Well, you’re shooting a show in London, so English people are going to be watching. It’s going to be airing in America, so Americans are going to be watching. So you don’t want to sound half American and half English,” says George. “I really had to be very focused on every single word that came out of my mouth. The thing is, it is not just how the words sound or the vowels sound, it is how you say them. It’s hard enough trying to figure out the intention of a scene but also think about the sound of the words.”
“Hunted” is a UK-US co-production, airing on BBC One and Cinemax. That paycaster has been eagerly promoting the show, hoping that it might pay dividends next month when the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. (HFPA) and SAG voters unveil their nominations. George recalls how well it went over with Globe voters: “They watched, literally, five episodes back to back over the weekend, and I said ‘Really?! That’s five hours of television!’ and they were like ‘Oh, we love it!'”
George is no stranger to the Golden Globes, having been nominated in 2009 in the catch-all Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Made for Television Movie for her role on HBO’s “In Treatment” (Laura Dern won for “Recount”).
And she has been a regular on the circuit this year for her multi-award winning role on the Australian smash hit series “The Slap,” which was recently honored with multiple citations at the Monte Carlo Television Festival and is currently nominated for an International Emmy Award for Best Drama Series.