Melissa George agrees that in a sense, she’s revisiting one of her past television projects with her newest one.
Largely known for grueling roles in movies that have become cable staples (“30 Days of Night,” “Triangle,” “A Lonely Place to Die”), the actress did a stint on ABC’s “Alias” as traitorous spy Lauren Reed. She’ll be back in the world of espionage as private-security operative Sam Hunter — on the run across Europe while seeking whoever tried to kill her — in Cinemax’s original series “Hunted,” premiering Friday, Oct. 19.
“It was down to Jennifer [Garner] and me for ‘Alias’ a long time ago, and I really wanted it,” George tells Zap2it while resting up from the demanding “Hunted” shoot on vacation in Corsica. “Then I got ‘Thieves,’ which was on the same network. They put me on that when I didn’t get ‘Alias’ … and then, of course, ‘Thieves’ got canceled.
“Then, [‘Alias’ creator] J.J. Abrams said, ‘Perfect. We’ll put you on as the evil Lauren Reed.’ I knew everyone was going to hate me, but I said, ‘OK. I’ll do it.’ Then when I got this, I thought, ‘If I could take the role of Sydney Bristow but put it in a world that’s European, making it a little more like ‘The Bourne Identity’ and ‘Taken’ but be less polished, I would be thrilled.'”
That’s pretty much what “Hunted” is, and George maintains she has no worries about Ashley Judd’s somewhat similar ABC series “Missing” having come first — and having met its fate relatively soon.
“I’m not an expert on network vs. cable,” George allows, “and I’ll be back on a network show one of these days, but they don’t sit on the set tearing out [script] pages when you’re working for an HBO or a Cinemax. They hire the right people, then it’s a collaboration where there’s not a lot of input from second parties.
“They allow you to create, and there’s something about being left alone that I think brings a bit of magic.”