Australian actress, Melissa George, may be best known to a generation of UK audiences for her role in soap opera Home and Away, but she has found herself cast in some of the most interesting films and TV series to come out of the US in the last decade, including Mulholland Drive, The Limey, Triangle, Alias and In Treatment.
Early 2010 found George in the Highlands of Scotland filming British action thriller, A Lonely Place To Die, which sees her once again in action mode as a rock climber, Alison, who becomes embroiled in a tense situation in the mountains.
Jonathan Melville spoke to the actress on the film’s set about her Scottish heritage, her career-to-date and why Scotland is the perfect location for action movies.
The full interview can be heard in the audio slideshow or audiboo on this page, while excerpts are also available below.
Listen/download the audioboo version of the interview:
Selected quotes from the Melissa George interview:
On being remembered for Home and Away: “It’s fine to talk about it. It taught me to be resilient. I was only 16-years-old, imagine being that young and on a show that was pretty much the biggest gig in Australia back then.”
On starring in Christopher Smith’s Triangle: “I loved it. What was beautiful about that was I’d never seen an actress on screen as much and I was scared people would get bored, there were so many Jess’s running around. My take was that it was all in her head…and I thought it was a beautiful take on that.”
On being an action heroine: “My husband laughs at me and asks me ‘why the hell are you the action girl?’ I live in New York City and Buenos Aires and don’t run in the mountains all the time! I’m strong and resilient being Australian. I was a champion skater, so I have the stability and strength and I can run fast and climb.”
On her role in A Lonely Place to Die: “My character, Alison, is a champion rock climber and she takes a couple of friends with her to Scotland. She’s all about precision: at the start you’re seeing this great rock climber and she’s out there and she’s all about rhythm and very methodical, then they find this girl on the mountain and she thinks it’s really ruining her trip. She then starts to comes round and becomes stronger than ever, you really see her strength at the end of the film.
“There’s lots of running, diving, jumping and cat and mouse. It’s an action flick, an adventure film and I find this girl take her to safety, so I have to do rock climbing while carrying her. The climbing aspect has been addictive, when your hand hits that hot rock and you find a natural space to put your hand, it’s pretty great.
On Scotland as a location for action movies: “Scotland deserves it! The scenery deserves it: you look at Braveheart and all the great films that have been made here, why not have an action film? It’s stunning. And Americans love Scotland.”
On the obligatory romantic subplot: “There is one scene where we’re playing poker and Ed [Speleers, the film’s male lead] ad libs, ‘I knew we should have played snap,’ to which I reply, ‘You can’t move your hands fast enough,’ He just looks at me and says ‘We both know that’s not true,’ though whether that makes the final cut I don’t know!”
A Lonely Place to Die opens in UK cinemas on Wednesday 7 September.