Interview from The Hollywood News
Like any affluent Australian thespian, Melissa George started her career on HOME AND AWAY.
After a three year stint on the soap, she left Summer Bay and was cast in Alex Proyas’ cult film DARK CITY, also having a supporting role in Steven Soderbergh’s THE LIMEY. Melissa George then found herself in David Lynch’s MULHOLLAND DRIVE as well as JJ Abrams’ series ALIAS. Since then Melissa has starred in THE AMITYVILLE HORROR remake, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, HBO’S IN TREATMENT and a stint on GREY’S ANATOMY.
Today see’s the UK release of A LONELY PLACE TO DIE. In it, Melissa plays ‘Alison’, one of five mountaineers hiking in the Scottish Highlands. Finding a young Serbian girl buried alive, the mountaineers face the dangerous highland terrain as well as becoming caught in a terrifying game of cat and mouse with the girl’s kidnappers.
Directed by Julian Gilbey (RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER), the cast also features Sean Harris (SAXON), Eamonn Walker (HBO’s OZ), Ed Speleers (ERAGON), Alec Newman (CASUALTY) and Karel Roden (HELLBOY).
THN were lucky enough to snag some time with Melissa to talk about the new film.
– Your role in A LONELY PLACE TO DIE looks physically demanding and quite tough. How did you cope with shooting the film?
It was more than a human being could take in a life time. You do takes twenty to thirty times. So that difficult scene climbing, in life you do once, I have to do twenty times for ten hours a day, for four months. We climbed Ben Nevis and it took us three hours to get up there. We were shooting for two hours and then we’d walk our way back down. I’m not doing any more rock climbing I have to announce. My arms got so built I developed wrist muscles.
– There are some impressive stunts in the film, did you perform any yourself?
I did all of the stunts myself, except the big fall through the trees, although that was one of the best stunts to watch. Julian [Gilbey, Director] would just put me up there, and that was it. I would have to hold on for dear life. In one scene, which is incidentally the shot the poster, the rope actually ran out. I don’t know if they did it on purpose, or what tricks were up their sleeve to get a performance out of me, but it was pretty scary.
I had to dive under at one point and it just got colder. By the time I’d gotten so far down to the bottom of this Scottish river, there were trout, salmon and I don’t know what else down there, I couldn’t see a thing. I was getting on top of rocks, diving in, and Julian was just standing there in the boat, dry.
– Over the past few years you’ve been involved in a number of horror films, often playing the’last girl’ character. Strong, independent types. Is that a kind of role you enjoy?
It’s not really about genre for me. IN TREATMENT, for example, was again a woman that’s still standing at the end, but it’s mainly two people talking in one room, and it’s HBO. I tend to not look at genre, but if the script portrays the woman in a good light. I don’t mind being knocked around [laughs], but as long as she comes out standing, and if she doesn’t, as long as she had a good journey. So that’s one thing I always try to do justice for, is the women. For an actress it’s not easy to find good roles.
When they were casting about ten years ago for LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER, it was out of Angelina [Jolie] and I. I had five screen tests and she came in last minute and got it, but that’s Angelina and she’s great. I always thought that when I get the opportunity to be an action woman, I’m going to take it. A LONELY PLACE TO DIE comes along and I took it.
I do love making these [action] movies, because they are very creative, they’re high impact. Everyone’s like “Come on, let’s get in there and lets be dangerous.” I do like the danger, to live on the edge a little bit. I’m very urban, I live in New York, I’m very sort of lady-like and I spend most of my year not really doing these kinds of movies.
– You’ve worked with some renowned directors like Steven Soderbergh and David Lynch, what projects have you next got planned?
There’s so many coming up, it’s going to be a great year. I’ve gone through a lot of changes and I’m finally a place where I’m very happy, let’s just bring on the good directors! Did you know I’ve invented something that’s one of the highest selling products in the U.S right now? It’s called Hemming My Way, I named it myself. I’ve got a team of engineers and a staff of about forty. It’s like an adhesive snap, so you can snap up your jeans for flats and unsnap them for heels. It’s all about New York [laughs], getting to your meeting in your flats, and out in your heels. It’s doing so well, after three years of hell, it’s finally doing ok, so it’s lovely to have that.
I’m also working with a professor at NYU right now on my second product. When I was in the Highlands, I would be jumping into Scottish rivers, put my big coat on, then there would be a cord coming out of the trailer with my laptop, and I’d be doing deals and dealing with prototypes and all of that sort of stuff. It’s exciting. Oprah loves it, we’re allowed to mention her on QVC.
A LONELY PLACE TO DIE is out now in cinemas.