Celebrity Style

Melissa George stars in new BBC thriller Hunted

By Tamsin Crimmens

Looking for your autumn TV obsession? If you’re a fan of Alias, Spooks or Homeland then Hunted - an eight-part thriller set in the world of international espionage - is it.

Australian actress Melissa George – who you might remember from her appearance in the film Mulholland Drive, US TV shows Alias, Grey's Anatomy and Charmed, or even everyone's favourite Aussie teatime soap, Home & Away – takes the main role of Sam Hunter, a highly skilled operative for a private intelligence firm who is almost certain that one of her colleagues has recently tried to kill her. ‘It’s dynamic, tough, and emotional,’ she says. 'Sam is messed up.'

ELLE meets Melissa at the BBC's Western House– London has become a familiar place to her after moving here to film the BBC drama. How did she enjoy life in the capital? ‘It was beautiful. I moved to Chelsea with my French bulldog and she loved it too because the climate is perfect for her breed and she could go into pubs and eat dinner with me!’

It wasn't all cosy meals out though. Physically, George did a lot of preparation for the role. ‘Core, gladiator style training and I did Keysi.’ Keysi being the fighting technique that Batman, Bourne and Bond all use. ‘Sam does all the action.'

George’s impressive career has spanned three decades, with notable high points along the way. ‘Doing Mullholland Drive with David Lynch was a huge moment for me,' she says. '[His programme] Twin Peaks made me want to be an actress.’

In 2009 George was nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Laura in In Treatment. She seems to positively relish the glamorous side of such industry events. For the Golden Globes it was Giorgio Armani that dressed her. ‘It was the most beautiful gown ever, with an art deco plastic flower– all very Armani! The fittings and the whole process was very special. Giorgio is so generous and kind.’

Fashion is something George is full of enthusiasm for. 'I really appreciate the work and the history of the houses of Jean Paul Gautier and Armani. Right now, I’m obsessed with Nina Ricci and I love Balmain and Celine.’ As for style inspirations? ‘I’m really into Queen Rania [of Jordan] and Princess Letizia [of Spain]. All the princesses! Their style is beautiful.’

A recent move to Paris has also proved inspirational for George. ‘French women are brilliant – with no makeup! They wear a Balmain jacket with rock star rings and ripped jeans. One of my most precious items is a Balmain jacket with the American flag on the back.’

When it comes to her work costumes George is just as discerning. ‘They’re very important. With Sam in Hunted I wanted her boots to look like they were her favourite boots – so I wore them around for a month before filming started.’

The first episode of Hunted is on tonight at 9pm on BBC One.

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