Last month we reported news of Melissa George’s next project, the ominously titled A Lonely Place to Die. The film, directed by Julian Gilbey, whose previous outings include the tense thrillers Rise of the Footsoldiers and Rollin’ With the Nines, centres on a group of climbers who discover a young girl buried in the Scottish mountains who is victim of a kidnapping.
George plays one of the climbers and stars alongside Ed Speleers, Karel Roden, Eamonn Walker and Sean Harris in what is being shaped up to be a thrilling and taut action caper.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Melissa George on set and the Golden Globe nominee revealed all on her dislike of Scottish rivers, how Martin Freeman thinks she’s a closet drinker and why she would happily work with Benicio Del Toro.
This interview was conducted by James Wright.
As far as roles go you’ve never really tried your hand at a full on, straight up action film before, so what swayed you for A Lonely Place to Die?
Well, after Triangle, I’d started work on a broad comedy with Martin Freeman, then I had In Treatment which was very dark and intense and I’d been working on Grays Anatomy for 8 months, so when I suddenly got this action role, I thought why not? Great director, a great script, a really good cast and I knew an action flick would be an amazing change. Also as a female, I wouldn’t be playing the silly wife, it’s your film and I think that was another big reason why I took it on.
So what are you most enjoying about the experience of filming A Lonely Place to Die?
I think it’s just great to see me looking strong and dynamic on screen. I mean the shooting has been great too, because the surroundings are amazing, but they’re really hard to shoot in. We’re climbing up 900 meters only to have a small boulder fall down on us and then the team has to go all the way back down again. So sometimes the terrain has been a little difficult to work with.
Have you tried you hand at any of the stunts?
Sort of, I mean I have a stunt girl who is phenomenal, and she takes the skin of her arms for me, but I did do some of the water stunts! But I said to Julian Gilby straight afterwards that I’m never going back in the Scottish rivers again, because it’s like minus 20 in the water! And of course my character obviously wouldn’t have a wetsuit on. So I’m in the water and I’ve got a t-shirt and I look around and the whole crew are wearing like three layers of wet suits (laughs!). I just couldn’t speak it was so cold. Saying that I’m glad I tried doing them.
He’s great! I mean him and his brother are just geniuses. They are editing it themselves, they’ve written it, they’re directing it together, they are such a dynamic duo and Julian really knows how to pull out a performance. I love how kind he is explaining everything as shooting is going on, so I knew exactly how everything was going to look on screen and no director has ever done that for me. So he was fantastic.
So would you say the film has been the exhilarating experience you was looking for?
Oh definitely. All the climbing and helicopter shots were incredible. Those moments when you’re looking around for a handhold and the rock is hot and you’re not quite sure if you’re going to make it. It was all just such a rush and more than I possibly could imagine when I took the role on.
Looking forward, you’ve also got a comedy with Martin Freeman coming out later this year called Swinging with the Finkles, what was it like working with Freeman on set?
He’s just an extraordinary human being and I kept laughing all day long. The way he performs and the way he delivers a scene is just incredible and his comedic timing was just perfect. He was so sure that I was drinking in my trailer because I was honestly delirious all day (laughs). You know when you laugh too much and your head goes a little woozey, well it was like that, but all day long and it was, without a doubt, the most fun I’ve ever had on set.
Your website says that your rumoured to be involved with a project called Sisters, is there any information you could give us about that?
Ahh, yeah Sisters and Stolen.
Yeah, that’s another film I’m involved with. I can’t really say anything about Sisters though.
And what about Stolen?
It’s a British film shooting in New Zealand in September and it’s about a very wealthy English women living in New Zealand whose baby is stolen at birth and she spends two years trying to find her baby. I’m going to be starring with Keisha Castle-Hughes from Whale Rider and Mads Mikkelsen.
Where did the motivation come for that?
Well it’s a fantastic script, set in the 1850s, and I’ve really wanted to do a period piece. I want nice clothes and I want beautiful landscapes with well thought out and carefully written scenes and that’s what it’s bringing me.
Oh yea definitely, I’m very excited about it and I can’t wait!
You’re also rumoured to be working on a Christian Filippella film as well called White Widow, could you shed any light on that for us?
No never heard of that one (laughs).
Apparently you’re starring alongside Benicio Del Toro, Michael Madsen and Tommy Flanagan…
(laughing) Oh well that’s nice tell them thank you. I mean it sounds great and Benicio is a great actor but no body has approached me.
Is Benicio someone you’d perhaps like to work with?
Yeh definitely, I mean if they want me I’ll do it, obviously if it’s a good script
From what we can tell its about a young woman who finds herself with a cache of stolen diamonds and is on the run from mobsters. Is that something you’d like to try, perhaps in keeping with your mantra of playing strong female roles?
Yeah why not right? We don’t all want to be those little fluffy wife roles do we, so why not. If they offer it, that would be great yeah. We’ll see.
A Lonely Place to Die is expected to hit our screens early 2011.
James Wright – You can follow me on Twitter at JamesWright_UK
Since this interview took place we’ve had an update on one of the films mentioned. Regarding Melissa George’s connection with the film White Widow we’ve received a statement from Satyricon Pictures, who confirm that a formal offer was made to her to play a female lead in the movie, and that she was also in contact personally with the director Christian Filippella before the script was sent.
More news on this as we get it.