When tackling a television series about international intrigue and global espionage, it is curious to see how the initial story will draw the viewer in. In the ABC series MISSING, it employed a premise of a young boy abducted while studying in Rome and seeing how his mother, a former CIA agent, uses every means necessary to ensure his safe return. As driven home quickly in this adrenaline-pumping series, Rebecca Winstone will do literally anything to save her son. Playing the driven ex-spy, Ashley Judd shared in an exclusive one-on-one interview what she loved about playing such a badass role.
What drew you to the amazing role of Rebecca Winstone?
ASHLEY: I like that you said, “amazing,” because for me it felt like an amazing role. When I read the pilot, I saw that Becca is a very complete character and I knew that the role would be a full challenge in all dimensions. It would be really emotional. Every episode is fundamentally about family and relationships. So I would have great scenes to play with other amazing actors and there was the physically-empowered part where I would get to be strong and fight and do that fun stuff.
Now that you’ve actually done a number of the episodes for this season, what do you most admire about Becca and her pursuit of these kidnappers?
ASHLEY: Her tenaciousness. Her inability to give up. They actually stopped writing the line because I started to roll my eyes every time I read it in a script — for quite a few episodes in a row they had Becca at some point during an episode saying, “I don’t have a choice” and I said, “we just have to show that I don’t feel like I have a choice, we don’t need to say it.” But I think it’s incredible the way Becca perseveres.
It seemed in the first couple of episodes of MISSING that Becca was just reacting as the circumstances unfolded. Does that change and she kind develops a plan to trap these people?
ASHLEY: Definitely. Initially the character is somewhat reactive because all of this is taking her by utter surprise. She thinks that she has successfully and great finality closed the door on that part of her life and for 10 years she has been living as a mother in a quiet suburban area, enjoying her flower shop and friendships, and then all of a sudden her world is turned inside out. She is in a really reactive place and there definitely is a turning point when she starts to take the reins and develop her own strategy to find Michael and get the edge.
As some point does she start to see that this is not a normal kidnapping and this is something that is more intricate?
ASHLEY: Definitely, she starts to sense with great dismay that her son’s disappearance is connected to her former life and that’s how we are able bring Sean Bean in. It’s in the flashbacks from 10 years ago. So we travel in time back and forward when Becca was active in the CIA and her husband was her partner and also the father of our son to the present time when she is trying to figure out how her life with him may have something to do with her son’s disappearance.
This was an incredible cast you got to work with. Can describe what it was like working with some of your co-stars, particularly since the show is so male-dominated and you were kind of the sole female amongst it all?
ASHLEY: You know, I didn’t look at it that way. They were just my pals and we had a wonderful time. The friendships were really strong amongst our cast. We had a good time together. I noticed that the days I was working by myself, they were out carousing and having fun and getting to know each other and enjoying the spectacular locations where we filmed.
What was that like filming on location throughout Europe?
ASHLEY: It was great. It was like filming a movie. We had A-list movie crews as our crew. The same people who worked on “The Bourne Identity” films and “Mission Impossible” and we were a traveling band of creative idealists. We were able to shoot in Rome and Paris and a couple different places in Croatia and Istanbul, Vienna. We were able to use the Czech Republic to double for a couple locations, which in and of itself was interesting as I got to see far more of that country than I would otherwise probably ever would have visited. The whole point of being there was to utilize the space and we had very few interiors and we were out in the beautiful sun and amazing weather with these picturesque, historic and in some cases quite ancient backgrounds. It was quite a wonderful experience and part of what drew me to MISSING. I think it will be special for American audiences because each of the 10 episodes is set in a unique location and the plot is connected to the locations. So it’s television for the world and it should be a great adventure in people’s homes each week.
Can you tease what we can expect beyond just seeing Becca chasing after her son each week?
ASHLEY: Each episode is fundamentally about relationships and there are some characters that are with Becca the entire time, like Adriano Giannini who is an old lover and they figuratively get back into bed together, and there’s also an incredible guest star in each episode, like the amazing Joaquim De Almeida, who people may not know his name, but when they see his face, they’ll be like, “I love that guy!” He and Becca also have a history. He plays the head of French intelligence, so naturally there’s that element and there’s that context for the plot line. But it’s really about our history and relationships and I think that the action stuff and seeing me fight, as great as it is, will be balanced by the emotion in each episode.
To see all the death-defying stunts and how the labyrinthine story plays out as Becca chases those who abducted her son, be sure to tune in for the premiere of MISSING on Thursday, March 15th at 8PM on ABC (CTV in Canada)
Tiffany Vogt is the Senior West Coast Editor, contributing as a columnist and entertainment reporter to TheTVaddict.com. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).