MISSING: The Complete First Season
About the show: How far would you go to save the one you love most? Emmy® Award Nominee Ashley Judd stars in Missing, ABC’s thrilling new series, bursting with international intrigue and a full season of brilliant twists and turns. After Becca Winstone’s son disappears while overseas for a summer internship, she takes it upon herself to travel to Europe to track him down. It soon becomes clear that Becca is no ordinary woman, but a former CIA agent deactivated after the devastating death of her husband. If she wants to find her son alive, Becca will have to rely on old friends…and old enemies…thus reopening old wounds. Her resourcefulness, skill and determination will be put to the test – but a mother’s love knows no limits. ABC’s inspiring, action-packed drama grabs you from the very first minute and never lets go. This DVD set includes exclusive bonus features, plus interviews with star Ashley Judd and the show’s creators, in a three-disc DVD set.
In anticipation of the upcoming release of ABC’s “Missing” on DVD June 5th, we have 1 on 1 interviews with the Star of the Show Ashley Judd and the Creator’s!
What attracted you to this project?
Over the last number of years, I pursued a number of interests that had been dreams of mine, such as going to graduate school and publishing a book about my international travels. However, when the producers of Missing – Gina Matthews, Grant Scharbo and Greg Poirier – approached me with this unforgettable concept, I knew I was ready to return to acting with this role. I couldn’t say no.
What was their initial pitch?
They told me the show was going to be about a mother looking for her son. While searching for him, it’s revealed to the audience that the mother had a very complex past as a CIA agent. The pitch was simple. It was compelling. As if that wasn’t appealing enough, it was strictly 10 episodes filming entirely on location in Europe – and they promised me a great, gifted, international cast. Other than shooting at home in rural Tennessee, it was perfect
What can you tell us about the rest of the cast?
The caliber of talent this project attracted was definitely the other highly attractive element of doing this series. The idea of working with actors like Cliff Curtis, Adriano Giannini, Sean Bean and Laura Donnelly for 10 episodes was extraordinary. Plus, each episode has phenomenal guest stars, such as Joaquim de Almeida,. Other people like Lothaire Bluteau and Cyrielle Clair are also involved. You may not recognize their names now, but when you see them on screen, you’ll go, “Oh, yeah. These actors are amazing.”
Do you like the travel aspect of filming Missing?
It was both wonderful because I love to travel, and it was also very difficult because I am, first and foremost, a homebody. It was about trying to make a home with these people who became my family of choice while very far away from rural Tennessee, where I live. Filming in Europe was very picturesque and interesting – but it was also surprising, especially when you discover the launch point for a boat chase is a nudist beach. So it was always interesting.
How are you with European languages?
I speak French, but my husband teases about my Italian. He says it has a very distinct Spanish sound. My Czech absolutely stinks. In fact, I was practicing my Czech dialogue when my Czech assistant said, “Oh, are you working on your Russian?” I’ll let you into a secret… My Czech dialogue was eventually cut entirely, but please get off my back. I was trying to fly a helicopter at the same time!
Sean Bean plays your husband in the show. What was it like to work with him?
Sean and I were all over the place during the filming of Missing. He and I were in Bulgaria and Russia, and we had a lot of work that we did together – but we did a lot apart, too. In the flashback during the pilot episode, you see my husband and me working as CIA operatives together and we are faced with some really wrenching moral dilemmas about what we will and will not do – and that connects to the pickle in which I find myself contemporarily while looking for my son.
Interview 2 – AN INTERVIEW WITH ASHLEY JUDD FOR THE DVD RELEASE OF MISSING: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
How would you describe your new show, Missing?
At its soul, each episode of Missing has an emotional narrative of a mother looking for her son. We hope that audiences will connect with that wrenching journey and have the vicarious experience of our greatest fear, which is that something has happened to our child and the wish fulfillment of, ‘I can handle it myself.’ Someone asked me to summarize my character, Becca, in a couple of words, and I replied, “Becca is gifted and shattered.” My biggest piece of direction on the set was to add more stress or more angst to my performance.
Did you get a full report on the background of your character when you signed up for the show?
The producers and writers provided me with a very clear sense of who Becca Winstone was and is. Then, when we got about two episodes in, they gave me the timeline of my whole life because there are a lot of flashbacks in the story and it’s important to know where we stand at any given point. As you’ll see when you watch the show, I have a number of flashbacks with Sean Bean, who plays Becca’s husband. In spite of the fact that we love each other very much and we work together as CIA operatives, we discover that the marriage was not an easy one and the timeline really helped with that. For example, there’s a point when a character played by Adriano Giannini intruded upon our marriage – but then he’s an asset I reach out to in Rome when my son goes missing. For Becca, there’s a horrible collision of her past and her present – and the writers gave me all of that information in a very clear timeline.
Did you enjoy the physical aspect of playing Becca?
I enjoy the physical aspect of playing Becca a lot, and I do most of my own stunts. But it’s interesting because some of the things that seem more complicated or tricky can be quite easy.
Can you give an example?
When you see Becca shot on the bridge in Paris and fall into the Seine, I did that. Yet, when Becca first senses that there is someone about to harm her and she dives for the balustrade, I had trouble doing that for some reason. I kept knocking my knee, so I said, “Suzanna [the stuntwoman], please get in here and dive on the balustrade.” But then I could do the rest of it. By the grace of God and being protected by really talented people, who were very careful, I never got hurt – but I got a scratch on my hand that bothered me the whole time. Some of it, for whatever reason, is quite easy, and then sometimes it’s the little tiny things that are more elusive.
What were your most challenging stunts?
I definitely felt rusty during my first fight. Because of the nature of filming, we filmed episodes three and four in Dubrovnik and Hvar before we filmed our pilot and episode two. So when you see me fighting in Dubrovnik, it was actually my first fight back after a long period of semi-retirement. When I was breaking a broom handle over someone’s head, it was probably more frightening for me than it was for him because I hadn’t done any stunts in a long time. I had to reconnect with the craft of hand-to-hand combat – but as soon as I was fighting in Rome, I was in the zone.
How was Missing filmed?
We always used a three-camera setup, which is a dream for an actor because not only would I be able to give a performance from all angles at once and not have to play to a specific camera, I could have more reality in living in the space. We were also able to shoot much more each day, which was great.
Was it a much faster filming process than you were used to?
The page count we filmed on a daily basis was something a film actor can only dream of. We would rip through extraordinary amounts of material and that was obviously draining, but also extremely rewarding. With the digital revolution, it takes very little time to change the camera for new setups, which was certainly interesting for me.
Was that challenging for you as an actor?
Everything moved so quickly. I’d be on my way back to my trailer and they’d say that they were ready to shoot again, so that was probably the biggest adjustment for me. I also had to be extremely prepared at all times. There were moments when the directors were happy after one take – but I’d say, “I’m having fun here. May I do another?” There’s no time to explore and on take 11 say, “Yeah, I’m feeling good now.” I had to bring it at a level that was important to me at every single take
What attracted you to a television show rather than work on another movie?
Part of the appeal of Missing was the fact that it was only 10 episodes. I’ve been very fortunate in my career and I’ve been offered a lot in television – but the regular 22-episode season is a little difficult to work into my schedule. This was a very contained shoot and the schedule was known in advance, so I could dedicate the rest of my year to my other work – feminist social justice and humanitarian issues – as well as follow my hot husband around.
Interview 3 – AN INTERVIEW WITH ASHLEY JUDD FOR THE DVD RELEASE OF MISSING: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
You play a full-on action hero in Missing. How did you get comfortable with the training and physicality of the role?
It was a daunting task to prepare for the role of Becca in Missing. It’s no small feat to play a trained operative for the CIA, and I didn’t take it lightly. I’d had a very sedentary life in the years before I began filming Missing. I went to graduate school and I wrote a book, so I’d spent two-and-a-half years sitting down, which is why it was a challenge to return to a physical role.
How did you get back in shape for the role?
I got on my yoga mat with a few teachers I really like and who I trust, and I got to work. Fortunately I’ve got good muscle memory and it all came back quite quickly. I had to make sure my body was flexible enough for the role – but I also wanted to make sure I stayed safe and didn’t get hurt. And then it was time to fight again… Well, I love to fight, so I found this aspect of the role very easy and rewarding.
Were you looking for a TV show when this role came to you?
I was very fortunate in that the producers came looking for me, and that is something that I found very humbling and flattering. Obviously I was aware that this is a golden age in television and that incredible film producers are making special TV. The once rather impermeable membrane between film actors and TV actors has completely vanished.
When did you find out about this role on Missing?
While I was at graduate school, people were sending me a lot of TV material – but I had a choice: either try to get an A in Health And Human Rights or read a script. I figured, ‘I’m in school, so I might as well go for the grade.’ Once I graduated, my agent called me with that special lilt in her voice, which all actors love to hear. She said to me, “I think I’ve found the one.” I immediately flew to Los Angeles and had a meeting with the producers. They pitched me a sensational idea about a mother looking for her son. They explained that they were going to film 10 episodes, which works well with the balance of my very abundant life, and, hey, each episode is an event set in a glorious European capital. What’s not to love?
What challenges did you face while filming in foreign lands?
In Prague, there was a guy who would come out to play his bugle every night at six, and we’d have to pause for that. We would also have to pause filming for the call to prayer every hour in Istanbul. There were other times when we’d find ourselves filming in a very famous old town square where the astronomical clock would go off and all of a sudden, right before the hour, 10,000 tourists would materialize because they all wanted to see this wonder of the world.
Were these interruptions manageable?
Yes, those things were easy to work around because they are part of the awe and magic of being in Europe. However, there were many other things that were extremely challenging. It’s a wonderful show and I think people will enjoy it, but I’m getting to the point where I start to forget the hardships of filming. I’m just extremely pleased with how well it turned out.
In which European cities did you shoot Missing?
We went to Vienna, Rome, Paris, Dubrovnik, Istanbul and Berlin. We also visited Russia and there was a little prison break stop in Bulgaria.
What did you do outside of filming in these amazing European cities?
I love being in the countryside. It’s a little confusing to be in the city for me, so on the weekends I would try to get out of Prague or Rome or wherever we were because even under the best of circumstances, I’m not a city person. I’m a huge walker, so I hiked in the countryside as much as I could.
How else do you relax away from filming and your other commitments?
Basketball is a big hobby of mine, so I make sure I have plenty of time for that. I also love books, so I’m constantly reading. Right now, I’m re-reading M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled, which is a book I read at 22. I underlined a bunch of lines back then and I’m reading the same copy, so it’s like a communication with my 23-year-old self. What else do I like to do in my spare time? I like walking my animals.
How many animals do you have?
I have two dogs, named Buttermilk and Shug. And I also have five cats: Guiley, Agnes, Amelia, Audrey, and Bunny. Two dogs and two cats came along with me to shoot Missing, which was great for me. The Czech people are wonderful animal lovers, so they were treated very well.
AN INTERVIEW WITH GREGORY POIRIER, GINA MATTHEWS AND GRANT SCHARBO FOR THE DVD RELEASE OF MISSING: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
How did Missing come about?
GREGORY POIRIER: The original concept came from the husband and wife team Gina [Matthews] and Grant [Scharbo]. They called me and said, “We have this idea. Do you want to come in and talk about it?” I went along and we talked about their idea – and it really sparked my imagination. I am a father of two and I recently married somebody with two kids, so now I’m a father of four; Missing hit all of the right cords for me emotionally. From there, we took the initial concept and I developed it into a story.
GINA MATTHEWS: Being parents ourselves, we thought, ‘What would be the worst thing that could possibly happen?’ The worst thing would be if something happened to your child. That’s how Missing started.
What made you choose Ashley Judd for the lead role of Becca Winstone in Missing?
GREGORY POIRIER: Ashley Judd was our very first choice for the role. When we first started talking about casting, we said, “Who is the prototype for this CIA agent?” Ashley’s name came up and everybody said, “Oh, you are crazy. Ashley will never do this.” We were incredibly fortunate that she was gracious enough to have a meeting with us after she read the script. I guess we convinced her. We hooked her in.
How did New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis get involved in the show?
GINA MATTHEWS: Cliff’s casting came very late in the day. We were looking for someone to play the role of Dax Miller, but we couldn’t get it right. There were a lot of arguments back and forth while we were trying to figure it out. And then, truly late in the day, we got a call from Cliff’s agent saying, “Cliff just married a British woman and they’d like to spend some time in Europe. What do you think?” We immediately replied, “Are you crazy? We’d love him.” That is exactly how he joined the show.
What surprised you the most about the cast?
GRANT SCHARBO: One really funny moment involved Ruda Vrba, who is one of the top fight coordinators in the world. He kept saying he needed Ashley Judd for a week to choreograph a fight scene – but we needed her, so the time got reduced and finally it just never happened. On the day we filmed the fight scene, Ashley walked in and Ruda showed her the choreography. Ashley must have an extraordinary mind, extraordinary memory and extraordinary muscle memory because she got the fight right the very first time she walked in front of the cameras. I have never seen anything like it, nor had Ruda.
Which comes first: the action scenes or the storyline?
GREGORY POIRIER: At its core, Missing is a family drama – and I’ve always approached it that way. I’ve always said, “With every episode, before we start thinking about what’s going to blow up or what we are going to race around in or any of that stuff, the first question we ask is: ‘What is this episode about emotionally? What is the emotional core of this episode?’” We really take care to approach it that way so that it’s a very rich experience.
Did you film a pilot episode and then the rest of the series, or did you film all 10 episodes in one go?
GINA MATTHEWS: It’s a tribute to ABC, their vision and their commitment that there was no pilot episode of Missing.
GREGORY POIRIER: ABC committed to the show based on the first two or three scripts.
GINA MATTHEWS: And, of course, our razzle-dazzling series pitch! What’s exciting about Missing is that unlike a lot of shows, our budget for episode one is the same as the budget for episodes two, three, seven and ten. We are able to deliver everything you saw in the first episode with every single episode. That’s not something you see in a lot of television shows. The budget is usually reserved for the pilot and the finale, but not with Missing.
The show’s story travels through a variety of European locations… Where in the world did you visit for the shoot?
GREGORY POIRIER: In Season One, we go to Russia, Vienna, Rome, Paris, Dubrovnik, Istanbul and Germany, which was a very interesting and challenging experience. We took our Czech crew with us to Istanbul, so we had people speaking English, people speak Czech and people speaking Turkish all on the set – but it actually worked very smoothly. It went very well.
GRANT SCHARBO: It just took a little more time than normal. Whenever someone says, “Quiet please,” you then hear it in Turkish and then you hear it in Czech. And when we had extras that didn’t speak any Czech or English; that definitely got a bit comical at times, but it all worked out in the end.
How did you end up with a Czech crew in Turkey?
GINA MATTHEWS: Well, we were based in Prague. That was our home base. And so when we went to Istanbul, we brought some of our Czech crew along – but we also used a local crew there as well. We used a local line producer and that was really important, because they know where you are shooting and they can get you into places.
GREGORY POIRIER: We shot inside the Hagia Sophia, which is something that had never been done before.
GINA MATTHEWS: And without having someone on the ground who has those relationships and can make that happen, we wouldn’t have been able to do that. Our directors were from across the board, American and European. They were a great mix of incredibly talented people.
Did you shoot any of the show in a studio?
GRANT SCHARBO: No, we’re a location-based show so we didn’t have any soundstage days. We were out every day. And we were fortunate enough to have nine days per episode, which is a little bit unusual – but not unheard of.
What challenges does being a location-only show pose?
GRANT SCHARBO: There are always challenges when you’re shooting on location. After three days of shooting a boat chase in Hvar, we turned up at the location one morning to discover a massive cruise ship parked right in the middle of our set.
GREGORY POIRIER: So we had to incorporate it.
GRANT SCHARBO: The captain said we could get within 25m of the ship, so with the proximity to something so huge it gave a real sense of speed to the chase, which was something we didn’t have before. It turned out to be fantastic for the sequence, but it was certainly a bit of a shock when we turned up to work that morning.
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