“Missing” premieres on Thursday, March 15th on ABC and we got a chance to speak to star Ashley Judd about the show. We’ve seen the first two episodes, and this lady does some pretty amazing stunts, including jumping off a bridge. She fights, she punches … so how did she get in shape for the role? Yoga! We also get a look into filming in Europe, her new book and whether or not she’ll be back for another season.
Judd plays a retired C.I.A. agent who is searching for her missing son. We asked her about the training. “I had been in graduate school, and then I had written a book. So I’d basically been sitting down for two years, and I had 3 weeks to get ready for the show. I did what I do best, and what I know my body really likes. I got on my yoga mat. And I had 3 different yoga teachers (no one personal was available the whole 3 weeks) come to stay at the house because I really wanted to be at home before going off to live in Europe for four and a half months. And I just got really deep into my yoga practice. And, ironically, Vinyasa yoga is very good preparation for fighting because there needs to be a very clear articulation of the body. There’s flow to the sequences. There’s a lot of strength, suppleness, creativity, spontaneity, and works beautifully. Some yoga teachers may be horrified that I’d do yoga to fight, and others would totally get it because there’s a warrior energy in yoga, absolutely.”
Each episode of the show takes place in a different European country. We asked about filming in Europe. “I was having some doubts about the show. And making my final deliberation, a friend sighed, ‘Europe in the summer… how bad can it be? And I looked at her and said, ‘You know what? You’re right.’ Europe in the summer. How bad can it be? And it was great because it was like filming a movie. Place is a character in the show. Every episode is set in a different, beautiful location. We had the best film crews. We started in Croatia and finished in Istanbul. We’d have to stop when the bugle would sound in a little village, or the Call to Prayer in Istanbul, the Hagia Sofia, it was incredible.”
Judd wanted to do as many stunts as possible. “I do the majority of my own stunts. It’s something I enjoy,” she says. “I did the bridge myself. And, ironically, when I first suspect that someone is following me, and is about to take a shot at me, and I leap onto the balustrade of the bridge, I ran out of steam and I wasn’t able to do that without banging a knee, banging an elbow, scraping a shin. And I finally ‘I give up!’ I can do the shot and fall into the river, but I couldn’t seem to do that. So so much of it is about not having false pride, and knowing myself well enough to understand when I’m starting to get fatigued because that’s when it’s really easy to sustain an injury.”
So, would Judd come back for Season 2? “I’m really easy either way. I feel like we created a special 10 episode series that’s event TV and television for the world that has a very satisfying arc. I’m good to move on and do other things. And, if there’s going to be a second season, I know that I work with wonderful people whom I love and adore, and that they have an implicit understanding of my values, and who I am in the world, what’s important to me to spend my time focusing on. And as a result because it would be very complicated, and we don’t know decision ABC is gonna make, and that will be based on the whole of what is happening with the network and their entire slate of shows, not just ‘Missing’, but we’re talking about what’s in Africa and kind of getting the ball rolling in terms of our plot line, because it would be difficult to pull of, but that’s the kind of thing I have to do, or I’m just not motivated to do it.”
Finally, Judd talked about doing a new book. “Yes. If you hear an indifference about a possible second season, it’s really a commentary on the richness of my life as a whole. And, I’ve started writing a book about recovering from childhood grief. I think that my core vocation is, as a writer, when I’m traveling and visiting grass roots programs, and working on sex and labor slavery abolition, global public health, all that stuff that’s so meaningful to me, the writing that I do everyday is just the heart and soul of my work. You know, and then coming home and sharing those narratives with the difference makers, you know, the quote, unquote, ordinary Americans, as well as people who influence policy at the highest level. And so writing another book will be something that I complete, and I love it. There’s a part of me that loves staying home in my nightgown and writing.”