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Friday, March 06, 2009

Heroine Material: Melissa George

Perth-born Melissa George got her break in the TV series Home and Away. Before then, she’d done modelling work in the early 1990s, but the Australian actress really hit the big time at the age of 17 with her portrayal of Angel Brooks in the popular television show. Melissa wowed audiences with both her looks and her acting ability, making her one of the series’ most popular characters and her romantic storylines had viewers tuning in week after week.

In 1995, at the age of 19, Melissa decided she’d see if she could break into Hollywood, so she went to America to pursue her acting career. At first, work was difficult. As with many actors, she had to climb the ladder of success, so she appeared in bit parts in assorted TV shows before starting to pop up in playing supporting roles in films. Dark City, a sinister science fiction flick by Crow director Alex Proyas, had her in one such role, as did Steven Soderbergh’s unusual crime thriller The Limey.

Melissa also returned to Australia to appear in the short-lived television series Roar, which was a sword-and-sorcery yarn inspired by Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. In this, Melissa paired up with the late Heath Ledger for a few frolicking yarns. By 2001, she was appearing regularly in movies and television; a bigger role in low budget teen flick Sugar & Spice was a sign of things to come, while David Lynch saw fit to cast her in a minor role in his mysterious thriller, Mulholland Dr. A role in the TV drama Thieves also helped to get her name out, although the show was cancelled after just ten episodes.

2003 was a more promising year. Melissa landed one-off gigs in two immensely popular American TV shows, Friends and Charmed. Then came her breakthrough, playing a regular role as a Brit in the 2004 season of the high-profile thriller Alias. This in turn led to a starring role for the actress in two 2005 films: The Amityville Horror, a remake of the ‘70s horror hit in which she plays a wife terrorised by spirits in her home, and Derailed, in which she plays the wife of cheating businessman Clive Owen.

2006 was a quiet year for the actress. She made just one film, another horror called Turistas (or Paradise Lost in the UK). This was a grisly outing clearly involved by torture flick Hostel. She stayed with the genre for 2007’s Waz, a deeply unpleasant serial killer flick, and 30 Days of Night, a gruesome comic book adaptation in which she fights against a vampire gang in an Alaskan town where the sun never rises.

Melissa went back to television in 2008 with a recurring role in the Gabriel Byrne psychotherapist drama, In Treatment. A short turn in the hit show Grey’s Anatomy has since followed, and she’s now set to appear as the lead in yet another low budget horror film: the Australian thriller Triangle, about sinister forces at sea.

Judging by her workload, Melissa shows no signs of stopping, and this deeply attractive actress is quickly turning into a modern-day scream queen.