Ashley Judd had an impressive film career with intense dramas like "Normal Life" and "Norma Jean and Marilyn," along with popular thrillers like "Double Jeopardy" and "Kiss the Girls."
Then she took time off to get a Masters degree.
Now she’s back, and on television, and kicking more butt than in all of her films combined. We got to ask her a bunch of questions about "Missing" when Judd met with the Television Critics Association.
CraveOnline: You are awesome on this show. You'd had some movies where you did some action, but had you always wanted to play a full on trained, operative type action heroine character?
Ashley Judd: Did I want to play a trained operative for the CIA? Well, it seems to have gone rather well. So I can confide in you that, when I was able to say that line without laughing, I knew I'd be okay. Kind of daunting, you know. It's no small thing to be a trained operative for the CIA. I didn't take it lightly.
CraveOnline: How did you get comfortable with all of the training and physicality?
Ashley Judd: Well, I'd had a very sedentary life until I began filming "Missing." I went to graduate school, and I wrote a book. So I say, and I mean it quite sincerely, I sat down for two and a half years, and I didn't get up until it was time to do that.
So I just got on my yoga mat with a few teachers I really like and who I trust, and fortunately I've got good muscle memory, and it came back, and it was a way not only to be really in my body and flexible, but to make sure I stayed safe and didn't get hurt. And then it was just time to fight. And I love to fight, and I find it easy and rewarding.
CraveOnline: What style of martial arts did you learn?
Ashley Judd: None. I just fight.
CraveOnline: Did you get a full report on the background of your character from the beginning?
Ashley Judd: Yes, the producers and writers provided me with a very clear sense of who Becca Winstone was and is. And when we got about two episodes in they gave me a timeline of my whole character, because as you will see in all of these flashbacks with Sean Bean, in spite of the fact that we love each other very much, and we work together as CIA operatives, the marriage was not an easy one.
So they created this timeline for me that showed, for example, how the Adriano Giannini character intruded upon our marriage. Then he is an asset I reach out to at home when my son goes missing, so it is this horrible collision for me of my past and my present. And the writers gave me all of that in a very clear timeline.
CraveOnline: Have you had a chance to have fun in the fabulous places you have worked in?
Ashley Judd: The best time I had was hiking the Ceské Švýcarsko National Park. The
Czechs call it Bohemian Switzerland. That was pretty extraordinary. They have reintroduced the otter and the Peregrine Falcon and that was my favorite place. Filming in Istanbul was a total joy. We had to pause filming for the Call to Prayer every hour and in Prague there is a guy that comes out and plays his bugle every night at 6 and we would have to pause for that.
Or we would be filming in the very famous Old Town Square and 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. So those things were easy to work around because they were all part of the awe and magic of being in Europe.
CraveOnline: How did the experience of going back to school inform your acting?
Ashley Judd: Well, there were times when I would wake up from my nap after lunch and say, "What am I doing here?' because I really love that other part of my life but I would have these long conversations with God as I understand God and say both things are true. I have got this very robust dedication to human rights and social justice, and I am a very creative person. I don't necessarily understand how they fit, but clearly God does, so I am just going to do the next good, right, honest thing, have some fun and let go of the outcome.
I really had to be prepared. You know, very emotionally prepared, I mean, there were times when the directors were happy after one take and I’m like, "I am kinda having fun here may I do another?" So just knowing that I could bring it at the level that is important to me with every single take and every single scene. There is no kind of exploring and then on take 11 saying, "Yeah, I'm feeling good."
CraveOnline: It’s interesting to hear you talk about spirituality because there is a philosophy these days that a big consciousness shift is coming in the whole world. Shows like "Touch" are exploring it too. Do you believe that?
Ashley Judd: Well, I think that when I change my mind I change the world and as long as individuals are taking responsibility for themselves and doing their best to be a part of the solution that consciousness shift is inevitable.
CraveOnline: One of my favorite roles of yours is "Norma Jean and Marilyn." Have you had a chance to see "My Week With Marilyn" and did that have any special connection for you?
Ashley Judd: I haven't yet but I am looking forward to seeing it.