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Updated: March 10, 2012 20:53 IST

Just Judd!

Harshikaa Udasi
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Ashley Judd as Becca Winstone in Missing
Ashley Judd as Becca Winstone in Missing

American TV and film actor and activist Ashley Judd on her forthcoming drama series “Missing,” drawing inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi and more

Less than a week before her mega television show “Missing” goes on air, American TV and film actor Ashley Judd is hardly jittery. In fact, she is enjoying the sights of the changing season in Tennessee. “It is late winter where we live. The earliest spring wild flowers are beginning to show, and the birds are starting to think about finding their mates and selecting places in the trees to build their nests. It's fascinating to watch these miracles unfold every day. I'd die without Nature,” she says.

Premiering on Sunday, March 11 at 9 p.m. on Star World, “Missing” is the story of Rebecca Winstone (Ashley Judd), a mother whose son (Eversman) disappears while on a summer internship in Italy. Rebecca takes it upon herself to travel to Europe and track him down. She is a retired CIA agent and uses every means necessary to get her son back. “The premise is exciting, simple and unforgettable: I am not CIA. I am a mother looking for my son. It's fundamentally a show about family and relationships; the relationships that matter most and affect our heart. We just happen to position this compelling, emotional story in the colourful world of great European locations and in the world of intrigue and action. I have been fortunate to be offered a lot of TV over the years, and the quality of TV is so wonderful right now. I think Indian audiences will love ‘Missing',” says Ashley.

Ask her how close she came to playing Rebecca Winstone, the worried mother, and she says, “I played Becca for four-and-a-half months, so it was like filming a movie. The show is as big as a movie, as complex and beautiful as a film, so I became Becca. There is no other way for me to act. I lived with her passion, zeal, focus and desperation through the entire shoot,” adding that besides the tough-as-nails woman, the challenge was to bring out her vulnerability and emotions through the pain. “I re-connected with the weapons training I had previously done on movies such as Heat. We had a really great member of the British Special Forces with whom I worked. I also worked with my stunt trainer— it reminded me of how much fun it is to fight.”

Ashley's book “All That Is Bitter And Sweet: A Memoir,” where she talks about her troubled childhood detailing abuse and neglect in her upbringing, is revered by many globally who have undergone similar trauma. When asked about opening up on such a sensitive issue, the actor says personal, professional and political are all interlinked. “I love writing; I love writing about things that are personal, spiritual and transformative. I believe personal is professional is political is personal — so there is a closed loop and total relationship between each of the things that matter to me. Once I found my own recovery, talking about healing became easy and natural. It's a privilege and an honour,” she says.

Mentioning Mahatma Gandhi as an influencing factor, she adds, “My activism work is the heart and soul of who I am. I love my feminist social justice work, my abolition work, poverty alleviation work — it's a joy and a responsibility. Writing and voice are intertwined with my work. It's all about raising awareness and the call to action, the urge to move into a solution that is a way of life, as Mahatma Gandhi told us we should,” she explains.

Nestled in Tennessee far from the madding crowd of Hollywood, Ashley is at peace with herself. “I am a countryperson, plain and simple! I like going to Hollywood for a few days. It's a fun town and I like seeing my Hollywood friends and peers, but it's not the way of life that is right for me. I need the soul, the peace and the balm of Nature.


At WorkSeptember 24, 2010

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