Hunted premieres in the US in just a little over a month. October 19th at 10pm is the official date for the show's first episode to air on CINEMAX. The show, as you may know already and according to the show's press release, follows the story of Sam Hunter:
"... a skilled, gutsy operative for Byzantium, a secretive private firm involved in global intelligence and espionage. After surviving an attempt on her life that may have been orchestrated by members of her own team, she returns to work, but doesn't know who to trust. Hunted follows two primary story lines: Sam Hunter's (Melissa George) journey to discover who is behind the attempt on her life and Byzantium's mission itself, both of which have larger implications. As the story unfolds, it becomes hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Uncertain of its clients' motives, the Byzantium team often finds itself working in the gray area, forcing Sam to operate in complete secrecy for her own safety."
Part of the very innovative marketing strategy, you can get to know Byzantium through the "company's" website. Also know if you're part of the "1% that matters," fit to be one of the Byzantium's operatives. Just take their test, and be part of the experience.
Thanks to the CINEMAX marketing team, for allowing us to share part of the press release after the jump.
Frank Spotnitz envisioned Hunted as a complex international thriller, noting, "I love the spy genre. It's one of my all-time favorite things. I grew up watching so many spy movies and shows. Because the viewing choices have never been greater on television, no longer does the work have to be homogenized the way it used to. It has allowed writers and producers to do really interesting, sophisticated work. I think that television's never been better than it is today because of that, because of the freedom you have as a creator."
As he researched the background for his characters, he was intrigued to find real firms and people to inspire the show's stories and people.
"I was working on the character of Sam and her moral complexity when I discovered that there were all these private security firms," Spotnitz reveals. "I didn't know that there are actually thousands of these private spy agencies around the world. They draw their personnel largely from special forces and government spy agencies. They are really interesting because their operatives aren't told who their clients are, and I realized I haven't seen that before in movies or TV.
"I first met a woman who had worked for a private security firm. She is nothing like Sam's character, but in terms of her biography, she is pretty much like Sam, and has done the kind of work that Sam does. She's a very attractive young woman who worked for the British government and then worked for a private security firm after serving in Afghanistan. After that, I met a number of operatives from different security firms in London."
"You don't want to cross Sam," says Melissa George of her character. "She is still the firm's best operative, but since the attempt on her life, any trust she had for the firm and her co-workers is gone. That is why she is so determined to go back to work and face her team "“ she really believes that one of them is behind it. She is a very complicated person and not easy to get to know."
Sam's troubled childhood not only figures into the mystery of the series, but is key to understanding George's portrayal of her character. Spotnitz observes, "What happened to her as a child has helped make her who she is, and that has made her very good at what she does. You have to believe she has that strength, you have to believe she has that intelligence, and you have to believe she is beautiful enough to be the type of woman that could go and seduce these men."
Embodying both strength and vulnerability, Sam is a contradiction. These characteristics make her an asset to the team, allowing her the flexibility to maneuver within her missions and adapt to whatever circumstances she encounters.
George underwent rigorous physical training for the role, including instruction in martial arts techniques used for hand-to-hand combat, weapons disarming and high- impact blows. She learned the Keysi fighting method, which focuses on self-defense by studying natural instincts and evolving modern urban environments, and was previously showcased in the feature film "The Bourne Supremacy."
"The training for Hunted was the hardest thing I think I will ever experience," George recounts. "Frank was adamant on having an actress who will go the distance and fight for real "“ if I couldn't physically do it, we wouldn't shoot it. I learned Keysi, a technique of realistic street fighting that employs moves that are very basic, but deadly. I have never in my life felt so much adrenaline than when we do the fight scenes. I don't sleep the night before, and I'm anxious to make Sam as skilled as she is written on the page. For the first time, I forgot about me and was purely fighting for my life as Sam. I don't want to be an actress for hire and pretend; Sam is so wonderfully layered and deserves whoever portrays her to do her justice. I think I actually want to be her."
She continues, "When the trauma of her past resurfaces, it sends her down a certain path. In many ways, she identifies with Eddie, the child she is tutoring in her mission. Because of their similar experiences, he has a huge effect on her that she wasn't anticipating. She struggles with caring too much, which can be a liability in her business."
From the top operative who can make or break a mission and the team leader whose personal life is a sharp contrast to his work life, to the boss who has no trouble reconciling his missions with the goals of his questionable clients and the new member who is less comfortable with the morally ambiguous situations they face, the characters on Hunted offer different perspectives on the story.
"Each member of the team has a distinct point of view about what they do," Spotnitz explains. "The boss, Rupert Keel, refuses to judge his clients, thereby avoiding any morality associated with it. New team member Ian Fowkes is somewhat like us, discovering the true nature of the work bit-by-bit. He calls certain things into question, like many of us would."
The Executive producers for this first season are Alison Jackson, Jane Featherstone and Stephen Garrett, Christopher Aird and Polly Hill executive produce for BBC One. Frank Spotnitz, in addition to also being one of the Executive Producer and sole Creator of the show, has written four episodes and co-written one with Amira El Nemr (Luther). Writers Simon Allen (M.I. High), Smita Bhide (The Blue Tower) and Christian Spurrier (MI-5), are also part of the writers attached to the show, each writing one episode.
The body of directors for this first season includes SJ Clarkson (Life on Mars), Daniel Percival (co- executive producer of Strike Back), James Strong (Downton Abbey) and Alrick Riley (MI-5), each of whom directed two episodes.
Hunted is produced by Kudos Film & Television (MI-5, Life on Mars) in association with Big Light Productions for CINEMAX and BBC One. Hunted marks the second recent original primetime series on CINEMAX, following last year's Emmy ®-nominated hit action drama Strike Back, which was the first original primetime series on the network in more than 15 years, and returns for its second season Aug. 17. The third original CINEMAX series to debut will be Banshee, which is executive produced by Alan Ball (HBO's True Blood) and is slated to debut in Jan. 2013.