As Becca Winstone, a mother criss-crossing Europe in search of her missing son, "desperate" accurately describes Ashley Judd's character on the new ABC drama "Missing." But Becca is far from hopeless — she's a former CIA agent who's wiling to take down just about anyone who stands in her way. Here's how Judd got in shape for the role.
Getting fit just comes naturally
"I'd had a very sedentary life until I began filming 'Missing,'" Judd admits. "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."
Luckily, getting back into leading woman shape didn't require endless hours at the gym.
"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," Judd says. "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 [while filming]."
She's ready to rumble
"I love to fight," the beautiful, polite actress says. "I find it easy and rewarding."
Judd also performed most of her own stunts while filming the series.
"Obviously, we have to have stunt doubles for insurance purposes and because they're very talented, irreplaceable people who make a powerful contribution to the look of the show," Judd says. "[But] I do most of my own stunts. By the grace of God and being protected by really talented people, who were very careful, I never got hurt." She then corrects herself. "I got a scratch on my hand."
The one thing she couldn't ace on-set
Filming an international-themed series on location in places like the Czech Republic meant there were numerous languages spoken behind-the-scenes, and more than a few scenes shot in different dialects. And while Judd says she can speak French, her husband "teases me that my Italian has a distinct Spanish sound."
As for her Czech: It "absolutely stinks," she says. "In fact, I was practicing my Czech dialogue when my Czech assistant said, ‘Oh, are you working on your Russian?'"
But the flubbed lines weren't for a lack of effort. "I will say my Czech dialogue was cut entirely, but please get off my back," Judd says. "I was at the same time trying to fly a helicopter."
Making time for TV
"While I was in school, people were sending me a lot of television material, but it was either try to get an A in Health and Human Rights or read a script. And I figured, you know, I'm in school. I might as well go for the grade," Judd says.
Once she graduated, however, acting became a priority again.
"My agent called me with that special lilt in her voice, which all actors love to hear: ‘I think I found the one.' I had a meeting with these fine producers. They pitched me a sensational idea, a mother looking for her son. It's going to film 10 episodes, which does work well with the balance of my very abundant life, and, hey, each episode is event TV set in a glorious European capital. What's not to love?"