PASADENA, Calif. — “Top of the Lake,” a miniseries premiering on the Sundance Channel Monday at 9 p.m., stars Holly Hunter (teaming again with Jane Campion, who directed Hunter to an Academy Award in 1993’s “The Piano”) and Elisabeth Moss (of “Mad Men”) as damaged but gutsy women brought together in New Zealand by the case of a mysteriously missing teenager. Hunter and Moss recently chatted with reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour about the project’s joys and challenges.
Q. These characters are very raw. Is that fun to play?
MOSS: Yeah. I was actually just saying to Holly in that scene [where her character slashes a man with broken glass] . . . and I’m dragged out screaming . . . was actually so much fun. It was really hard, technically. But I was bleeding and I had bruises the next day and my voice was gone and, sorry to say, but that stuff’s really fun for an actor. At least fun for me. Every day was like the acting Olympics in this thing.
Q. What was it like reuniting with Jane?
HUNTER: It’s an indescribable thing to work with Jane. She’s so silly [laughs]. And she brings that silliness to the set, and she has wisdom that, I think, is hard-won in her life. And her sense of humor is equal to her wisdom. When I work with Jane, it’s kind of like falling in love with someone. You might stumble and she might push you or you might leap, but you’re falling. And it’s deep and dark and fun.
Q. Had you been fans of each other’s work previously?
MOSS: I had been a fan for a very, very long time and was not disappointed. She’s a lovely woman. And for me, I wish I had gotten to do a little bit more with her sometimes.
HUNTER: And for me, working with Elisabeth, the stakes are incredibly high. She brings a demand when she works on the set and I love that.