Actors can fake many things. But you can’t fake a bloody lump on the forehead or a bruised body shivering in fear to the point where you bleed and urinate in an Uber as you tell the driver to “please go… just go.”
On the morning of September 7, Melissa George staggered out of her penthouse apartment and crumpled on the ground in one of the most upmarket districts of Paris, just 150m from the Madeleine Church.
Owais Atique - a Pakistani-Frenchman - answered the Uber call at 2.24am and almost drove away when he saw her.
He thought she was another drunk until he saw the red blood stains on her white blouse.
Melissa George - one of Australia’s best acting exports - was delirious and collapsed on the ground.
The details of that harrowing night will air tonight in a tell-all television interview on Seven's Sunday Night.
Owais helped her into his Audi. Her blood smeared across the window and door handle.
He kept his car spotless and always wore a suit when he worked but right now he didn't care where the blood went.
She said: "He hit me".
The man she was talking about was Jean-David Blanc, the wealthy 48-year-old French entrepreneur she met at a BAFTA after party in 2011 and who is the father of her two children, Raphael and Solal.
I meet Owais outside his father's Pakistani restaurant in inner-city Paris and he is still shaken as he remembers the night.
"She was crying - just crying - and saying 'I am scared, I am scared, please go... he will find me, I'm scared'," Owais tells Sunday Night.
"'I have my two babies in the apartment'.
"I say to her 'stay here, I will go'.
"She said 'no, my boys are with my babysitters... I want to go to the police station'."
He points to his head: "She was bleeding here, (she said) he took my head and...'".
That night, Melissa told him what had happened but Owais struggles to explain in his broken English. So he demonstrates by grabbing an invisible head with his hands and banging it against his car door.
"She was in a lot of pain," he said.
"It's horrible. I was crying too.
"I am young. I am just 22 years (and) for me it's the first time I see a person in pain and crying."
Owais wanted to take Melissa to hospital but she said she wanted to go to a police station.
When he took her there, she vomited. Jean David Blanc was arrested the next morning.
Two weeks later, Owais received a phone call.
"I'm Melissa George. I was crying in your car and you went with me to the police station," she said. She visited him at his father's restaurant and thanked him.
"She's a very nice person," he says.
"I didn't know who she was when it happened. She was just a normal customer.
"I don't watch English tv or movies."
Melissa George has stayed silent for the past six months as the assault and custody battle has played out in the French courts and the
Jean-David has denied attacking her and has accused her of trying to kidnap their children when she boarded a private plane with them a week after the fight.
But in Paris last week, a desperate and emotional Melissa George agreed to meet me. She said she was ready to tell her story.
"I want to get home," she says.
Did Paris feel like home any more?
"I have two kids that were born here so yeah, it is home but it is not, Australia is home.
"I work in America, my kids are a third Australian, a third American and a third French so we're part of all these countries, and to be
blocked here with no way out, no family, no ability to work, no visa, no insurance, no help, no support from the father, no nothing. Zero."
In the living room of an apartment in which a friend is letting her stay, we arrange two chairs opposite each other.
Her boys' fluffy toys are scattered in the room next door but Raphael and Solal are not home.
It is the first week of a custody arrangement ordered by a French judge in which the children will spend every second week with her.
This week, they are with Jean-David.
Without an agent involved, without PR, without any conditions, Melissa George has agreed to talk about September 7. The night she collapsed in a bloody heap opposite The Madeleine Church. The night an Uber driver named Owais Atique almost drove away and left her there. The night everything changed.
She smiles and says she's nervous.
The camera rolls. For her, it is not only risky, but deeply personal.
I ask her: "At 3am on September 7, you walked into a police station and said you'd been assaulted. What happened?"
She takes a deep breath. And then she tells me.
Watch Melissa's full interview tonight 8:30pm on Channel 7.