It’s not often you’ll hear someone bragging about being a prostitute from North Carolina. The prostitution part of that statement is the surprising part, not the part about being from North Carolina.
Ava Mulvoy-Ten is the one so excited about both parts. The London-born actress has not gone to work in the world’s oldest profession nor moved to the South. What she’s talking about is her role as Shae, a 17-year-old selling her body in the latest version of ABC’s “American Crime” from series creator John Ridley.
“It’s just been so much fun because I did a lot of research and started looking into prostitution here and watched a lot of videos where prostitutes get interviewed, and there isn’t really a voice for them,” Mulvoy-Ten says. “A lot of them get killed, and they say that.
“They say that in the interviews. A lot of them get killed, and no one really cares, and nothing is done about it because they don’t have family.”
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The main focus of this season of “American Crime” is immigration issues, but Mulvoy-Ten’s character becomes another story thread. Shae is a woman who is completely alone because of an abusive family. Her last hope comes when Shae meets Kimara Walters (Regina King), a social worker who wants to help those in need. She helps Shae stand up to her pimp.
Because Mulvoy-Ten grew up in England and Spain, the majority of her acting credits are for work done in Europe, including the TV series “Cosas de la vida.” She has appeared in several American productions including “Teen Wolf” and “CSI: Cyber.”
Research for the role in the new ABC production was very eye-opening.
“I, unfortunately, think there’s more people like that than I was initially aware of when I started filming. And I just think it’s really wonderful for John (Ridley) to write a character like that because it’s not easy to watch,” Mulvoy-Ten says. “It’s not an easy character to play either.
“Sometimes I’d get home from work, and I’d have to go on a run at midnight or something because I was so overwhelmed with everything I was feeling, playing her.”
All of her preparations and work manifests itself in a very subtle and controlled performance. She doesn’t remember trying to pull the performance back but that it just came naturally once the cameras started rolling.
Most of the news swirling around Josh Gad these days has to do with how one theater has opted not to show “Beauty and the Beast” because his character of LeFou is gay. This has eclipsed the religious issues that went on during the filming.
“My horse was an anti-Semite,” Gad says.
Gad had been told the horse he would ride in the film had been well trained and he would have no problems. It seems no one told the horse. As soon as the director called action, the steed showed his true feelings.
In the scene, all Gad and his horse had to do was walk side-by-side with Luke Evans, who plays Gaston, and his horse. Instead, Gad’s horse first started walking backwards and then ran through extras and weaved his way through the set.
All Gad could hear while this was going on was laughter. It was coming from the horse’s trainer who swore to Gad he had never seen the horse, whose name is Buddy, act that way before.
It didn’t help that Evans looked like he had been a member of the cavalry all his life as his horse went perfectly through its paces. It helped that it was the same horse Evans had ridden in both “The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug” and “Three Musketeers.”
Gad’s experience was not as good.
“Mine is a cold-blooded killer. I’m begging Disney to press charges against him, and I’ve told my agents to never send me another script with a horse in it again,” Gad says. “I learned a couple of great lessons on this movie, one of which is that Jews don’t belong on horses. Specifically overweight Jews.”
Food for thought: Online reviews can make or break a restaurant. Food Network runs with that idea in the new series “Help My Yelp.” Chef and restaurant consultant Monti Carlo will help struggling food businesses improve their food and service. It debuts at 10 p.m. April 10 on the Food Network.
Close to home: “Nature” will explore the impact climate change has had on Yosemite in the episode airing at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, on KVPT (Channel 18.1). Kevin Kline narrates.