“I just couldn’t stop crying” reveals Ana Mulvoy Ten during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above) about playing Shae Reese, a teenage runaway caught up in the seedy underbelly of sex trafficking on “American Crime.” The relative newcomer talks candidly about the emotional impact of playing this character, who falls pregnant, but ends up dead after she is shockingly stabbed in the back of her neck. Despite being killed off in such a dramatic way, the actress admits that there were other moments that were even more difficult to shoot. “The death scene was hard,” she admits. “But emotionally, the scene in group therapy in episode three … I was completely wrecked after that. That one was the hardest for me, actually even harder than dying.”
“American Crime” is an anthology series that sheds light on different “ripped from the headlines” issues each season. Season one dealt with violent crime, racial prejudice and drug addiction. Last season tackled socio-economic disadvantage and violence against LGBT people with its story of a rape investigation involving two high school boys. This season the show’s creator, Oscar-winning writer John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”), focuses on undocumented workers, human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
Despite the emotional challenges, Mulvoy Ten is delighted about how much she developed as an actor while working on “American Crime.” “I feel like this show taught me how to act,” she reveals. “There are some things that I tapped into that I didn’t know I even had access to. It made me think that if you work hard enough, you can play any character, no matter how different they are to you.”
A big part of that learning curve was because each actor on this show is told very little about their character from the outset and then week to week. “I knew nothing,” Mulvoy Ten explains. “In the beginning, I thought it was a little peculiar, but I actually prefer to work this way now … I think it makes actors better. It does make you be in the moment.”
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