Content warning: This story references depictions of sexual assault on television.
Actress Deborah Ayorinde has explained how her work on the horror-drama series Them led her to seek out therapy.
The series, which premiered back in April on Amazon Prime Video, follows the Emorys, a Black family who move to an all-white neighborhood in 1950s Los Angeles.
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Speaking to Indiewire, Ayorinde, who plays Lucky Emory in the show, explained in detail how a therapist came on-set during rehearsals for the fifth episode, which involved a flashback of a gang of racists raping Lucky and murdering her baby. The traumatic scene was only filmed a select number of times.
“It was a very heavy day, to say the least,” she said.
“We literally sat down [and] made a plan, top to bottom five times at the top of the day, and then anything after that would literally be bits and pieces.
“[The therapist would] come to set [to be there] if anyone wanted to talk with her.”
Afterwards, Ayorinde ended up calling the therapist at the end of the day, and entered therapy outside of what was available on set, telling Indiewire “your body doesn’t know whether you’re telling the truth or acting”.
“Every bit of fear, the fight or flight, every bit that I imagined someone going through I actually felt,” she explained.
“Lucky required a lot of experiences in me that I’d hidden, that I was so comfortable leaving swept under the rug… [Lucky] tore that rug up.”
During the interview, Ayorinde also noted she has since been able to “shed the character”, and said she wouldn’t hesitate to work again with Them creator Little Marvin.
For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.
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