8 Questions With Paula Malcomson

Actress Paula Malcomson of crime drama Ray Donovan finds swear words 'really beautiful'

Actress Paula Malcomson says she enjoys using the strong language in TV series Ray Donovan and brushes off critics


The name might not be immediately familiar but chances are you have seen Northern Irish actress Paula Malcomson's work on both the small and big screen.

In the well-received crime drama Ray Donovan, she plays the wife, Abby, to Liev Schreiber's title character. They uproot from South Boston to Los Angeles, where Ray is a fixer for the rich. His scheming, criminal father is played by Jon Voight.

Season 2 premieres on Fox Movies Premium tomorrow.

Malcomson, 44. who is single, has also starred as a prostitute in the award-winning western series Deadwood (2004-2006) and appeared on many more shows, from medical drama ER to motorcycle club drama Sons Of Anarchy to Battlestar Galactica spin-off sci-fi series Caprica.

On the big screen, she can be seen as the heroine's mother in The Hunger Games series.

Asked what she can reveal about season 2 of Ray Donovan, she says over the telephone from Los Angeles: "It's another very tense, very bloody, very visceral season. It's even more intense and the family is even more messed up. They don't allow me to tell very much, otherwise I'll get into trouble."

She adds with a laugh: "You should ask the writers."

1 What drew you to the role of Abby Donovan?

It was a very good script for the pilot and the relationships were something I was interested in. I thought that she was very much a woman and he was very much a man and that was very clear. I just got intrigued by that couple.

2 How did you go about creating the character?

Maybe you start with the Boston accent and knowing there's some sort of imagining of their history and working class background. And you get the actor that you're going to work with most, and that's Liev, and you just build from there.

The writing's very important to what we do. But sometimes, it's not all written so you have to create something that's not quite on the page and that's the fun in building a character.

3 Are the sex scenes awkward to do?

Not always, no. I try to look it at like everything else, like any other scene because if it's in the writing, it's necessary. I try to just tackle it the same way I do anything else.

I've worked on cable TV for a long time, so it's not new to me. For me, it's an opportunity to go deeper and tell a deeper story of a character.

4 What do you think of the strong language used in shows you have done, from western Deadwood (2004-2006) to Ray Donovan?

I grew up in Belfast, so I'm not a stranger to it. I enjoy it, to be able to use language in that way. It's more realistic, you can use it like a rapper. I love that we don't have a lot of censorship in that way.

I actually find swear words really beautiful. Deadwood was a great example of how to use language really, really well and those words were important. Here, without the real language, you wouldn't be able to really discover who these people are and what they're made of.

5 You have gotten quite a bit of flak for your Boston accent. Vulture.com asked: "Does Ray Donovan's Paula Malcomson have the new worst Boston accent?" How do you deal with that?

Well, it hurts my feelings. We chose our accents very carefully and we worked on them very hard. Everyone's a critic and people are protective of the Boston accent. But I've actually never met a person from Boston who criticised my accent, it's people who imagine what they think a Boston accent is and to their ear, it's over the top.

I wanted Abby to have a stronger accent than Ray because she's still holding on to her roots and she hasn't really assimilated in the same way.

6 If you had a fixer to take care of your problems in real life, what would you want fixed?

I have a really long list. I'll probably just have him beat up anyone's who's ever been mean to me. I'd love a fixer, my gosh, who wouldn't?

7 What is it like to be part of the blockbuster franchise that is The Hunger Games?

I feel great about it. That was a really nice little extra gift for me. I didn't have to do a lot of heavy lifting in those movies. It was a nice sort of break from what I normally do.

8 How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who's great and unafraid to do the work.


Season 2 of Ray Donovan premieres on Fox Movies Premium (SingTel mio TV Channel 414, StarHub TV Channel 622) tomorrow at 10pm.

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