'Ray Donovan' star strives for sexy note

Paula Malcomson as Abby Donovan in "Ray Donovan."
Paula Malcomson as Abby Donovan in "Ray Donovan."
Posted: August 29, 2014


9 p.m. Sunday, Showtime.

DO NOT EVEN think about talking trash about Abby Donovan.

Because "Ray Donovan" star Paula Malcomson has her character's back.

The actress' real accent owes more to her native Northern Ireland than to Abby's South Boston, but the "Deadwood" veteran is as fearless in her own way as Abby, who in the second season of the Showtime drama has been challenging her Hollywood fixer husband Ray (Liev Schreiber) inside their bedroom and out.

If you're behind on the season, whose eighth episode, "Sunny," premieres Sunday, please put this aside until later. Because there will be spoilers. Also: adult topics.

For starters, there's the scene at the end of the July 20 episode in which Abby, surprised by Ray with the news that he's going to buy her the house of her dreams, surprises him in a way that might be interpreted as payback.

"That was actually scripted as 'they have sex,' " Malcomson said in an interview this summer during a CBS/Showtime party in West Hollywood.

"And there was something about it, when I walked in and he was standing there, in that room, with all those glass walls. And it was, cinematically - I said to the director and [to show creator] Ann Biderman, 'It would be amazing if I just [performed oral sex on] him.' And everybody said, 'Yeah, it's a great idea.' And we were short of time that day, so that's how that happened."

When I wondered how often actors say "it would be amazing" if their characters did something like that, she replied, "I don't know if they say stuff like that, but I do."

Amazing or not, Malcomson doesn't think viewers should interpret the scene as Abby rewarding Ray for buying her a multimillion-dollar house.

"Definitely not," she said.

The two characters have been at odds in the bedroom, though, over what Abby's beginning to see as Ray's hypersexual response to having his own childhood abuse dredged up.

"They have a very sexual relationship to start with. When we started doing this show, I said, 'I don't want it to be Tony and Carmela [Soprano]. I want them to be sexy and to have sex. I want them to have a lot of chemistry and to have that the sex is a really big part of their relationship. So she's talking to this shrink, and it's sort of these new ideas, and he's telling her maybe this is inappropriate, this sexuality. Maybe this two times a day is hypersexual behavior, is down to [Ray's history of] abuse," she said.

"There's so much in this season around this whole issue. Everybody kind of acts out."

Including Abby, who's recently begun an affair that her husband, a chronic cheater himself, is only just learning about.

Malcomson didn't appear to consider Abby's behavior this season part of any exit strategy.

"I think she's, you know, for better or for worse, she's in this thing and she's trying to make it work. She's trying to make it work in a way that she can," she said.

"I think when Abby looks at Ray, she still sees the young man. She doesn't see the monster. She sees the boy that she fell in love with, I think, at times. And so she forgives him a lot. But it's sort of like doubling down this year, you know?"

And though much has been made of Abby's seeming social ambitions - she wants out of Calabasas, she wants her kids in an exclusive private school - the decision to stay or not stay with Ray would not, Malcomson insisted, be about the money.

"She has a sort of idea of what L.A. is, but . . . for her, the suburbs are crushing confines, you know, and she feels like she's been put there like a bird in a cage. But the notion of Truesdale [site of the dream house] is not exactly - it's like she's seen it in a magazine or something. I don't think she's ever thought about it," she said.

"She's at home too long, the kids are leaving the house now, so it's the good schools, it's the house in Truesdale" that obsess her. "But I've never believed that she's a materialistic girl. I've never believed that. It's sort of written, but I've never really played her that way," she said.

"I think she doesn't want any of these things. I think she wants her husband to talk to her."

Email: graye@phillynews.com

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