Nothing like a church to shake up a show like “Survivor’s Remorse.”
In the fourth episode of the awesome new Starz series, which aired Saturday night, besides being my favorite episode to date, it also showcased just what a solid group of actors this new series has, including Erica Ash, whose character, M-Chuck, has a big role in the episode.
First up, usually tough-as-nails, this episode more than any other shows a vulnerable side to M-Chuck and it also shows just how important the family is to each other. In fact, when asked his thoughts about Cam standing up for his gay sister, actor Jessie T. Usher (who plays Cam) kept it short and sweet and said, “When it’s all said and done, family always comes first.”
I talked to Ash a few weeks back about the premiere of the show but here she tells me about shooting this big episode and how some of the extras in the church were not happy with the subject matter.
Do we see some vulnerable sides of her in these first season episodes?
Erica Ash: I think in the fourth episode you see a little bit of a vulnerability when her sexuality is in question in [this] episode. She’s allowed herself to be open and to be vulnerable trusting that this house of God, this place of worship where everybody is welcome and God says come as you are, she can be herself. And then suddenly she’s not allowed to be? And I think that breaks her heart. It really does.
In that moment I feel she feels let down. She feels let down by God because this man of God is supposed to be welcoming and open to her so I think in that sense she's vulnerable and, in a sexuality sense, the vulnerability comes in with Cam obviously in the first episode where she feels like her brother has just made her feel like a leach. And she felt like they had an understanding and it didn't need to be explained but that's what she has to explain to Cam. That's a big deal for her.
Honestly, this is really odd but I think she also feels a little bit of vulnerability with the kid [in episode 3]. Because I think she kind of cares about the kid. She grows to care about him and she's not touchy-feely. She didn't grow up in a touchy-feely household, but she feels something for this little boy. And I think that she is affected when something happens to him. And I think that even though it's a little twisted how she tries to make his wish come true and get naked for him, there's also a little bit of vulnerability in that. She's trying to be sexy and sexual and that's not who M-Chuck is. M-Chuck is like a tomboy, ya know?
I love when you come back running into the church.
EA: Yeah, like a charging bullet train.
Were you in an actual church or was that a set?
EA: We were in an actual church.
That must have been so much fun to shoot in a real church!
EA: It was a lot of fun. It was very interesting because we had a bunch of extras that day, for that scene. And then we explained to them what the scene was going to be and what we were going to be doing, we gave the extras the option to stay or go. And, actually, quite a few of them left. Some of them were very uncomfortable with the idea of, I guess, our retaliation or having that in the church. It was very telling. It was very eye opening. I grew up in the church.
My father was a preacher when I was growing up. My mother became a preacher when I was an adult. So I understand, especially in Atlanta, the Bible Belt. I completely understand that people have their ideas about what's right and what's wrong, what makes you a child of God and what doesn't, what's right and what's not. And I thought that it would be very, very important to explore that because on the other side of that you have the idea, the notion, of churches needing celebrities and faces in order to build up their membership, in order to get more money…and this is not all churches but there are some churches that do cater to celebrities.
I've seen all kinds of churches, and that's one of the churches that I've seen. So I sort of pitched that there should be some sort of play on a church really, really wanting Cam, but then let's discuss how the church really, really feels about his homosexual sister and bring that in. I thought that was a very important theme to touch on because I think at the end of the day what our show is going to do for us and the viewers, is start conversations or add references to conversations that have been going on for years and get people really, really talking and hopefully start to change because sometimes if you see yourself and you see how you've been acting or you see examples of what you've done, that might start to spark you to change up a little bit.
“Survivor’s Remorse” airs Saturdays at 9pm on Starz.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.