Season 3 of the critically-acclaimed TV series American Crime on ABC (which began airing on March 12) is set in Alamance Country, North Carolina, and focuses on the concept of the “American Dream” and labor issues. While much of the season is dedicated to migrants working on the farms, another storyline deals with some of the painful realities that occur with domestic workers as well.
One star of the show, Mickaëlle X. Bizet, won’t make an appearance on American Crime until April 2. In a recent interview, Bizet shared with the Inquisitr how eerily similar her own personal story is to the character she plays on the show.
Bizet’s character on American Crime and her personal story are very similar.
Bizet explained, “I came to America to be an au pair, well basically, a nanny for a family in Boston. We both speak French and we are both black and we both came to America to become nannies for American families, so it’s insane… I did not have that drama. Mine was basically a sitcom.”
On American Crime, Timothy Hutton plays Nicholas Coates, who is a furniture supply business owner whose wife, Clair (played by Lili Taylor), wants to hire a Haitian woman named Gabrielle (Mickaëlle) to serve as the family’s nanny, but according to ABC, her employment comes at steep price. Mickaëlle explains that like herself, Claire came to America hoping to make a better life for herself.
“Those were my hopes [too],” Mickaëlle explained. “To create a better life and pursue the ‘American Dream.’ So I was super excited and my eyes were wide open and she was too. Her [story] gets her down very shortly after she gets here, so, it was like her ‘American Dream’ turns into an ‘American Crime’ almost.”
Although Mickaëlle X. Bizet was seeking employment as an au pair, her first love has always been acting. When she was a little girl, she would write out the line from various movies and perform them in her room with her sister and brother.
“I really truly believe that I had this desire [to act] before I was born. My mom would tell me, ‘No, you’re going to be a teacher. You’re going to be a lawyer. You’re going to do this. You’re going to do that.’ I would try, but then I would so depressed,” she explained.
Fortunately for her, one of the requirements for becoming an au pair was that she would have to take a college class somewhere. While other au pairs made plans to choose a class from Harvard, Mickaëlle X. Bizet’s chose an acting workshop instead. However, mum was the word regarding telling her mother about her choice of classes at first.
“You know daughters and moms and how there is always this kind of tension? I’ve realized that it’s because she’s a mom and she wants you to be safe. I wasn’t going to tell her, because I was like, ‘Nobody is going to ruin my joy. I don’t care who you are.’ But when I realized that it wasn’t just an acting job, because it was so close to my life, I decided to tell her,” she said.
The actress’ mother knew that her daughter’s new gig was big, but she didn’t realize just how big it really was. When she found out that her daughter would be appearing on the same show as Felicity Huffman, she became very excited for her.
“She was like ‘That’s the woman from Desperate Housewives!” Bizet stated. “She told me the other day that she wanted me to know that she sincerely from the bottom of her heart was so happy for me because she knows that I have been driven about this from the day I was born.”
When asked what it was like to work with Lili Taylor and Timothy Hutton, Mickaëlle got very excited.
“Oh my gosh! I was in awe,” she explained. “I had most of my scenes with Lili and she’s a tiny woman. She’s petite, but the way she behaves on set, her professionalism is like a super powerhouse. You just don’t see her as tiny anymore. She had to drive the car while the director and some people in the back were talking to her and to me and she has to look at the road, she has to look at me and she had to speak French! It was a completely different language that she didn’t speak before. No complaints, no nothing. Just get down to business and do what you gotta do. I was like, ‘I’m never ever going to complain on set,’ I mean, I’ve never done it, but when you see things like that, you’re like there’s no way. There’s no reason.”
She is just as in awe of Timothy Hutton as well, but for another reason. For some reason, Mickaëlle wasn’t formally introduced to Hutton before filming her first scene with him.
“My first introduction to him was when [the director] said, “Action!’ That was my first time meeting him and I had to start my scene. He is so into [his part] and so in the moment and right there and he has piercing blue eyes and he walks into this room wearing this suit and he’s standing right in front of me and I say my lines.”
Mickaëlle doesn’t feel as if she has “arrived” just because she has a part on American Crime. She still sees herself as a student.
“This is like my first time at this level of the game, so I’m not trying to be all like ‘I’m so cool because I get to work with you.’ I was like, ‘I’m going to learn as much as I can from these people.’ So instead of trying to be cool with Lili Taylor and trying to be cool with Tim Hutton, I’ll just observe them. I’ll just watch and see how they do, what they do, and how they behave on the set and see what I can do. It’s like the best school ever,” she explained.
When asked what she hopes that viewers get out of watching the show, she said, “I’m just hoping that people would begin to empathize with people that they don’t know. With all of the assumptions that we make about people, not realizing that what you’re thinking is not what is really happening. I’ve never thought about domestic workers and what they go through and then I started putting two and two together with people in my life that I know are actually going through this and I was like, ‘Oh, this is insane.'”
[Featured Image by JeanPaul SanPedro]