Actress, singer, composer, Mair Mulroney has one million followers on TikTok and is a regularly featured character in the wildly popular Dhar Mann series of videos on YouTube. She currently stars in the full length feature Unchained on Amazon Prime Video and recently took some time to chat with us at 519.
You have a new movie, “Unchained”, that came out on Amazon Prime on July 2. Is this your first feature film that you’re starring in?
I would say as the lead role, yes. I’ve had starring roles, but more of a co-star thing where I’m not the main protagonist, so this is pretty exciting.
Tell me a little bit about the movie.
My character is a girl who’s pretty down on her luck. She comes from a military background. She’s just having a hard time finding a job and she sees this audition notice for a film that’s casting a fight film and because she has martial arts experience and fight training, she thinks, “Oh, well, maybe this could be a good job opportunity for me.”
So she goes to the audition and it turns out that it’s all a ploy where the casting is not real. They’re just trying to see if you have flight experience, then they end up kidnapping these girls who go to the audition and throw them into this world of underground fighting. You have to fight to survive and obviously my character’s trying to escape and she definitely can’t compete with most of the girls at first. She’s in a very interesting state of mind for half the film and then she starts to come into her own and develop her skills.
It was really interesting. Eric Roberts plays your father at the beginning. You didn’t actually act directly with Eric, did you?
No, but I was there for the filming of it so I was sitting right next to him while they were filming. He wasn’t actually acting with me because that was a flashback scene for when I was a little girl.
There were some interesting dynamics in the movie and a lot of questions when the movie ended. Some things are left for you to figure out yourself, like the relationship with the Eric Roberts character and Rhett Shepherd, who it appears in the movie is the character’s real father, but it’s never really explained, is it?
No, it’s not, and they wanted to leave that open for a potential sequel. I think that was our main idea because we filmed this before the pandemic and we were going to release it in 2020 and then we were expecting we’ll put this out, get some interest in it, and then go into a sequel for it. The industry kind of shut down and that didn’t really get to happen. Hopefully with the release now it gains enough attention where people do want to see a sequel and want the finished story because that would be a lot of fun to do. It would be great to work with a lot of the cast members again, the ones that, you know, survived.
How did you get involved with this production?
A good friend of mine is Ilia Constantine and also John Bryan, and they’re the producers of the film. Ilia was actually a co-writer of the film and the director, Raphaello, have a really good working relationship. They had been throwing the idea around for this film that they wanted to make, and because we’re friends and we’re all in the industry, we were tossing ideas back and forth. When they had a rough outline of the script, they sent it to me and I was like, “Yeah, I think that this is a really cool kind of take.” I always thought about it as a different take on sex trafficking, you know? So I was interested in it and they said, “Well, do you want to be in it?” I said sure, cool, and they said, “Great, you start training on Monday.”
So I started fight training with a couple of other girls, Svetlana Constantine was also in it. She and I started training pretty early together and I didn’t know what role they had in mind for me. I thought I would just be one of the fighting girls or something like that or maybe a smaller part. I thought maybe I would be playing Maricris’s role at one point and then they finalized the script and said, ‘We want to cast you as Aella, the lead role.” I think a lot of that had to do with me going through the training and making sure that I wasn’t going to give up halfway through and be like, that’s just too much, too physical type of thing.
Almost like the actual script of the movie. They wanted to see if you had what it takes, right?
Yeah, it’s like art imitating life quite a bit or vice versa, which happens a lot actually. That’s very funny, I’m glad you noticed that.
How’d you like working with Larry L. Andrews? I love his character. He’s one of those characters, kind of a doofus really, that almost seems familiar, like everybody knows a Larry.
Everybody knows a Larry for sure. Oh, God, he is a character in real life. He’s a really nice guy actually, he’s very sweet, but he did stay in character a lot, especially for the first half of the film. I’m the type of person who can turn it on and off really quickly so there’s not too much methodology that goes into it. For me, as soon as they yell cut, I’m buddy buddy with everybody for the most part but not everybody works that way. So he was respectful of that and was like, “Hey, if I need to really creep these girls out and be a creeper, I’m just going to be a creeper the whole time.” That’s how he behaved for the first three quarters of shooting. When we started getting towards the end, everybody was comfortable and we really got to start to know him as a person. He was interesting to work with for sure.
You also are a musician, singer, songwriter. Were you asked to write the song for the movie at the end?
No, I wasn’t asked, I guess because I had never worked with Raphaello before and he’s very particular about what the score is going to be. So it was like, okay, she’s a musician, great, but if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit, so I am not going to make any promises. I said, Yeah, but I think you’re going to want this one. So I, I wrote it and co produced it with my production partner, Marc Solomon and I thought it would be a great fit so I sent it to them. I sent them a couple others for soundtrack stuff, more instrumentals, but we didn’t end up going with that, but they did end up using the actual song for the end credits of the movie which became like a theme song for it which was really cool. It just happened to fit perfectly.
Yeah, it is a great song. You do have a fair bit of experience with this as well, right? Didn’t you write jingles for commercials and that sort of thing?
I haven’t written jingles for commercials, I’ve done more soundtrack work though on other films and stuff. What I’ve done for the jingles is I’ll play it, I’ll sing it if I’m in the commercial and whatnot, and then demo some vocals and stuff, but a lot of times it’s somebody else who’s written it and then they bring me in to be the talent, so to speak.
How did you get your start in the business? You started out as a musician?
I had done some commercial modeling and a little bit of acting when I was in high school and I knew that I wanted to be in entertainment and college was not going to be a thing for me. Quickly it transitioned into music and I got my first distribution deal by the time I was eighteen or nineteen. That was with Warner Music Group and they went over to Universal after a couple of years and I was with them for a few years and that’s what brought me out to LA.
Once I got here, the music industry is very, very tough, especially for a young person. It can be really toxic, it just depends on who you’re surrounded by. I unfortunately was not very lucky to have good management or label reps so we had a bit of a falling out and that left me like, “Alright, well, I’m going to do the independent thing.” I needed more income and it turned out that I just fell into acting through music. I met a talent manager who ended up auditioning me and signing me to an agency and immediately I started working really consistently. It definitely took over the music for a while and then I was able to mesh the two together and I feel like there is a good balance now, but for a while it was just acting and I was like, “So am I an actor now? Like what’s going on?”
You did have some parts in a couple music videos as well, right?
Yeah, I’ve done a lot of music videos, that’s for sure.
I actually really loved the Katy Perry video. It was really cool, I loved the whole theme. I was able to pick you out because of the hat you wore, I loved the hat.
Oh, yeah, that was a really fun shoot. It would get really hot during the day and I’m wearing this latex suit type of thing, and then it would be freezing as soon as the sun went down, so you’re sweating, and I know this is gross, but your sweat is trapped in this latex and then it freezes, so I was so cold I had little welts all over me. They rented out Magic Mountain for three days to do that but it was really, really cool. It was an awesome set and I’m still friends with a lot of the people I met there.
You released an EP a couple years ago.
Yeah, I did, I’ve released several EPs and I’ve taken a bunch of them down because that’s not really where my head is anymore. I don’t think it’s the right representation of me, but I did release one and now I just release more singles. I have a musical project with Marc Solomon called “Keep it Simple Stupid”. That’s our band name because we tend to over think everything that we do, but that’s a fun project that has a lot of good songs there.
It’s a really beautiful video that you shot for the song “Fallin”.
Oh, thank you so much! That was a friend of mine who directed that, Hussain Najam. He was the director of cinematography for a short film that I did that won a bunch of awards in the festival circuit.
Was that “Greetings from Los Angeles?” I loved that short.
No, it was a different one, but “Greetings from Los Angeles” was super cool. That was really one of my favorite shoots to date because I just got to do so many cool things and go to visit so many cool places. Javier was an amazing director and just the sweetest guy in the world. The one that Hussain did is called “Candy and Ronnie” and that one is a little bit of a darker piece, but it was really well shot. So he hit me up and said, “Hey, I would love to do a music video for you. Do you have any ideas?” and I said yeah and we shot that and it ended up turning out pretty well.
Tell me about the Dhar Mann videos. I had never heard of these before I did my research for this interview and it struck me as, “Holy cow, he’s done a ton of these things!”
Yeah, it’s a pretty incredible story honestly. They reached out to me a couple of years ago when they were first starting to do these inspirational shorts mainly for Facebook. It was Dhar Mann doing the voiceover and he would have these actors acting out the scene but it was usually more M.O.S. (silent shot) than anything, then transitioned into scripts and eventually started to evolve. But yes, they reached out a couple of times and said, “Hey, you have this look that we want for this particular sketch, would you be willing to do it?” It was a very small skeleton crew at the time, but still very professional. Everybody was really nice and I just enjoyed the people so they kept calling me for more and more videos and it was a lot of fun.
Over COVID it really developed into something completely out of this world. They ended up working out of a penthouse in downtown Los Angeles. They bought a huge studio in Burbank this past summer and opening it up, Dhar Mann Studios. The sets in there are insane. They’ve got two different apartments, they have a plane, a courthouse, a school. It’s really incredible the growth that’s happened and now they’ve got multiple filming crews around the clock and it’s really taken off. We have over 20 billion views worldwide on all social media platforms. It’s just mind blowing to know from its inception, where it came from and how quickly it got to where it is, just mind blowing.
I think it is insane because when I looked it up, I think five or six million followers on YouTube and like you said, 20 billion views? That’s the entire planet three times over.
Yeah, it’s pretty nuts. A lot of it I think comes from Facebook too because of the sharing ability. I have videos that have over three hundred million views on there. It’s absolutely mind blowing. For young people, for kids, if I’m going anywhere and there’s children around, it’s a mob because they all watch the videos. It’s like their new Disney Channel kind of thing, it’s really cool. I’m so proud of everybody involved, honestly.
I don’t even understand TikTok yet and you’ve got almost a million followers there.
Honestly I’m hoping I hit a million today. I’ve got 5000 more followers, and I just posted a new video this morning so I’m thinking I’ll be at a million by the end of the day.
Do you think TikTok has taken off because people are just tired of Facebook and all the toxicity?
Yeah, there’s a good chance of that. I think it’s fun, it’s light hearted, It’s very easy to go viral. I guess who’s to say that it’s easy because I don’t know how exactly the algorithm works, but you can do something silly and fun and millions of millions of people will see it, like it and share. It’s definitely not as much of a toxic community where you’ll always get some comments that aren’t super nice or whatever, but I would say 98% of them are just supportive people who are bored and want to have fun and watch something silly or connect with people or do a funny dance or make a funny skit and it’s kind of a cool platform in that regard.
You’ve got a lot of projects in post production right now, don’t you?
I think COVID put a halt on certain ones that I had filmed my parts in and then it goes into the post production thing. I have one project that I’m so excited about, it’s a Star Wars project that’s called “Sands of Fate”. It’s coming together pretty well. I actually just saw la little teaser this morning that they put out on their Instagram page. I’m excited for that one to come out.
Is it Official Star Wars?
No, it technically falls under the fan film category because it’s not owned by Disney, but the people who are working on it all work for Disney. They work on the Mandalorian and stuff like that and the production company is Escape Velocity Content, and they are partnered with Ryan Reynolds and his production company so it’s very high quality work and you really are in the Star Wars world when you show up to set.
It’s unbelievable, the droids, the characters, the costumes. Some of the actors are from the Mandalorian and stuff like that. One of the actors plays C3PO, his name’s Chris Bartlett. Tim Martin, our director, is also a really famous sculptor, and he works on the Mandalorian and creates all of their characters. It’s a cool place.
It feels very real and is about as close to the real Star Wars world as you’re going to get.