Asa Butterfield, Emma Mackey and Ncuti Gatwa took a wild ride through New Orleans and Nashville, with delicious results
What do you do when you've worked incredibly hard on a project that could be the very thing that rockets you to sudden, international stardom? If you happen to be the young talent behind the smash-hit Sex Education, now out on Netflix, apparently the thing you do is hit the road—earlier this winter, actors Asa Butterfield (Otis), Emma Mackey (Maeve) and Ncuti Gatwa (Eric), jetted off to New Orleans, their first stop on an epic adventure across the American South.
Luckily for the show’s sizable—and suddenly very invested—fanbase, the whole thing was well documented. This weekend, Netflix released a twelve minute (and ten second) video on YouTube, to the delight of everyone who’d had the show's eight episodes on repeat since the January 11 release date.
The team’s first stop was the French Quarter location of Cafe du Monde in New Orleans; dating back to 1862, Cafe du Monde remains the most sought-after vendor of cafe au lait and beignets in Louisiana, where in many communities, both are nearly daily essentials. The hungry trio tackled their sizable haul on a nearby bench, overlooking the Mississippi River. “They were really great, we loved them,” said Mackey.
Next up was a visit to local crawfish king Clesi’s, up in Mid-City, where Mackey, a vegan, mostly looked on in amusement as Butterfield and Gatwa dug into an absolutely massive crawfish boil—that is, after Catering Manager Nick Lewis put the team to work. (Hijinks involving live crawfish ensued.)
Finally, there was a stop at Pat O’Brien’s, for the legendary dueling pianos (thought to be the first, ever) and one of the iconic bar’s even more legendary hurricanes, along with a plate of alligator bites. “Can’t get that in London,” said Gatwa.
After a night of karaoke and wandering around Bourbon Street, it was off to the next stop, Nashville, where the crew stopped by the pint-sized Hog Heaven, a Vanderbilt campus-adjacent spot that’s far from the best barbecue in town; the actors may have been confessed barbecue beginners, but they still weren’t fans. “I have had better meals,” Gatwa confessed. “Fifty shades of beige,” Mackey quipped. (Next time, go for hot chicken. Or Arnold's.)
The rest of the trip—at least what was on the twelve-minute video—was all about shopping, line-dancing lessons, and horseback riding; you can see the whole thing here.
Filmed in a variety of terribly scenic settings both in and along the fringes of Wales, one of many delightful features of Sex Education is the actual location—the home Otis shares with sex therapist mom Jean (Gillian Anderson) sits on a perch overlooking the Wye Valley, one of England’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, just below Symonds Yat, an iconic limestone outcrop with a popular overlook, up top. Looking to see the sights? The home was very recently listed as a holiday rental, and has a YouTube video of its own, shot during the peak of fall colors (or, as they say there, autumn).
Looking for the location of Moordale High, around which Sex Education revolves? That’s the old Caerleon campus of the University of South Wales, tucked away in nearby Newport—unfortunately, the university closed those buildings down not long ago, and the town is still arguing over what to do with it next. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to get in there and film another season. And then maybe another, after that?