Hell Hath No Fury like a Hamptonite Scorn! Or at least that’s what the likes of Madeline Stowe, Henry Czerny and Josh Bowman are about to find out when Emily VanCamp returns to the small screen in ABC’s highly addictive mystery thriller REVENGE. But just how terrified should these actors be of VanCamp’s beautiful and duplicitous Emily Thorne, who returns to the Hamptons to exact — as the title suggests — revenge on the wealthy community that destroyed her family years ago? We caught up with the actors to find out just that. See for yourself after the jump.
Maybe you could talk about your character and the deception in REVENGE, and compare it to your role on BROTHERS & SISTERS?
EMILY: That’s interesting, but I don’t think there was much revenge in BROTHERS & SISTERS. I suppose there’s always a bit of that in families, and a family drama could go hand-in-hand with that I suppose. But this is so different than BROTHERS & SISTERS, which is really what drew me to this role and playing this character. I was so excited to play completely different and really challenge myself, and when it came up, it just seemed ideal. I have so much fun with it.
Will your character be exacting revenge on everyone she meets by the end of the season?
EMILY: I think that’s the question most people ask me in terms of longevity and story. I mean, how far can we go with it? And I really want people to know that there is a master plan, and it’s not as if she just has specific plan and a timeline. Her ultimate goal in this is to ruin these people’s lives long-term. I mean, just short of killing them, she wants to ruin their lives and make them pay and suffer the way that she has suffered. So I think initially in terms of episodes, she is ‘cleaning shop.’ She’s very focused on each take down — and those are so much fun to do. But the relationship with Victoria is so complex and so much more than just ‘I want to ruin your life and I want to get on with life.’ She has no other purpose at this point in her life. The only thing that gives her pleasure is to see these people suffer, which is just so kind of twisted. It’s so much fun, I’ve got to say!
What is it about a role like this that let’s you go outside of your prior roles and pursue a character that you can embody for a period of time that lives so determinedly without consequences?
EMILY: Actually, I take a lot of pleasure in portraying this character. I’ve always played a sweet character, and when I was meeting for this role that was the one thing when I met with Marty Bowen and Mike Kelley and they said, ‘I just don’t think people are going to buy her in this kind of character’ and I was like ‘Okay, then I’m going to prove it to you — because I’ve got a dark side!’ I just really wanted to play something totally different. I think it will lend itself well to the show that I have this lovely following of people who enjoyed the family dramas that I’m from and I think it is kind of fun to see the good-girl turn bad. So it’s so much fun and I think that the character really wouldn’t work unless each side had some vulnerability, and I really tried to bring that to the table as well. I feel for her and you want people to feel for her, to think that everything she’s doing is justified and the only way you can justify this kind of behavior is to really understand the pain that she has gone through and to really understand how bad these people are.
Was it tough to convince them that you do have a dark side and that it could get that dark?
EMILY: I suppose. But that’s always the challenge as an actor — is that people get very attached to what they’ve seen you do, especially the young women in this business, they always want to put you in a box. So you kind of have to fight for these parts and really make sure that you’re getting a chance and if you have to prove it to them, prove it to them — and I did that. I was working with Phillip Noyce, our director, and he’s great at finding those moments, and it all worked out and I was able to prove that. It’s not like I have to draw from personal darkness. It’s playing a character. That’s the job and it’s so much fun. Though I was able to draw from my own personal experiences and my other work, but I really wanted to find something that I could create. Something that I could do — that I could put this character together myself and do the research and create something that wasn’t just fully formed already.
Connor Paulo and Nick Wechsler
Could you describe the complexities of the characters you play in REVENGE? It seems like they come across really as one thing, but that’s not who they really are given what we’ve seen so far. Meaning, it looks like your characters are all squeaky-clean on the outside, yet they are hiding something.
NICK: I think, interestingly, our characters aren’t really hiding anything — at least not yet. I think our characters are the ones who are as they seem, at least for now.
CONNOR: Declan and Jack definitely don’t have the status to uphold. They don’t have the histories of having to deal with success all the time because they were raised on the docks and still work there, and they haven’t really been out in the world enough to rack up these secrets and other nefarious doings. I would hope they get to the point where they can do that, but we’re meeting them at a point in the show where they’re the ones you can kind of trust to be themselves. But we’ll see.
NICK: But there are definitely dirty things that the wealthy need to hide there. That’s why it’s set in the Hamptons. It’s to sort of pull back the curtain on the rich, which is why they chose this setting — only a small percentage of us can relate to being rich. It’s the other characters and Emily are the characters that we relate to — that most of the viewers will relate to — we all kind of want to see rich people bite it, especially when we know they deserve it. Well, we kind of want to see it whether they deserve it or not! [laughter] But especially if we know they’ve been hiding dirty-doings, so we know you’ll enjoy being a part of Emily’s plan in making everybody miserable.
Will Declan and Jack be caught up in Emily’s revenge plan or are they strictly innocent bystanders?
CONNOR: Jack and Declan certainly don’t have ties with the rich inhabitants other than a possible relationship with the people that come during the summer as there is the constant warfare between Townies and vacationers, there is some tension to that. But as of right now, we really don’t know anything about these characters. I think its possible we’ll end up being a part of the revenge, but as of yet, we don’t know and aren’t focusing on that yet.
NICK: My character would not take too much pleasure in taking part. I think he just wants good things for people for the most part. I think if he gets involved it will be reluctantly.
CONNOR: We see that in the first 3 episodes, both Declan and Jack have a reluctance to take the low-road. Both consistently try to do the right thing, despite any issues they might have with them.
NICK: Jack and Declan try not to sink to that level.
Josh Bowman, Christa B. Allen, Henry Czerny
Can you describe you characters and what drew you to the role on REVENGE?
CHRISTA: I play Charlotte Grayson and I feel I connect strongly with Charlotte, as we’re both at similar points in our lives growing up and figuring out how to embrace young adulthood. It’s fun to play a character with such absolutes in her environment and her life such as the Hamptons. And we have a lot of fun on the show!
HENRY: I play Conrad Grayson, father of a very successful family at a time in his life when it is time to have a closer look at what he’s done and how he’s done it and there’s a bit of payback for the way he’s done it. So that’s where he is in his life.
JOSH: I play Daniel Grayson. He really wants to establish his own set of rules, his own master. He doesn’t want just to be someone’s son, he doesn’t care about that or too much about the Hamptons. He wants to establish himself as his own person. I can relate to that and his way of thinking.
What’s the story with Charlotte and how she figures into the story?
CHRISTA: Charlotte is very much about figuring out where she stands. She’s grown up with this family that has this certain status and ideas and yet figuring out whether that’s the path she wants to take. It might be right for her or she might want to hang out at the docks. She might want to see the other side of life. So I think in Charlotte’s world, it is not about betraying her parents as it is about figuring out what she wants — as I think we all do. We can’t follow everything we’re told to. We rebel a little bit. And you just have to find your place. That’s what Charlotte’s doing.
Are there any qualities that you identify in Charlotte?
CHRISTA: Charlotte loves fashion, as do I. She loves to be a part of her family institution and she is very much present in that. No matter how dire it may become, family is still important, and that’s a very important quality to me as well.
It seems that REVENGE is not about ‘how do I get more,’ it’s about ‘how do I stay alive.’ How do you stay ahead of the game on the show?
JOSH: By thinking fast. My character wants to stay out of all that. I guess I [as Daniel Grayson] take a backwards step. That’s what I do. But with Emily, she’s this new girl out-of-nowhere and she’s not like the rest. She’s different and Daniel is attracted to that. So my storyline is pretty much based around us and how I take a step backwards and then back up into what he has always known in his life.
HENRY: For me, in a sense, how does one stay ahead of someone who’s bringing their vengeance upon you? In terms of that, we have writers writing that. But the introduction of the notion that having achieved so much and been a part of this empire, there comes a time when you try to maintain the top of the mountain and it is very troublesome and very tiring. And here comes and entity with whom you will have fought with your life asking you on some level to relinquish your position. . . . But it’s crumbling. It isn’t what it really is – so that might be a possibility.
Gabriel Mann and Ashley Madekwe
Can you talk a little about what surprised you the most initially once you got into the show?
GABRIEL: What surprised me the most? I have to say because I was already sold on the script — I was sold on the concept — it’s kind of like a retro nod back to the nighttime soap-opera that we haven’t seen for awhile in the world of procedurals that we live in right now. So there was something refreshing about that in and of itself when I read the script. But what really surprised me was how much I loved working with this group of people because we have a lot of principal characters in the story and you can never be sure how that chemistry dynamic is going to work, and when we got together it was just so easy and that kind of leaves the drama on the screen opposed to off, which is generally where you’d rather have it — not in the make-up trailer.
ASHLEY: It is fun in the make-up trailer! [laughter]
Gabriel, your character is so deliciously pugnacious. Do you have to reign yourself in a little bit when you’re on screen?
GABRIEL: No, I think we’re going to see levels of a little bit of all of that. I wanted it to be unclear sometimes. Well, not to myself, I know what my own intentions are in sort of playing with this character in his life and his personality. But I think there are a lot of levels that we explore. I can see him potentially being ambiguous — a villain with a heart of gold, or something like that or maybe a heart of platinum — isn’t that worth more than gold these days?
So Nolan’s not just a villain?
GABRIEL: No, he’s not.
ASHELY: I think we agreed that there’s two sides to every story and maybe what makes him a bit difficult to like is that he’s hard to get to know. So that’s maybe that’s part of it. That’s how I see it.
GABRIEL: I think when playing a dark character, you never look at yourself that way. You’re always just —
ASHELY: — not quite evil.
GABRIEL: Yeah, you’re justified in your behavior. There’s always a reason why you do what you do. I think when you do it without reason or motivation, that’s when you start twirling mustaches and tying people to railroad tracks, and that kind of thing. . . But he’s the poster-boy for getting his comeuppance, so we’ll see.
It is said that when an actor plays a character that the audience perceives as bad or evil, that they don’t think of them that way. So what’s the good in Victoria Grayson?
MADELINE: I’m a romantic and you’ll find out that she was deeply, deeply in love with Emily’s father and the fact he was ripped away in the way that it she was sort of railroaded into setting him up — and she made a regretable choice. You’re going to find out Victoria’s own history and it was deeply troubled — deeply so for every character and what they are experiencing. So Victoria and Emily are two-sides of the same coin. Emily is headed towards the same trainwreck, in a way, that Victoria has already had.
Has her regret over that sort of made her the hardened person that we meet in REVENGE?
MADELINE: Yeah, and you’ll see that she’s a very tender as a person. Just think of Faye Dunaway in “Chinatown,” she’s like that.
I don’t think Victoria as a smart woman would not want to investigate Emily because she has got to know in her heart and her mind that there is stuff that ring true?
MADELINE: I think at this moment, she just sees a girl that is sunny and bright and that is showing up at all the right places at all the right times in a way that makes no sense — and she after her son. And she essentially outed Victoria’s husband’s affair with Victoria’s best friend, and Victoria’s like, ‘Okay, consider yourself warned.’ So there is good reason to keep her away. Emily, in my opinion, is a very interesting character and Victoria lives in a world where people try to insinuate themselves in Victoria’s world all the time. And she’s one woman and she’s someone Victoria may have to dispatch.
I get Victoria’s motives, but are we supposed to like her? Do you like Victoria?
MADELINE: I think you have to like her. I know when they tested the show, the audience came back liking her a lot and also fearing her. But I don’t know. I can’t judge her harshly.
What is it about the show that you advocate in things like this?
MADELINE: It’s really interesting. I was discussing analysis with our director and I was going through bloody hell, and he said, ‘You must not do this. It is very important not to shine too strong a light into what is going inside you. These characters are shadowy aspects of ourselves.’ So it’s fun. It’s also not just a procedural which I’m happy about.
What do you think is the core emotion that is underneath everything — under the surface of Victoria’s facade?
MADELINE: She’s hiding in fear. There is something that she — aside from what she did to Emily’s father — there’s something that she doesn’t want exposed. So she is hanging on as long as she can.
To see how Emily Thorne’s tale of vengeance plays out and who will be her first victim as she plots the downfall of the inhabitants of the Hamptons one-by-one, be sure to turn in for the premiere of REVENGE on Wednesday, September 21st at 10PM on ABC (CityTV in Canada). Catch up on past episodes you may have missed for free online at clicktowatch.tv
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to TheTVAddict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).