Re­venge has cast in shock and awe

Cliffhanger leaves ac­tors won­der­ing how safe their jobs are, writes Dianne But­ler

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

SI­LENCE. Shocked, stunned si­lence. This was the re­ac­tion the Re­venge cast had as they sat to­gether and read the script for the sea­son one fi­nale for the first time.

So says Gabriel Mann— tech bil­lion­aire and Emily Thorne’s en­abler Nolan Ross — who when this week’s episode opens is with Emily in a tor­ture room at the white-haired man’s house. The white-haired man who was hired by Con­rad Grayson to murder David Clarke in prison.

‘‘ It’s not a good sit­u­a­tion for any of them at this point . . . es­pe­cially for my char­ac­ter,’’ Mann says. ‘‘ You know, I cer­tainly will not re­veal what hap­pened but when I got that script for the episode when Nolan is put in dire jeop­ardy I just thought, oh my good­ness. Well, I’ve had a great time this year, and I hope you guys en­joy the rest of the show. Be­cause it re­ally is not be­yond the realm that any­thing can hap­pen to any­one, and cer­tainly will by the time you guys get to the end of sea­son one.’’

Yes, that end­ing. Mann likens Re­venge to the lav­ish night­time soaps of decades ago — Mel­rose Place, Dal­las, Dy­nasty — and the clos­ing min­utes on Mon­day night are in­deed in line with TV’s great­est cliffhang­ers. Mann de­scribes it as ‘‘ so over the top ev­ery­body looked at each other and were like, re­ally, Mike Kel­ley?’’

Kel­ley — se­ries cre­ator and writer— is clearly not afraid to kill off char­ac­ters if the show calls for it; not ev­ery­one will get out of this sea­son alive.

But surely not Nolan Ross, the wit­ti­est, hand­i­est, most re­source­ful guy in town. Un­til last week. So tell us, Gabe, why is it pos­si­ble to just open the door of Nolan’s house — the rich­est per­son in the Hamp­tons, vastly richer than the Graysons — and walk inside?

‘‘ Um, yeah, he has a dis­ap­pear­ing body­guard, doesn’t he? Well, I no­ticed that de­tail as well, and I thought, you know, at this point if this guy hasn’t learnt his les­son he’s got what­ever’s com­ing to him. I would like to de­fend him by say­ing he’s much too dis­tracted by all the tech­nol­ogy that’s roam­ing around in his mind and all his re­venge plans, but hon­estly I got noth­ing. There have been dis­cus­sions with the writ­ers. I said, ‘ Where’s Big Ed, what hap­pened to Big Ed?’, and they said, ‘ Oh, he’s on a spe­cial black ops mis­sion to So­ma­lia’. Oh God, OK. And I think at one point we even had a line we had put in that said that but I think we were also think­ing about hav­ing him re-emerge. I can’t even keep it straight, God bless our writ­ers.’’

Nolan needs bet­ter se­cu­rity. He can’t get by on dol­phins alone. ‘‘ No,’’ Mann says. ‘‘ The metal dol­phin sculp­ture is pleas­ing to the eye but it’s not go­ing to stop him get­ting choked up by some psy­cho.’’

But there are ac­tors well ahead of Mann — a for­mer Calvin Klein model whose films in­clude The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Iden­tity and who was Betty Draper’s rid­ing in­struc­tor Arthur Case on the sec­ond sea­son of Mad Men — who’d be on the you’d imag­ine.

‘‘ Oh you might be sur­prised,’’ he says. ‘‘ I try to squeeze ev­ery last inch of life out of the ex­pe­ri­ence as I can. It’s the na­ture of the beast, isn’t it — there’s no job se­cu­rity in Hol­ly­wood. Get­ting on a tele­vi­sion show is about as close as it gets, but at the same time they can pull the plug on you for any rea­son.’’

One of the big eth­i­cal tus­sles all sea­son has been does Emily have killer in her? Mann says we’ll know by the end of this week’s episode, at least in part.

‘‘ I can’t ever be straight­for­ward when it comes to Re­venge. It’s al­ways slip­pery. That’s the beauty of this show. Re­ally, on any given week when we get our new scripts any­thing and ev­ery­thing could hap­pen and it does. You have to be ready to sort of twist on the dime to say, ‘ Oh, OK, now I have to take this per­son who I think is go­ing to be a love in­ter­est and melt into a psy­chopath’. Some­body looks at you the wrong way, all of a sud­den you’ve gone evil.’’

list to go, Re­venge, Chan­nel 7, Mon­day, 8.30pm

Hard cell: Gabriel Mann as Nolan Ross in Re­venge, and (right) in a scene with Emily VanCamp

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