Revenge has cast in shock and awe
Cliffhanger leaves actors wondering how safe their jobs are, writes Dianne Butler
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