‘Re­venge’ re­turns to ba­sics

Sea­son three opens with new showrun­ner Su­nil Na­yar stream­lin­ing much of the plot and mov­ing the nar­ra­tive back to the first sea­son

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - MEDIA& MARKETING - MICHAEL O’CON­NELL

SU­NIL Na­yar talks about cut­ting back on last year’s sto­ry­lines, stay­ing the course with the flash-for­ward for­mula and writ­ing out Ash­ley Madekwe. By many ac­counts, Re­venge took a few ques­tion­able turns dur­ing its sopho­more sea­son. And while the fi­nale seemed to tee up sev­eral more com­pli­cated sto­ry­lines, the show’s sea­son three pre­miere (Thurs­day on M-Net at 7.30pm) found new showrun­ner Na­yar stream­lin­ing much of the plot and mov­ing the nar­ra­tive back to the show’s first sea­son.

“There were cer­tain plot points that maybe could have given us a great story, but they would have taken us away from the lux­ury, ro­mance, fun, se­duc­tion and de­vi­ous­ness of what the show is and what the Hamp­tons are in the sum­mer.”

Tak­ing over from cre­ator and ex­it­ing showrun­ner Mike Kel­ley, Na­yar also used the op­por­tu­nity of the third sea­son’s start to dis­pense with an orig­i­nal cast mem­ber (Ash­ley Madekwe), re­unite spar­ring leads Emily (Emily Van­Camp) and Vic­to­ria ( Madeleine Stowe) and bring back the flash for­ward ve­hi­cle with a de­ci­sive shot of Emily, dressed in a wed­ding grown and get­ting shot in the stom­ach.

Na­yar spoke about the mi­nor re­boot, what char­ac­ters he ex­pects fans to sym­pa­thise with this sea­son and how the writ­ers plan to use new cast mem­ber Justin Hart­ley.

What made you de­cide to keep the flash for­wards as a sto­ry­telling ve­hi­cle?

I know it’s be­come a de­vice that many shows use, and I think it pays ho­mage to how well this show did it in the first cou­ple of sea­sons. This show lives in a place where you have a per­cus­sive en­gine that takes you to some­thing that you are stunned by in the first minute or two in the show, and one of the things I wanted to do is to re­ally make sure to hon­our this mag­nif­i­cent show that Mike cre­ated. And when we came up with what the flash for­ward was, we thought it was too good not to do it.

It’s a lot less vague than the open­ers in the first two sea­sons.

That was one of the main things we wanted to do. Last sea­son’s was so moody and al­most ethe­real. The au­di­ence knew some­thing was go­ing to hap­pen, but they weren’t sure what. We wanted to show them ex­actly what hap­pens to Emily Thorne and for it to be some­thing that feels very de­fin­i­tive. You still don’t know who pulled the trig­ger and why it hap­pens – so those are the more fun ques­tions to an­swer.

Writ­ing out Ash­ley Madekwe was one of the first big events un­der your ten­ure. Why was it time to write her out?

She’s such a won­der­ful ac­tress, and we kept try­ing to find the place for her in the show. She be­came in­te­gral to so many sto­ry­lines, but we never re­ally found a way to make one of her own. For us to try to find other ideas as to what Ash­ley Davenport can do in this world just seemed a lit­tle bit self­ish. It was too late, two sea­sons in, to recre­ate her com­pletely. Peo­ple knew who she was.

She gets a pretty great send­off.

I love the way it was shot. I thought it came out per­fectly. We wanted to give Ash­ley a re­ally le­git­i­mate send-off. The way we thought would be the most fun is to make her wor­thy enough of th­ese two women who can’t stand each other join­ing forces to do it – and to see how won­der­ful Emily is at what she does be­cause she essen­tially ma­nip­u­lates Vic­to­ria into join­ing her take-down.

There were a lot of sto­ry­lines in the air at the end of last sea­son. How did you de­cide which to tie up and move on?

What we wanted to do was make sure the ones we re­ally gave story en­gines to were the ones that brought us back to the world of the Hamp­tons. There were cer­tain plot points that maybe could have given us a great story, but they would have taken us away from the lux­ury, ro­mance, fun, se­duc­tion and de­vi­ous­ness of what the show is – and what the Hamp­tons are in the sum­mer. We de­cided to em­brace the ones that al­lowed us to get back to that ver­sion of the show.

How much of an ob­sta­cle is keep­ing your nar­ra­tive in that three-month span when ev­ery­one is in the Hamp­tons?

It’s a tricky thing. It’s one of the rea­sons that the flash for­ward you see in the sea­son pre­miere doesn’t hap­pen on Labour Day. We made it a lit­tle bit early, which gives us a lit­tle bit of run-off into the sec­ond half of the sea­son for the rest of the sum­mer.

What char­ac­ter or dy­namic were you most ex­cited to ex­plore this sea­son?

One of the peo­ple we’re re­ally look­ing to ex­plore is Ai­den Mathis (Barry Sloane) and to start ground­ing him more in the world of the Hamp­tons. There are scenes in the pre­view that he’s had with Madeleine com­ing up that are so won­der­ful, and it’s such a dif­fer­ent en­ergy. It’s been ex­cit­ing for me and the whole writ­ing staff to now slow it down and re­ally in­ves­ti­gate where our char­ac­ters are now that the ac­tion isn’t so propul­sive.

The pre­miere does seem to tee up Ai­den as a big player this sea­son. How big an ob­sta­cle is he to Emily?

It’s a big role. He’s a ma­jor char­ac­ter and the kind of moves he’s mak­ing are re­ally sur­pris­ing. Barry’s such a won­der­ful ac­tor, and we’re just re­ally blessed to have him and be able to put him more into the world of the show now.

Pa­trick Hart­ley is a pretty clean slate for the writ­ers to work with. How do you want him to func­tion in the show?

H e func­tions as a con­fi­dent new­bie in this world. He’s not a shrink­ing vi­o­let by any means – but, by the same to­ken, what fu­els the peo­ple in the Hamp­tons doesn’t make any sense to him what­so­ever. The Vic­to­ria he’s got to know is not the Vic­to­ria who is at their mercy.

Through Pa­trick, I think we’re go­ing to see what hap­pens to an in­no­cent when they get in­volved in the world of the Hamp­tons. – THR

Re­venge.

MI­NOR RE­BOOT: The cast of

Re­venge.

SEND-OFF: Ash­ley Madekwe is writ­ten out of

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