November 23rd, 2011 by thetvchick
I don’t think I can ever say enough good things about Revenge. The story of Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke and her plot to take down the powerful people of the Hamptons who wronged her and her father is just so soapy and wonderful. Each week, I find myself legitimately craving more. Crucial parts of her plan have come to involve the help of Nolan Ross — the quirky, young billionaire, who knows Emily’s true identity — played by Gabriel Mann. I recently chatted with Mann about Nolan and his many relationships, Nolan’s backstory and just how crazy things are about to get on the show.It was seriously one of my favorite interviews to date, because there’s obviously so much more to Nolan that we haven’t even touched on yet.
I absolutely adore the show. I look forward to it every week, and always find myself sad I have to wait another week for a new episode.
It’s so funny because it almost feels as if it wants to be set up so people can watch every single day. I think viewers are generally like, you guys are just cruel to make us wait a week. I guess as a result, we try and pack in as much in each episode as you can possibly imagine. But that’s the fun of it, too. Because we cover so much ground each time and I got to remember because there’s always so much major stuff that goes down, I was like, what happens in ep eight now? Right, okay. I have to literally go back through my scripts and remember what bomb we dropped in this episode. It’s kind of the aftermath in everything that happened in episode seven, will kind of unfold over the next few episodes as well.
Good, I’m excited. And what drew you in when you read the script originally to Nolan?
What was interesting is that I hadn’t done a lot of TV, I’d done a little bit. I’d worked on a season of “Mad Men,” but that wasn’t really my acting background so much. So I guess when last pilot season rolled around, I noticed I had been watching a lot more TV and that a lot of the people I worked with in films were now in television. And so, I thought, in conjunction with the people I worked with and so forth, it was like, well why don’t you read some scripts this year, and see if you respond to anything. I think they must have sent like, four scripts for pilots that came my way. One of them was a police procedural, but interesting. Another one was, I think, a Once Upon a Time/Grimm type show that actually didn’t end up going. So I’m real happy I didn’t do that one. (laughs) And then this one came, and I thought oh, okay, this is kind of like a breath of fresh air. It’s totally a serialized drama. There’s a whole series of really interesting characters that potentially we would get a chance to all interact at some point or another. And I was a big fan of Mike Kelley’s from before the show with “Swingtown.” And to be honest, it was just the audition pages that they sent me for the character. I was like what is this guy about? I never get to read characters that were at least in my mind, so complex. It just wasn’t my experience. Usually I am the guy who’s dumping the girl, or I’m getting dumped or I’m like, the benign nice guy.
I was like, are they really going to let me take the money and run with this? And so I just thought, well what the hell? Let me go in and see how they respond to my interpretation of this character, which at the time that I went in was definitely a little bit different from what you see on screen now. But I guess it must have been some strange interpretation to it that they kind of liked, and then, that was it. I found out the next day that they wanted me to do it, and it was just a no-brainer. I was ready to do an interesting show. And then of course, you’re in a horse race, because you have to see, well will the pilot get picked up? Will anyone watch? And then do you get the back 9? And how many episodes? It’s just so different than films. You get the film, you do the film, it’s over, that’s it. And this thing continues to evolve as we’re in it. There’s something very organic about continuing to be working and shooting on it as its come out, as everybody is sort of reacting to it. And so it’s interesting sometimes to see how that affects you as you’re in the middle of shooting. If you’re getting feedback — Oh, I like this or I don’t like that — do you continue to go in that direction, do you adjust it slightly? And maybe there’s something unconscious. You start to do that anyway, without necessarily deciding you’re going to. But I don’t know, I love it. I absolutely love it. And I thought right before the show came on, well, this is going to go one of two ways. People are going to either be digging this character or they’re going to hate him. And I really didn’t know. I felt like I was kind of taking a risk playing a guy that was sort of out there in the way that he is. And I had my fingers crossed that it would be something that people might like. And so far, so good. (laughs)
There are a lot of Team Nolan people out there!
Who knew??? There’s tee shirts!!! I have to figure out, not for my ego, but just for posterity, I need to own Team Nolan tee shirts.
I think you should!
I think I should, too. I don’t know. I’m sure I’d get slammed walking around LA wearing a Team Nolan tee shirt, but I feel like just to have it and frame it and put it up on my wall or something…
Or maybe wear to it set one day? That might be funny.
Hey, I’ll take your idea. I love it! It’s blown all of our minds, sort of refering to the cast, that people have taken to it. I don’t think people feel very half way about it. It’s super fun, because every time we get a new script, I just know people are going to lose their minds when they see what happens next. It’s really fun. We’re having such a blast and we’re so lucky because we get along really well. And that’s the best you could hope for in a situation where your signing a potentially long-term contract to be together with this group of people and I know it happens all the time where people get stuck in those situations where they don’t love their coworkers, but hey, I’m not questioning it. I’m grateful every day that I go to work and see who I get to work with that day. And they’re starting to really mix it up, so I’m starting to get to work with some characters you may not have seen Nolan interact with previously.
Yeah, get ready. It’s crazy!
And you mentioned that the Nolan that you went in and read for to the Nolan now has evolved. How has it evolved?
Well, I think they were looking for an actor to bring his interpretation of this guy and it wasn’t necessarily cut and dry how he should be. So the only thing that they really said, I said this before in another interview, but one of the only tags that they gave in the description of the character was that he, excuse my language, but he dresses for shit.
And so I’m thinking geeky, tech guy, uncomfortable. So I just picked out the clothes in your wardrobe that you should absolutely never wear, and never wear all at the same time. It was more like, here’s my dirty flannel pants, here’s my stained button down shirt and plastic red windbreaker and a dirty baseball hat.
What you wear when no one’s looking…
Yeah, yeah. Exactly! Exactly. And so I kind of went in with that, and this idea that there was definitely a quality to him that was potentially menacing. You don’t want to be able to figure out what his intentions are, and I guess with TV as well, you don’t even fully know what his intentions are because they don’t let you know until they figure it out. So a lot of what I was doing was trying to keep options open for directions they could take the character in and he’s good and maybe he’s bad and who is he drawn to, is he trustworthy, all of those things…but played for real. And I think when everything is revealed, it will be fairly shocking for the audience. Now that’s subject to change, too. And I don’t know if if will end the way I think it will end right now. They may change their minds, but any way that they go, it’s going to be shocking, regardless. So I think the biggest thing was going into costume fittings and seeing all of these popped collars and fancy suits. And I was like, wait, wait, these are for me? These can’t be for Nolan. And they were like, oh yes, it is for Nolan. (laughs) Oh wait, wait, wait, I have to flip my conception of this guy completely now. So somewhere between my interpretation and the way they saw it, we sort of managed to find a happy medium now, I think.
And we’ve obviously seen a bit of Nolan’s backstory with Emily/Amanda. Are we going to learn more?
Oh yeah. Oh yeah, we’ve already shot a bunch more. We’re starting to reveal in bits and pieces my history with David Clarke and you’re going to see a lot more flashbacks and yes, so long answer to your short question, you are going to find out more. And I think that starts to happen, I want to say around episode nine. In the next couple episodes, you’ll start to see more of that.
You sort of touched upon it, but one of the things I love most about the show is how multi-dimensional the characters are. They have totally different sides to them. You sort of can’t figure them out. Is there more to Nolan that we have no idea about yet? (laughs)
Oh yeah. There’s a lot more to Nolan that I don’t even have any idea about yet. But a few of the things that they told me potentially may happen will (laughs) flip the script completely, in some really interesting and hopefully compelling to watch ways. But I think at the base of it is just the desire he has to be close to people. And the innate loneliness that this character embodies and the things that sort of being isolated in that way, have done to him. He is incredibly sharp and smart and he’s on it, but in some ways, he’s very naive and young, because he wants to just dive right into this revenge plot with Emily. But as you can see, he’s not always set out in the right way to accomplish some of these things. I think a lot of people were really worried when he was running around Lydia’s apartment, without any gloves on, touching everything. And I talked to the writers about it and said are we going to address that and they said well, I think it’s addressed in the sense that it was a suicide, so they didn’t do a murder investigation in her place. But that’s not to say that that might not come back around and haunt us at some point later. But it’s things like that that just show he is not a pro-criminal, yet. But at the same time, maybe he’s just a really good grifter and he knows exactly what he’s doing. So, again, that’s the beauty of the way that our writers have written these characters, that they always leave it open for it to go in any number of directions. And I think you’re going to see for Nolan and for almost all the other characters those kind of switches and shifts in their personality are going to start to reveal themselves very soon as the episodes continue to unfold.
I can’t wait. And I loved how excited Nolan was about his solo takedown. (laughs)
(laughs) I don’t think he had any idea quite what he was in store for but he was super excited! Again, it’s all perfectly encapsulated in that one scene with Tyler where he meets him on the street and he’s like, “You will be there, and you’ll be prompt. I can be a very impatient person.” And then you sort of end it with a smile. That’s Nolan in a nutshell, right there. I really trust this creative group of people that I work with and I said to Mike Kelley early on in the shooting process, I love this show, I trust these actors that I work with, I trust you, so wherever you want to take these characters, I’m game to go with it, and just let me know. And we’re off and running. And I think as you’ve seen so far, that’s clearly been the case. No fear. The more twisted, the better. And I know that we will continue to shock and there will be a lot of picking your jaw off the table moments coming up, very soon.
Maybe more solo takedowns?
I think now that he’s gotten a taste of what he can do on his own, I don’t know. It should be interesting. Although, really I think at the end of the day, he really wants to do this thing with Emily. He wants to be involved with her. I think eventually just doing solo takedowns leads him back where he began, which is kind of isolated and alone. Through this process of revenging David Clarke, he gets to be closer and closer with Emily and I think that’s his goal, ultimately. At least right now. At least, at the moment. That could change.
Let’s talk about Nolan and Tyler. Did you see that one coming? And where are we going to see it go?
No I didn’t! I had no idea! I think the beauty of that story line is that we were all just as surprised by the way it was going to unfold as everybody else. Ashton Holmes is a great actor. I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time and he made it comfortable and it was easy. It’s fun when you have another actor that is really willing to go there. It’s like a chess game. You don’t know how it’s going to get to where it ends up, but the getting there is the interesting part. I think it’s certainly going to add a really interesting dynamic to how everything unfolds in the next three or four episodes as well, because it gets *whistles*… We’re just about to finish up eleven. By the time we get to eleven/twelve, it’s bananas. But I think it added a nice twist to the story line and I think when you have people who have a lot of money, anything is possible. They get bored very easily and Nolan happens to be a very lonely guy. So, somebody shows him attention and he’s going with it. And he clearly did.
I assume it’s not the last we’ve seen of their interactions?
Of Nyler? No.
Nyler! (laughs) I don’t think I’ve seen that one before.
That was one of the funniest things I’ve seen on Twitter was people were like #Nyler. I was like, really? Are you guys serious? Did we get a name? I thought it was great. There is much more Nyler to come.
You were saying that Nolan really doesn’t want to be alone. A lot of people want to see him with Emily.
Oh, I know. I think that that’s amazing. Because I think without knowing all the details yet of their back history together, he’s completely compelled by her. She’s the one person he keeps coming back to over and over again. Because there’s clearly a lot of interesting characters in the Hamptons, but she’s the one, even regardless of their shared history, that he is fascinated by. And I definitely get it. I feel that way with Emily when we play those scenes and I feel like the scenes reflect that quality. With Mike and this show, you never know. I have a feeling that that might not be something you’ll see, at least in the next few episodes, but five episodes down, anything’s possible. He could end up with Charlotte or something. I don’t even know. But I think it’s very possible you’re going to see a number of different potential love interests for Nolan.
Who do you want to see him with?
Only because we’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of stuff together lately, I find Ashley Madekwe completely fascinating and amazing and there’s a lot more to her character on the show that has yet to be explored. Since we’ve already got the Jack/Daniel/Emily triangle, I love the Tyler/Ashley/Nolan triangle possibilities, too. So that would be fun. I sort of like the concept of putting unexpected characters together. But I certainly would not be upset if Emily and Nolan had a drunken night. (laughs) I don’t think Emily drinks too much on the show so I don’t know if it could happen or not. You never know. Fingers crossed. What do they call it? Fan fic?
There’s probably already some out there. I mean, I don’t know.
Oh believe me, there is. There really is. Between Nyler and Nemily, we’re good to go. We’re covering all our bases here. (laughs) But I think Emily and I have both noticed that people have responded to our character’s chemistry. Much, much, much more to come.
What can we expect with your friendship with Jack?
You will see much more boys hanging out at the Stowaway mixed with a few new characters hanging out at the Stowaway as well. Nolan and Jack’s story continues to evolve, but Jack is going to have his hands very, very full.
What do you want to see from Nolan going forward?
You know what I’m looking forward to? I’m looking forward to seeing Nolan together with the Grayson’s. We haven’t really seen Nolan interact with Victoria or Conrad or Daniel or Charlotte. And that’s coming down the pipes. So, I’m really excited for that. I think any Ross/Grayson activity would be very exciting.
Do you think we’ll ever see where Nolan works?
That’s the beauty of being a tech god is that work is wherever you want it to be. It usually just involves a smart phone and a laptop. But I’m sure you’ll see the NolCorporation headquarters at some point. It would be kind of funny to see how Nolan runs his company with all of the people who work for him and how he interacts with them. And I’m sure there’s a gold mine there to look forward to at some point with shady coworkers. As the story continues to unfold, I think it will start to expand past the Hamptons and into other places as well.
That will be very fun to see. So what can you tease as to what viewers can expect in tonight’s episode? Crazyness, I’m sure.
Viewers can expect to continue to see the unexpected. We will promise to give you at least five “oh my God” moments. Ten, twenty, depends on the episode. I think what Mike Kelley and the rest of us enjoy, and what I’ve mentioned already, is that he loves creating these characters and then finding out how to mix them all in a blender. And I think as we go further, you will start to see some really unusual combinations of people getting together and some serious fireworks as a result of that. And we’re all waiting to see how the mystery of this particular summer in the Hamptons plays out. Because they are in the midst of connecting all those dots and again, we never find out much further past the upcoming episode what’s actually going to happen, so we’re all just like dying to find out. Oh and you can look forward to the return of the red sharpie!
I like it!
That’s a good tease. The red sharpie’s getting pulled back out again, for a couple people who are going to be vacationing through the Hamptons. They don’t know what’s coming up for them. They have no idea what’s waiting.
Be sure to tune in tonight for an all new episode of Revenge at 10 PM on ABC.Tweet