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Revenge Exclusive: Gabriel Mann Talks Season 3, Nolan Two Point No & Emily’s Red Wedding

By on September 26, 2013
Gabriel Mann. July 2013. Photo by Greg Gorman

Gabriel Mann. July 2013. Photo by Greg Gorman

Revenge returns to our screens for a third season this Sunday September 29th on ABC.

The new season kicks things off with a pared down, tighter storyline, fewer characters and a ticking clock on Emily’s revenge plans. With new show runner Sunil Nayar at the helm, summer in the Hamptons has never looked more inviting.

ScreenSpy sat down today with Revenge star Gabriel Mann to discuss the season ahead, which includes some surprising changes and developments for his character Nolan Ross.

“Season 3 is looking at a very back to basics approach,” explains Gabriel. “

We’ve got our core group of Hamptonites. It’s really been an exercise in taking those characters and putting them together in very unexpected ways in this new season. We’re really focusing on Emily’s goal. There are a number of things that happen very early on in the season that put a ticking clock on proceedings. I think it raises the stakes. It shows we’re moving forward and we’re not wasting any time doing it.


Having screened the pilot episode earlier this month, courtesy of ABC, we can’t help notice a strong season one vibe to proceedings. Character motivations seem more clearly defined. There’s a recommitment to the  Revegenda, the nebulous Initiative is no more, and Emily (Emily VanCamp) and Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) are back trading words over cups of tea.

 A la Dallas, it’s like Revenge fans woke up to discover season 2 was merely a dream. “I’m really excited because I think it’s what a lot of people love about the show,” says Gabriel of the similarities. “We’re really giving the audience the things they got connected to when they began following us. We’ve definitely taken that in mind and it’s off to the races basically.”


(ABC/Richard Cartwright)

The season premiere “Fear” sees Nolan released from prison and diving right back into the fray with a strong recommitment to Emily’s revenge plans, a move, says Gabriel which was all about re-examining where the character started.

“[We were] keeping in mind all of the things that happened to Nolan, and figuring out how to continue to move him ahead, and how he’s been emotionally and psychologically effected by them. That is very much where we pick up when we find Nolan in season 3. He is definitely invigorated in a way that we haven’t seen before. When we initially met this character he was very desperate to connect to other people. Emily and he happened to have this shared history. That was the jumping off point for that relationship. Now it’s a case of where do we go from here? Nolan is as committed to Emily as he’s ever been but I think the reality of her finally reaching the core of her plan has a very intense effect on their relationship, and what goes down between them in the first half of the season. Our midseason finale poses the question ‘Who shot Emily Thorne?’ What happens to her? Is this going to be a very different sort of revenge moving forward once we find out what happens and how it happens? What would happen to Nolan if Emily potentially wasn’t around?”

Until now Nolan has always been the voice of – if not reason, then caution – where Emily was concerned. But Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) and Conrad (Henry Czerny) have effectively cost Nolan his house, his company, his freedom and his reputation. With both Graysons firmly in her sights this season, can audiences expect to see a more vengeful Nolan by her side?

“Nolan’s commitment to the greater plan and really in refocusing on Victoria and Conrad as the arch villains has a lot to do with how he found himself at the end of season 2,” agrees Gabriel. “As a result of that he is absolutely ready to do anything and everything to make sure that goal happens. He’s got a lot of personal involvement at this point. Being locked up will do quite a bit to the brain. Now whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing you’ll have to wait and see. But it’s definitely changed him,” he laughs. “He’s more than ready to do what he needs to do to make things happen. But does that change the fact that he’s a moral compass to Emily? Hmm .. I think … you’ll have to wait and see how that one plays out,” he teases.

Emily VanCamp and Gabriel Mann. Image © ABC

Emily VanCamp and Gabriel Mann. Image © ABC

This season sees some crucial changes for Nolan Ross. Effectively banned from technology by the FBI, Nolan is for the first time computerless – Nolan 2 point No – as Gabriel describes him. Is this really the end of Nolan’s programming, spying, hacking and general electronic tampering lifestyle? Or is he going to be tempted to get back into that line of work, Feds be damned?

“There’s always a temptation,” admits Gabriel. “I think technology can become an addiction like anything else. I like the idea of looking at this character without technology. What would Nolan be like without these props? It puts him in a very different position in terms of how he gets things done, what he would be willing to do, and what lengths he would be willing to go in order to achieve them.” (Revenge fans should note Nolan’s spectacular season 3 party entrance via parachute. Ego-centric party trick or calculated necessity? Do we even need to ask?)

“That’s been fun to explore so far,” says Gabriel. “I think there will always be the siren call of the ‘laptop starting up ding’ in the back of his mind but at the same time, his intention at the beginning of the season is to do what he does minus that ability to work everything out with a few keystrokes. Whether he’ll go back? That depends on how crazy things get on the show but they do tend to get pretty crazy pretty quick. You can probably do the Math!”

ABC's "Revenge" stars Gabriel Mann as Nolan Ross. (ABC/Bob D'Amico)

ABC’s “Revenge” stars Gabriel Mann as Nolan Ross. (ABC/Bob D’Amico)

What’s in store for Nolan this season? Season 1 featured a love interest while season 2 featured two. Is there anyone on the horizon for Nolan this summer?

“One of the things that has been interesting to explore with the character is that to a certain degree everyone is fair game on the show. Where will that lead him? I think the greater question in season 3 is is it going to be love for Nolan or is it going to be revenge? I think he’s been damaged, and his heart has been hurt in a way that makes him very apprehensive. I definitely don’t think he’s looking for that kind of heart connection. But the way that life tends to work is that when you’re not looking for something it comes and smashes right into you. We’ll have to see how that plays out.”

What’s all this about season 3 nudity?

He laughs.”Well we were looking at the whole idea of revenge and the various ways you could go about getting it and we’re definitely going to explore sexual manipulation as a tool towards the greater goal this year. But hey, it’s summer time. It’s the Hamptons. The cast are certainly willing and ready for anything that gets brought to us … even if that happens to come in the form of a towel. We have happily taken that challenge on! At this point it’s been a rotating towel between the male cast. We’re looking at the second half of the season for the women to be trading towels but up to this point it’s been the guys. We’re holding down the fort!”

As to the season ahead? “This is a a gangbuster season ahead,” says Gabriel. “The thing to expect in season 3 is the unexpected. Emily’s game has been upped. There is a ticking clock and the lengths she is willing to go to achieve those goals will certainly shock some of the other characters and may even shock herself. 
Keep your eyes on some of the new characters. They’ll play key roles in how the whole story ends up coming together. Certainly the big question on everybody’s mind – and certainly in the minds of our cast at this point – is who shot Emily Thorne? It could be almost anyone. By the time we get to Emily’s wedding, I think it will be fair to call it the wedding of the century. Look out for that and more.”

Revenge Premieres Sunday, September 29, 9:00-10:00 p.m., ET on ABC. Many thanks to Gabriel Mann for another great ScreenSpy exclusive!