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Revenge’s Gabriel Mann Talks Murder, Mayhem and Mischief with ScreenSpy

By on April 28, 2013
Gabriel Mann 2013

Gabriel Mann 2013

“Actors are such strange people sometimes,” muses Gabriel Mann in a recent exclusive ScreenSpy interview. “We have such a strange job, honestly. We’re doing a two hour finale this year. It’s basically the equivalent of shooting Revenge the Movie in the space of two and a half weeks. Any sane person shooting a film would shoot it over a couple of months but these TV guys are so amazing. We just go and go!”

The actor, who has earned a reputation as firm fan favorite playing eccentric tech billionaire Nolan Ross on ABC’s Revenge, has good reason to take a moment to reflect. With just four episodes remaining, the show is headed towards another trademark explosive finale, leaving a season littered with key character deaths in its wake. The most recent exit is that of Dilshad Vadsaria, who played Nolan’s romantic interest Padma this year.

“Can I say yes and no?” he laughs when I ask if Padma is well and truly dead. “There’s nothing about this show that is ever quite what it seems. I used to say the only time you really could guarantee a character was not coming back was when you had seen them carted out in a body bag. Now granted, we haven’t seen the body bag zipped up on Padma yet, but I would say that based on everything we know up until this point on this show she may be lying in a morgue … somewhere.

Nolan and Padma in happier times. Photo by Eric McCandless – © 2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

Nolan and Padma in happier times. Photo by Eric McCandless – © 2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

“Dilshad, who plays Padma is a dear friend of mine. That’s been another great side-effect of the show. We’ve all made some really terrific friends. This has been a really tough year because we have lost any number of people on this show, from Wendy Crewson’s Helen who worked for the Initiative, to Dilshad and Burn Gorman who played Trask, who is such an incredible actor. And I would say some other people coming up who have made some of the table reads we have done for these last final episodes very very difficult and very very sad. All I can tease, I guess is murder, mayhem and mischief, times ten.”

Revenge picks up again tonight Sunday April 28, after a brief hiatus. When we last saw Nolan, he had become a suspect in Padma’s murder. Although Nolan’s alibi at the time of Padma’s death is secure (he was masterminding some technical shenanigans for Jack Porter), might the ever-loyal Nolan be forced to betray Jack in order to prove his whereabouts?

“He’s in loads of trouble at the moment,” Gabriel confirms. “But I would say the upside to being so loyal to his friends is that those friends happen to be very good at weaseling people out of very difficult situations. Nolan’s got his fingers crossed the cavalry are going to come charging in. But that doesn’t negate the fact there’s been so much collateral damage over the space of the last two summers in the Hamptons. Nolan’s life must have been very boring prior to Emily Thorne showing up on the scene. One wonders in real life how far would you really go for your friends? With the exception of Nolan’s Aunt Carol who we were introduced to in season one we’re haven’t seen too much of Nolan’s family. I believe he really considers all of these relationships he has as the closest thing to a real family.

“When I look at the show in a broader view, beyond all of the intersecting story-lines and backstabbing it’s really a metaphor for finding family. Yes, very nontraditional family, very unexpected family, but family is what each of our characters are searching for – some form of grounding, some form of consistency in their lives which sadly they are given very little of. When you approach the story and characters from that perspective it becomes much easier as an actor to really invest some of these really outrageous turns of fortune with some gravity and as much heart as you can possibly give.”

The mysterious Falcon, a seemingly evil technical mastermind with skills to match Nolan’s, has taken center stage in recent episodes. With recently departed showrunner Mike Kelley teasing that the Falcon’s identity will be revealed this season, will Nolan be surprised by what he learns?

“Nolan will be surprised, as will the audience,” confirms Gabriel. “I know I certainly was. In fact, people will not have to wait too much longer to get the answer to that question because we address it in “Identity” when we come back from hiatus. Another thing I love about the show is as many puzzles and challenges are presented, we generally like to pay off the answers to those questions.”

With just four episodes remaining, several mysteries are still clamoring for attention – the Initiative storyline, the Carrion program, Victoria’s secret son and the identity of the Falcon among the more pressing storylines in many fans’ minds. Revenge is famous for ramping up the stakes at the last minute and turning what we thought we knew on its head and Gabriel confirms that the finale episodes will deliver surprise upon surprise.

Nolan issues a challenge to the Falcon in “Identity”

“[Fans] can expect everything that they’ve loved about this series from the pilot episode onward condensed into the space of four episodes,” he confirms. “I know I tend to be endlessly enthusiastic about the show but even I could not have predicted some of the things that they’ve come up with. There’s a reveal in the finale that is so incredible that it honestly blew my mind. It really goes so far as to turn one of our main characters into what I would consider the antichrist – and certainly the most formidable villain that any of us has encountered. This reveal is such a bombshell it wraps up a whole year’s worth of story and takes it to another level. I’m still in shock. I thought it was such a genius piece of writing and I never would have expected it. This one’s the big one. This is a reveal like we haven’t quite seen yet.”

When we last spoke to Gabriel about all things Nolan Ross, his character was in a different place. We saw someone who was upbeat and determined to stand his own ground. However his association with Emily and the Initiative has hurt him on an incredibly deep level. Will these remaining episodes see Nolan bouncing back from despair or pushed to a darker place?

“On to the dark side!” he chuckles. “At this point anything is possible. As fiercely loyal as he is, some parts of him are very very fragile – his psyche in particular. It’s sort of a case of the mad genius with him. At a certain point something’s gotta give. We will walk out of this season with some very big question marks in that area, both because of things that have happened, and in the next few episodes to come, will happen. That larger question is something to be explored. His heart is very much broken. Hopefully his mind and psyche are not permanently broken at this point. To be honest with you though, all of those things were a little off base to begin with. It might have the opposite effect of making him sane!”

Catch Revenge tonight Sunday April 28 on the ABC Television Network.

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Gabriel also took the time to answer some fan questions sent in to our Twitter account @ScreenSpy last week.

Clairmonde: I would love to know if Gabriel has any projects lined up after the filming of season two ends?

Gabriel Mann: There’s always something in the works. One thing I’m so thankful and grateful for is the show has afforded me further opportunities to explore different elements of my ability as an actor. Given the opportunity, I will always choose to take a detour from whatever I’ve been exploring. It could go either way. I may just try to take a little bit of a break, which I didn’t do last year. I remember by the time I got back from shooting Chavez with a week and a half to go before we launched into the next season I remember telling myself Ok, I’ll never do that again. But on further reflection, all I really need is about 48 hours bed rest and then I’m bored! So probably with the way the hiatus is starting to shape up, I will either go do a couple of pending potential projects (I don’t want to jinx them until I know a little bit more) or very likely I will embark on a world-wide tour promoting the show, overseas. Either way, it will be some kind of work which I will very happily engage in. The fans I’ve met here in the States, and obviously through Twitter, have been incredibly devoted. We’re all so very grateful for them. I look forward to maybe getting to see some of them in person.

Nothing_Woman: What’s your favorite Led Zeppelin album?

Gabriel Mann: That’s impossible for me to say because I’m a huge fan of all of them. In fact, as we speak I’m staring at my vinyl copies of them all stacked up next to my record player. I could probably tell you my favorite song, which is “Whole Lotta Love.”

Ean_Nae What attracted you to the role of Nolan Ross?

Gabriel Mann: The fact there were so many possibilities to where we could go with the character. We had such a supportive team of writers and producers and creative people with the Network that were willing to take some chances with it. It was just the opportunity to explore a character that there were no definite answers to. Being someone who has loved playing as many different types of characters as possible I thought Well how does one wrap all of that up into a potential series situation? Much of the time, once you establish that character, that’s who you’re going to be playing for however long you find yourself in the realm of that story. Whenever there was an opportunity to pose a question mark and not give a definite answer that’s the road that I chose to run down. Because there was that collaboration and willingness to let me do that with the character, he became exciting – his moral and ‘everything else’ ambiguity.

DreamingAhead: Nolan’s despair looked painfully real. What was it like preparing for those scenes?

Gabriel Mann: Sometimes you’ll have these 13 and 14 hour days where you’re shooting five or six scenes a day, and every single one is so emotional and so heavy that by the time you get home you’re seeing stars! But I’m so excited to share these last episodes with all the Revenge fans. It’s the culmination of what’s been a very complex season. Our writers have been just utterly brilliant connecting all the dots and paying everything off in the space of this finale.”

Nothing_Woman: Do you like it when fans tweet you new music?

Gabriel Mann: I love it. I follow it fairly religiously on my own but usually just prior to me discovering something new somebody else has just discovered it so I’ve really come to depend on going through my Twitter mentions. It condenses everything and makes it easier to find it very quickly. One of the nice things about having a social media presence is that people start to gauge what your tastes are. As a result I think a lot of people have caught on to precisely what my tastes are at this point. I would say that just about every music recommendation I’ve got has been a record or a song that I’ve gone on to immediately download afterwards. So the answer to that question is a resounding yes! And add an exclamation point.