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Gabriel Mann Talks Revenge’s “Powerful Role-Reversed” Fourth Season

By on September 26, 2014
Gabriel Mann

Gabriel Mann

“Everything you think you know is wrong,” says Gabriel Mann, summing up Revenge’s upcoming fourth season in a single sentence.

We initially asked the star to choose three words to describe what fans could expect from the show when it returns on Sunday Sept. 28, but he assures us any other explanation would not do justice to what’s coming down the pipeline.

“We’ve got a couple of weapons up our sleeve,” reveals Mann. “I had a scene yesterday with a character that reminded me of moments from the show at its most whackadoodle. When I get to have scenes like that I know we’re on to something!”

When we last checked in on our favorite Hamptonites, it seemed Emily (Emily VanCamp) and Nolan (Mann) had finally completed their ‘Revegenda.’ With the Grayson family brought low by a series of scandals, disappointments and bad business (all soured by Emily’s hand, natch), and with Victoria now languishing in a detention facility, what is there left for a reclusive billionaire and his favorite Gal Pal to do but throw a party?

According to Mann, there definitely is a sense of accomplishment (albeit short lived) as the season kicks off.

“I think we’re setting an unfair precedent for Nolan entrances in the first episode of each new season,” he laughs, when we compare last year’s dramatic parachute drop against the season premiere’s ‘bourne on a litter of sailors’ entrance by Nolan Ross.

Nolan arrives in style. (ABC/Danny Feld)

Nolan arrives in style. (ABC/Danny Feld)

“As you will see come this Sunday his entrance is very much in keeping with this paradigm shift that has occurred. If fans take a closer look at those photos I think they’ll notice that Nolan is being carried into Grayson manor. And I think hawk-eyed viewers will notice that at the end of the season 4 preview released a while ago that it’s Emily standing on the balcony looking down.

“We have a great freedom this year because with Emily having quote unquote gotten her revenge the playing field is wide open. There’s been a total role reversal and paradigm shift in the story at this point. Emily’s gotten her revenge which leaves Victoria in a very dark and very bad place. But remember, going all the way back to the origin of the story is the idea that when you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves,” he hints.

And speaking of graves, the show is set to up the ante this year with the presence of David Clarke (James Tupper), Emily’s thought-to-be-dead father and the inspiration for her twisted desire for vengeance against those who wronged him. With Daddy Clarke back to stir the pot we can’t help but feel excited for what’s to come on several fronts.

“I’m on that train with you,” agrees Mann. “It’s such an interesting story engine, and a powerful one. It’s one that has driven the show behind the scenes from day one. It opens up a world of unexplored potential and story lines. But as we always say on this show, a story is never quite what it seems to be, and before you know it you are deep down the David Clarke rabbit hole. It’s kinda what I’m calling it this year,” he laughs.

Bringing back David Clarke was “something that we’ve been talking about behind the scenes for years now,” he reveals. “James Tupper is a wonderful guy who many of us rarely had an opportunity to work with. We’ve seen him almost exclusively in flashbacks. To have him with us, with the work that he’s doing and with the stories that they’re twisting and concocting right now? Yeah, James Tupper is definitely the stealth weapon of season 4!”

Emily and Nolan encounter a setback. Pictured: Emily VanCamp as Emily Thorne and Gabriel Mann as Nolan Ross. (ABC/Danny Feld)

Emily and Nolan encounter a setback. Pictured: Emily VanCamp as Emily Thorne and Gabriel Mann as Nolan Ross. (ABC/Danny Feld)

So just how is Clarke Senior going to impact the lives of Emily and Nolan this season? Mann reminds us that “In some way shape or form all of the characters have a relationship with David Clarke whether it’s a direct one or one through other characters.”

What’s been really interesting to watch is seeing how all of these characters have dealt with the revelation that he is alive. Then the question starts to be where has he been? Is this a very different David Clarke than we knew before? And the answer is 100% yes.”

However Mann agrees that for Emily and Nolan the revelation will come as the greatest shock.

“In some ways there is very much a sibling relationship between Emily and Nolan,” he explains. “David is a father figure to Nolan in addition to being Emily’s father.  The fact that they have been so lazer focused for the last three years on everything David Clarke related, and now all of a sudden you have the real man is standing right in front of you, makes for some very intense and dramatic situations and the possibility for a lot of fun for the audience.

“This year has been so exciting. We can’t wait to get the next script. We can’t wait to go to work to shoot these scenes. I’ve been waiting – maybe with the exception of one scene over the last three years – to really get to work with James Tupper and the David Clarke character. It feels like a gift to us and the others on the show.”

And for those clamouring for more on Nolan and Emily’s unique partnership?

“Emily and I were just talking about it,” he says. “We’re on episode 7 now. There’s always a certain dramatic intensity that goes with the season ramping up towards the finale, but we actually started at level this year. Emily and I look at each other during our scenes sometimes and we’ll say ‘Where do we even go from here?’ We are going to have to take each other’s heads and screw them off and put our minds back in our blown brains! I think for people who have enjoyed the dynamic between Nolan and Emily they are going to have a lot of fun and a lot to talk about this year.”

For all the stunning changes and reveals this year, Mann is reluctant to refer to the season ahead as a reboot.

“I don’t really want to call it that,” he says. “I’m using the world remix to describe the show with all the best elements of it. It’s the feeling you would want as a fan to be able to imagine ‘Oh! What would happen if it was Emily who was living at Grayson Mannor and Victoria was the one in the detention facility where Emily had once been? And what if David Clarke is back?’ Those two story engines are of themselves so powerful. We’re only on episode 7 and it’s going to be an incredible year.”

Catch Gabriel Mann as Nolan Ross in Revenge’s season 4 return Sunday Sept. 28 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

Follow @ScreenSpy on Twitter | ScreenSpy on Facebook for more Revenge scoop and interviews this Fall.

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