In its first season Revenge has transformed into the kind of breakout hit every network dreams of -- not only does it boast a beautiful cast of press-friendly actors and the kind of delicious writing that few could pull off convincingly, but it's amassed a passionately engaged audience that talks and Tweets about every plot turn in every episode. But what I continue to love about Revenge is that I will never be a bigger fan than the actors who help bring it to life.
And if there was to be a President of the Revenge Fan Club, it would be star Gabriel Mann.
He's not only the most tapped in star (you MUST following the hashtag-loving lad on Twitter), but also has no shame in admitting what a massive fan he is of creator Mike Kelly's world and his co-stars' work. In anticipation of tonight's season finale, I caught up with Gabe to find out what it's like being in the eye of this pop culture storm, what degree of cliffhangers fans should brace for and what (or who!) he's looking forward to seeing next season.
Insider.com: Revenge absolutely exploded in its first season. What's it been like to be the object of all this affection?
Gabriel Mann: It's one of those things you can never plan for because then it would never happen. One of the best parts of this whole equation is that the cast has become so close. As the year built and the show turned into such a beast, in a way, thank god we were all there for one another. There was a support team to come back to. To check in with. The more it gathers steam, the tighter we hold on to each other. I think one of the last conversations Emily [VanCamp] and I had after the season two pickup was "I hope our audience is ready because we're gonna bring it so hard in season two." I have no idea what's in store for us but if the season finale is any indication of where we're going, it's going to be a pretty incredible second season.
Insider: One of the things I've loved most about the show is how much it owns its soapy nature. I think a lot of other shows flounder because they try to shirk it while Revenge has owned it, played into it and in doing so, transcended it.
Gabriel: Absolutely. I think that's what has made it different than anything that's come before. It's Soap 2.0 – we're not making fun of the genre, we love the genre. One of the great things about playing Nolan is that he kind of gets to be the voice of snark for pointing out the soapyness of it all. And that's the fun of it too – we're organically tuned into the audience, so we reference things the audience is talking about and that's another layer of fun for them because it feels like they're a part of the show. We get it. We're watching. We're listening.
Insider: Well then I would love to hear Nolan's take on Jack's flashback hair!
Gabriel: Oh, oh, oh, please let that be addressed in season two! I would love to spin a phrase regarding Jack's mullet. That almost warranted a hashtag of its own. People are still talking about that to me. It was majestic, it was flowing. I don't know if Braveheart had come out that year, but if so, Jack was clearly a fan [laughs]. And I gotta tell you, Nick [Weschler] is a good sport because he had to deal with the whole crew doing spittakes the second he walked in the room. He took it like a champ.
Insider: Nolan has really come a long way in the course of this first season -- what have you enjoyed about playing him?
Gabriel: What's amazing is that everything evolves as the season progresses. I've never really had to the opportunity to take that journey with a character before, so playing this guy is great because your character evolves as the material does. It allows for things to get more complex and deeper, so to get to play with all these psychological layers of this very complicated guy has been the most joyful challenge I've had so far in my career. It's all about evolution. You will continue to see layers and colors of Nolan that continue to change as the circumstances do. When we started the season, this was a guy with no one – now, he's got friendships so that innately changes the way he operates in this world.
Insider: Tonight's episode is called Reckoning -- which I love because it implies that Emily and Nolan will have to pay for all their actions this season.
Gabriel: Look, you don't do that many bad things and not have some kind of karmic backlash. And I would say they were justifiably bad things because I think our characters think it's OK to do what they've done. Every now and then Nolan has tried to slow the train down, but it's going way too fast at this point. And Emily isn't the kind of person who likes to be told what to do. That's the fun of it. I love the fact that they're in it together – at least at this point. There's something comforting about that because they both have different ways of dealing with the matter at hand, but are equally smart. I would love to see Nolan bust out with some Takeda training – have a mad ninja fight with someone. And on the show, anything is possible.
Insider: Pictures ABC released of tonight's episode show Emily and Nolan in handcuffs. I know it's acting, but how tough was it to keep your hands shackled above your head like that?
Gabriel: I'm not going to lie, it was fairly awful. VanCamp dealt with it like the boss she is. That girl is a machine. Not a single complaint. She blows my mind every single day. Meanwhile, I'm over there writhing around on the wall. But the beauty of it is, I could actually use that discomfort to inform my performance in the scene, you know? It added depth to it, so in a way, I have to thank our production people for putting me in a state of semi-hell because I think the result will have been worth it. Hopefully. Otherwise I'll just feel like a jerk.
Insider: Obviously finale cliffhangers go without saying, but will we have resolution to some storylines tonight or do all the stories just continue to evolve?
Gabriel: I think a little bit of both. There will be certain relationships that have been developing this season that will change the course and direction of where that story is going. So in that sense, we do close certain doors but only to open others. Which ... oh boy. Those new paths are infinitely darker and much more fun. And it's funny, the cast quickly realized that every character has a cliffhanger in tonight's episode despite wrapping up certain elements of the story that people have gotten used to watching. Cliffhanger is an understatement for some of the characters.
Insider: If you were to take a step back and look at the finale objectively, which cliffhanger are you most excited for fans to see?
Gabriel: Ooooooh. That's tough. People are going to be kicking themselves if they miss the last five minutes. It puts characters that I have come to obsess about in so much peril. I don't know how to articulate it. I will say that most of the actors were in shock for a while. We couldn't quite grasp that this is how the episode ends. There are a couple of characters that are near and dear to my heart as a fan that in the last five minutes are going to be left in a very, very interesting position. I can't wait to see the Twitter reaction to the end of the episode.
Insider: The last time we spoke you said that there is truly no end to this show because future seasons could focus on Jack's revenge or Charlotte's revenge -- does the finale continue to set up a world where that's possible?
Gabriel: And then some. I would have to say that if those characters stick around to season two to enact their revenge, yes, absolutely. It'll be an interesting hiatus waiting for the season two episode one script because the characters that have come to be most important to the show are hanging in the balance. Hopefully everyone I love will be back next year.
Revenge airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.