Connor Paolo talks REVENGE
After an hour long episode of THE MIDDLE (it’s awesome) and MODERN FAMILY (I’m sure it’s awesome), stick around for one of my favorite new shows of the season, REVENGE. The story of Amanda Clarke, the wealthy daughter of a disgraced hedge fund executive, who assumes the role of Emily Thorne, the equally as wealthy new girl in town, hellbent on exacting revenge (see what they did there) against those who ruined her family. The show stars Emily Van Camp as Amanda/Emily, with a supporting cast featuring Madeline Stowe (who is looking INCREDIBLE) as the ruler of the Hamptons, for all intents and purposes, Victoria Grayson, and Gabriel Mann as Nolan, the only person who knows Amanda’s secret. If the story sounds familiar, Mike Kelley, creator of this and SWINGTOWN (another old favorite), somewhat loosely based the show on Alexandre Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo.”
Connor Paolo, used to playing a spoiled Upper East Sider, is taking on a decidedly different role here – that of Declan, the brother of Amanda’s most-probably-true-love Jack (played by Nick Wechsler. Come on, the guy named his boat after his childhood sweetheart – if that’s not true love, then what is?); they’re sons of a fisherman and bar-owner with a serious money problem. I chatted with Connor last week to discuss my love for the show, what drew him to this role in particular, and why he thinks you should tune in!
I’ve had the chance to watch the first two episodes, and I think I’m in love with this show.
Oh fantastic, thank you.
I’m interested in what it was about the show that drew you to it. Was it the story, was it Declan?
Every element to it pushed me forward in a way. From the writing, to the creative team involved, to the directors that we’d be working with, to the way that Mike Kelley described and handled Declan in the pilot. I mean, all I had, you know in terms of whether I wanted to do the show, was that pilot script. I didn’t know what type of cast I’d be working with. Had I known, not that it was a question, it wouldn’t have even been a question. This show has been so right on for me, that there was never a second thought or option in my head, that this is what I needed to be doing right now.
I like how every character, from the beginning, you get a little bit about them, and you don’t know much, and we’re learning as it goes. Is that fun to play a role where you don’t know much about what’s coming up?
It is, and Mike Kelley understands these characters and hasn’t written anything without doing his research and really thinking about it. All of the directors we’ve had, Phillip Noyce did such background work on these characters, and how find meanings in all of this stuff. All of this has been treated as a character drama. From the production and to us, as the actors, it’s really been so much about understanding these characters and what they give away and what they don’t, and why they do what they do, rather than just trying a faster way for us to do it. It’s really been a pleasure for me as an actor, and a human being with working relationships. It’s a lot of fun to discover things, as an actor. Usually everything is mapped out before hand by the screen play, but when you have a screen play that is open ended and constantly evolving. You get to evolve along with it, and how you feel gets to be incorporated and I feel very connected to how Declan develops. I feel that I have a real say and that he is becoming more and more of my character, which is a wonderful thing to happen.
You talked about relationships, and we see the beginning of Declan and Charlotte. Is that a star-crossed lover thing, will we see that play out through the season, or is a fleeting relationships?
Oh no, it’s true love, baby! It’s absolutely star-crossed, otherwise, they’d never make it across the train tracks. Beacuse there are, even from episode 2, there are all types of people who aren’t thrilled by the idea of them together. There is a lot that we have to navigate. And as Declan finds out in later episodes, if you’re going to deal with Victoria Grayson, Charlotte’s mother, you have to want to. It’s not so much fun learning that.
How are you / how does Declan get involved with Amanda/Emily? Is he involved with her character going forward, do you interact with Emily Van Camp?
Less than I do with Nick Wechsler, who plays my brother, because of things that unfold in episode 1 and 2, there are reasons that we don’t get to leave the bar very much; we have to be there kind of all the time. Unless people are coming to us, which they do, otherwise, we’re in The Stowaway a lot. But there’s the fact that the Porter family are the only people who knew Emily when she was Amanda, as we see through those flashbacks, Declan was probably too young, but Jack certainly is capable of remembering. And there’s the fact that he’s now becoming romantically involved, as far as his mindset goes, he really cares and loves this girl, the daughter of the family that Emily is there specifically to ruin. There is going to have to be fall out from that, because now, despite the fact that I think Declan would probably, if he knew what Emily’s story was, probably support, if not help her, now his girl is going to be collateral damage, so that’s unacceptable.
What would you say to people who are wondering whether they should watch – why is REVENGE a show they should watch Wednesdays on ABC?
Because it’s just that awesome. It’s just that good. It’s like, try to find a way to not to! It’s got everything you could possibly want out of a drama, especially one that’s on TV. It makes you want to keep watching it, and there are so many different outlets to explore, and we try to explore. There is always a new element to the show that you’re discovering. As “The Count of Monte Cristo” was released as a serialized novel, and Dumas released pieces of his story in French publication, it’s the same thing with this. It is a drama that’s to be serialized, and thank god it is!