An interview in which Christa B Allen and I gush over REVENGE

REVENGE - ABC's "Revenge" stars Christa B. Allen as Charlotte Grayson. (ABC/BOB D'AMICO)

It should come as no surprise, especially if you follow this blog or my Twitter or Facebook or talk to me in real life, when I say that REVENGE is my favorite network drama this season. It’s full of plot twists that we didn’t see coming, and some of the greatest scheming from a lead that we’ve seen in a long, LONG time (Emily Van Camp is awesome).  Along the way, it’s uncovered seriously double-sided characters, and love triangles that have you rooting for all sides.  One of the greatest love stories of the show follows a guy from the wrong side of the tracks (Declan) and his silver-spoon bred lady, Charlotte.  Christa B. Allen plays the Juliet to his Romeo – Charlotte Grayson, daughter to Conrad and Victoria, two of the biggest figures in Emanda’s (Van Camp) twisted web of deceit and REVENGE.

I had the chance to chat with Christa about the show (spoilers: we love it, dearly), how difficult it is to even preview what’s to come, and how much she was charging her parents for a performance in their living room almost 15 years ago!

REVENGE is one of those shows where right off the bat, I liked hearing who was involved, I liked the creator, Emily Van Camp, and I watched the show, and was hooked from minute one.
Oh that’s awesome, thank you!

Reading the initial script, is that was drew you to the show?  
Yeah, absolutely.  I have to agree with you on the Mike Kelley subject.  I had been a fan of SWINGTOWN, short-lived as it was.  I loved that show.  And I knew that Phillip Noyce was directing the pilot, who is an absolutely genius.  It started getting better and better from there.  I read the script, and I loved the story, and I adored Charlotte, and wanted to see kind of where her story took her, and getting to meet the rest of the cast.  I just kind of fell it all starting to fall into place.  It’s one of the most perfect projects I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of.  I can say that without any hesitation.  And it’s the weirdest thing – we all agree.  Everything kind of fell into place, and we’re all so happy to be on this show.

What I like, too, is that each of these characters – there are so many sides to them.  What you think you’re going to get, you don’t, in the best way.  We see that with the Charlotte and Declan relationship – I talked to Connor [Paolo] right before the show started, and he said this was true love.  Does Charlotte agree?  Do you?
I mean, I think, the Declan character is really showing Charlotte things that she’s never experienced before.  In her own mind, she’s figuring it out as we speak.  She’s been surrounded by a very specific group of people, and this is one of her first forays into dealing with the people from this class, that Declan’s from.  It’s new for her.

It even stems from her parents.  She wasn’t exactly raised in the most loving and warm household, it would seem.
A lot of our behavior comes from what we see our parents do.  I guess Charlotte hasn’t had the best teachers.  I think she’s wise enough to look for that education in other places, which is exactly what she’s doing with the boy from the docks!

The show tends to go one direction when you’re expecting it to go another.  I bet that makes it hard to say what’s coming in future episodes without ruining what we’ll be watching.
You know, anything that I could tell you, I don’t think you would want to know!  For me, at least, reading the scripts every week – that’s what keeps me hooked, the new stuff we keep introducing, the new characters, and the twists and turns.  I wouldn’t want to reveal anything!  I think that’s the magic of this formula we’ve got going.

With so many shows, twists and turns are ruined from spoilers getting out there, I like how everyone keeps the story so close to the vest, and what we see remains exciting.
I can you tell you, if that’s the case, it’s because we all truly have our hearts in it.

Without giving too much away, and kind of on that subject, for someone who hasn’t gotten into the show yet, why do you think REVENGE is a show for people to tune into.
Well, the boys are beautiful. [laughs] The women are as well; I think we hold our own.  I think everyone is going to relate to at least one character on this.  We’ve all been a teenager in a family, struggling with our parents, at least I know I have [laughs].  I think we’ve all been in a situation where we wanted to exact revenge upon somebody, whether we’ve done it or not, we’ve all had that feeling, and I think people can identify.

Do you get a lot of opportunity to work with Emily Van Camp going forward this year?  A lot of your interaction has been with Victoria (Madeline Stowe) and Declan – will we see you, and your character deal with other people on the show?
At this point, we have a whole mess to clean up, Victoria and I, so that’s the process that we’re in.  So no, I haven’t had much with Emily.  There’s a whole bunch of different aspects to the storyline that we haven’t revealed yet, and we’re just giving it time to unravel.  We’ve still got tons and tons of episodes, and hopefully more seasons [laughs], in which to reveal all that we have up our sleeve.

Have Mike and the creative team talked about what happens beyond a first season?
They throw around ideas.  I don’t know if anything is set in stone.  Things change week to week as they kind of grab ahold of different story lines that are evolving rather well.  I think they have an idea, but everything is constantly changing.

I read in your bio, and one thing that stuck out for me – at 7, you said you needed an agent.  Was there something that you saw that hit home, and you wanted to be an actress?
It’s funny, because when I was deciding my Halloween costume, I considered Shirley Temple for a while, not knowing if people would get the outfit or not.  I didn’t go for it.  When I was a little girl, I would watch these older movies and just emulate the actresses.  Constantly.  I would put on little performances for my parents in the living room when I was 6, and charge them 10 cents to come in.  I have to believe that it was kind of always a part of me.  I remember my mom taking me to see TITANIC, and that epic love story, and how well it was portrayed on screen, and watching them go through that, kind of cemented it in my 7 year old mind.  Crazy, I know.  But I told my mom, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life [laughs] and so far, it stuck!

Do you get a chance to watch some other TV besides REVENGE when you get some downtime?
I do, yeah!  I checked out PAN AM, and I checked out ONCE UPON A TIME, supporting the other ABC shows [laughs].  I’m a big fan of NEW GIRL.  Everyone else is, it’s so good.  A little bit of everything.  I try to watch at least one episode of everything.

I do the same thing, and then I wonder why, with some shows, it’s like, why am I even watching this?  Oh well, it’s on the DVR.
So you were a CHARLIE’S ANGELS fan? [laughs]

I watched the pilot [laughs]…
[laughs] Yeah….

I’m so happy that REVENGE is doing so well – with critics responding, you can never trust the public to do the same! 
Oh thank you – I know, we couldn’t be more grateful.  I can comfortably speak for the entire cast.  We’re all so close, and we see each other so often.  It’s constantly, this outpouring of love and support for one another.  We’re all really, really grateful, so thanks for watching!