Season 2 of ABC’s hit soap Revenge doesn’t kick off in its new Sunday timeslot until September, but the folks who bring the soapy happenings of The Hamptons to life are already hard at work on new episodes. At this weekend’s ABC TCA party at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Gabriel Mann, who quickly became a fan favorite as the sharp-tongued Nolan, chatted about the new season including his character’s new love interest – a woman – and what some of the pressures are coming off a strong freshman season.
Yes, you read that right. Nolan will get involved with a woman in the new season. Even though Nolan’s horizontal liaison with the now deceased Tyler (Ashton Holmes) was a big part of last year’s canvas, Mann said he wasn’t necessarily surprised when he heard the news. “I figured something like that was coming,” he said. “He’s a completely ambiguous character to begin with so it wasn’t a huge surprise to me to find out [in the first season] that we were maybe going to go in the direction of Tyler and Nolan but I thought, in fitting with the rest of his personality and the way that I had started to put him together, I really wanted to be able to have both.”
Mann happily shared his enthusiasm in bringing a group not seen as often on TV to the show – the bisexual. “Because we’ve had some great gay characters on television and we certainly had endless streams of straight characters for the past fifty years,” he said, “I didn’t feel like the bisexuals were well represented so, ideally, the love interest portion of the show with Nolan opens with a panning shot at the bottom of the bed and eight pairs of feet, whether they have mani-pedicures or not, I don’t know but I think I want a little bit of it all. So, we may start the season this way and it may very quickly turn into something else. I don’t know.”
Will the green-eyed monster come between Nolan (Mann) and Emily (Emily VanCamp)?
Asked if this season’s development for Nolan was the reason why he and the show’s producers have been reluctant to put a label on Nolan in terms of his sexual orientation, Mann explained, “I know it’s sort of an odd thing but I think there are truly people in the world that are just very attention and love starved…so I wanted to kind of play with that concept a little bit. I mean as to whether he will have a bigger preference in one direction or another, I don’t know yet but I can’t imagine any relationship that he has at this point is going to end well. It’s just a hunch.”
Though the role of the new female love interest has yet to be cast, Mann said he wouldn’t mind someone international in the role but also feels with the addition of Jennifer Jason Leigh as mother to Emily (Emily VanCamp), the show should have no problem attracting some impressive talent. “I don’t want to call it a game changer, per say, because we’ve had so many great people involved with the show but I think in terms of a certain caliber of acting and actor, it kind of sets a precedent. And so, you know, it gives people maybe a little bit more confidence that we’ll take care of them very well.”
Outside of Nolan’s romantic life, fans can be assured that he still has close ties with Emily in the new season though Mann said that the green-eyed monster might come into play. “I think Emily and I may both find ourselves tangled up in certain situations,” he teased. “We’ll be looking at each other from across a cocktail party like ‘Hmmm. Yes.’ I think jealousy may play a large part in the way the relationships this season starts to unravel or come together, we’ll see.”
Undercover Nolan last season showed that Mann can be very versatile.
Mann also previewed that “family is a huge thing this year. I am told I have mystery siblings.” But what the actor really wants to do is dive head first into playing a soap opera staple. “I’m hoping for a twin brother. I’m just saying. I’m hoping for Nolan’s bad boy twin brother who rolls up on a Harley in a leather jacket… you can’t have a soap without an evil twin! You’ve got to have an evil twin.” But, always thinking one step ahead, Mann said the twin doesn’t necessarily have to be of the same gender. “I’m thinking maybe Nolan has a twin sister, Nola. Could we just go for the Gold and have me play both? I’m just saying. I’m throwing out, I’m open to that idea.”
One place Mann will be happy not to revisit in season 2 is being bound in chains as he was in the season finale. The experience, however, may have a silver lining for his character. “I will tease that I think Nolan learned a few lessons from his hostage crises last year and is not looking to repeat that so he may have taken some measures.”
Finally, what kind of pressure comes with having such a successful first season and then having the sophomore year start in a brand new timeslot? “I guess the way that I’ve always felt about my involvement and the show is cautiously optimistic,” Mann offered with a smile. “I am amazed that we get to be sitting here talking about all of this right now. I mean, I knew I liked it, I didn’t know if anybody else would. So I think coming on to Sundays, we do have our core fan base intact and even though we’re sort of fighting against Dexter, sort of like the sociopathic hour on television, cable verse primetime, but there’s room for everyone.”
ABC’s Revenge returns for Season 2 on Sundays at 9pm on September 30th.