“Revenge” at TCAs: Gabriel Mann On Tyler Smooches & Being Game for Anything

The Winter Press Tour of the Television Critics Association continues in Pasadena but there’s no complaining about the long week of press when you get to chat (as AfterElton did) with Revenge star Gabriel Mann about boy toys on the horizon, whether Tyler (a.k.a. actor Ashton Holmes) is a good kisser and if he thinks the Nolan and Emily (Emily VanCamp) alliance could be called love. Here’s what Mann told the journalists flocked around him on the terrace of the ABC/TCA soiree.

AfterElton.com: Nolan is one of the most complex characters. What response are you hearing from the audience?
Gabriel Mann: What’s been so interesting about it is just that I really had no idea what people’s perception of this guy was going to be before we started, and I was really having some moments where I thought people may very well despise him. Like he’s the Jar Jar Binks of Revenge. I thought this will go well – or this could go horribly wrong, but I was pretty determined to bring this idea I had of this guy to life and give it a shot. And I really have to thank [Creator/EP] Mike Kelley and [Director/EP] Philip Noyce for having the faith to let me play with it a little bit. They said ‘Okay it’s not going to be clear in the first couple of episodes,’ but as we evolve I think there’s a lot of complexity and ambiguity to play with and as people started to catch on and enjoy it I think they started playing to those qualities more obviously.

AE: The Tyler episode when you got stabbed was a great episode…
GM: Yeah, once you start inflicting bodily harm something bad is going to happen. Nolan’s not a guy who sits idly by and let’s things happen, per se. Maybe he’s got secret ninja skills like Emily that we have yet to be revealed. It was funny. I was like ‘Really, Tyler, you’re cutting me? Something bad is going to happen to you. That’s a really bad idea.’ On Revenge anything is possible. I don’t know that that is the end of anything. Nothing is necessarily the end of anything on the show. We just saw [Tyler] in a car. We didn’t necessarily see what happened next.

AE: Will we see Nolan get another boy toy or…
GM: Or a love interest? He better! [Nolan is] so equal opportunity and I think that there’s a wealth of possibilities there. And I am game for anything that these writers want to bring at this point. It’s like red meat. You just go aaahh and just dig in.

AE: Do you think Nolan loves Emily?
GM: Absolutely. I think there’s a very complicated love relationship there. It may be unrequited on her part. She continues to tolerate me and the relationship continues to evolve, but I don’t think I would hang in through all the danger and drama if there wasn’t some real heart connection to her. As to what the nature of that connection is, I think that’s what they’re in the process of continuing to develop.

(Emily) Emily VanCamp and (Nolan) Mann

AE: The chemistry between you and Ashton was just off the charts…
GM: It was great. I think neither of us knew that’s where the stories were going to go but he’s a tremendous actor. So when you put two snakes in a pit something is going to happen. It was so much fun to play those scenes with him because he’s really good and it sort of took a game of checkers and turned it into chess and the delicacies and complexities of where that was going became really, really fun. I’m glad that people enjoyed watching it.

AE: Is he a good kisser?
GM: Is Ashton a good kisser? He’s absolutely game for whatever and I think if anybody attempts something with enough enthusiasm something interesting and potentially good is going to come out of it. He’s not a bad kisser!

Ashton Holmes with Mann in a scene from Revenge

AE: How are your computer skills?
GM: I am much more tech savvy now, not necessarily because of Nolan, but just because this has been so much fun following the organic progress as the series goes along in the Interwebs, as Emily calls them. I’m sort of self-educated as we’ve gone along and, I mean, there’s nothing I really want to hack into and no piece of information I personally need that much. We can probably find most of what we’re interested in finding anyway.

AE: Is Revenge a show that you personally would watch?
GM: I’m a drama guy and always have been. The irony of this part is that I’m kind of, to a degree, the comic relief of the show, and I don’t think I’ve ever done a comedy once, ever. Not because it was beyond my capacities, but it’s not how I think people perceive me. But how could you not with these lines? He’s sort of the most twisted Greek chorus you could ever have.

I wouldn’t have known if it necessarily is a show that I would have watched. But having been involved and then obviously curious about the result itself since they don’t show us or tell us anything until it airs…I don’t know if it’s because I love this group of people and they’re now so familial to me, but I really love watching what everybody does and everybody brings a flavor that’s so great and it’s just really pulpy, juicy storytelling. And I think as a fan of any fast-moving dramatic series there’s going to be something compelling in this. Maybe a couple of years ago I would’ve said, ‘I don’t know. Maybe not,’ but at this point I absolutely love it.

Mann with castmates Joshua Bowman and Connor Paolo

Revenge airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.

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