Revenge's Gabriel Mann Teases an 'Explosive' Takedown: 'It Really Ups the Ante!'

We’ve adored Emily VanCamp since she went by Amy Abbott in the tiny town of Everwood. But Revenge‘s Gabriel Mann only recently popped up on our radar in a big way (though he has been in everything from The Bourne Identity films to Mad Men).

What’s the deal with Mann’s endearing yet slimy Nolan? Can we really trust him? We spoke with the Revenge scene-stealer about all of that and more. Come conversation’s end, we were more excited than ever for the addictive ABC series’ all-new installment (airing Wednesday at 10/9c).

TVLINE | What’s next for the deliciously scheming Nolan?
Episode 5 is totally explosive! It really ups the ante to a completely different level. It’s no longer Emily locking people in storage containers and taking their money; it’s now a much more dangerous place. We’ll also see the return of [adulterous socialite] Lydia Davis, who is played by the amazing Amber Valletta. And Nolan, who is usually peeking in from the sidelines, gets stuck right in the middle of all of it.

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TVLINE | So, more Nolan — that’s a good thing!
Yes, more Nolan. Episode 7 will then involve the start of Nolan’s own take-down — and that’s as much as I can say about that. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Can we trust Nolan? As a fan of the character, I want to say yes, but he’s still a bit of a question mark.
You can trust that he will do something trustworthy, and then follow that up with something untrustworthy. [Laughs] The writers only give us half an inch — we’re as hungry for any information as you guys are. I’m just trying to leave enough room in his portrayal that it could go in any number of directions, and I’m happy to go there. Likely though, we’ll go in all directions with it.

TVLINE | Are we going to learn more about Nolan’s motivations for pushing Jack and Emily together? It seems counterproductive, given his desire to earn Emily’s trust….
This is what happens when you have too much money — he gets bored and just wants to stir the pot. There are definitely deeper motivations for him because there is a genuine backstory with Nolan and Amanda’s father, David (played by James Tupper). Nolan is this weird dichotomy; he’s a study in ambiguity, which is why he’s a brilliant character to get to play. He has all this money and power and yet he’s very insecure and weak — that’s his fatal flaw. He’ll do anything to have a connection with other people, and yet he doesn’t need it because he’s in a glass tower already. That said, he’s fascinated with Emily because she’s the person who understands him most. No one else wants to give him the time of day and her mind works like his. Nolan is seeing how far he can push before she chokes him out again. Coming up there’s definitely going to be something deserving of a choking out, to say the least. I had to pick my jaw up off the table when they told me.

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TVLINE | Were you at all aware of the scope of Nolan’s involvement in the world of Revenge when you took the role? He seemed much more surface-level in the pilot.
I had no idea. All I knew was that I had this audition for a great series…and I wanted to take a risk and go full-throttle. All that [the producers] had said in the casting byline for the character was that Nolan “dresses for sh–t,” so I took that in the opposite direction: I wore a red plastic windbreaker, a dirty shirt and shoes and ugly flannel pants hanging off my butt…. And then after I got the part, I went in for my first wardrobe fitting and there were all these fancy suits. They then told me I got the role in spite of what I wore to the audition. [Laughs] Initially, my take on Nolan was different, but we’ve melded those two worlds into one now.

TVLINE | Well, congratulations on Revenge‘s much-deserved success — and the full-season pickup!
We’re all so happy, just here supporting each other. It’s like the bottomless cup of coffee — the gift that keeps on giving.