[03/11/12 - 05:37 PM]
Live at the Paley Festival: ABC's "Revenge"
By Jim Halterman (TFC)

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12:58 PM - It's an early start today as the enthusiastic crowd waits with bated breath for the cast and creative team from ABC's hit series "Revenge" to come out and talk about the show. But first, we get a clip from a 2007 episode of "Brothers & Sisters" with Emily VanCamp arguing with her then TV mom, Patricia Wettig. (Though VanCamp was a goody two shoes on that show, we can see hints of the steely drama she brings to her "Revenge" character.)

1:02 PM - The Paley Center's Becky Levikow welcomes the audience at the Saban Theater for the tenth day of the 29th Annual PaleyFest. Becky then brings out TV Guide Magazine's Debra Birnbaum (who also moderated last night's "Vampire Diaries" panel), who starts out by saying she's spent many a summer in the Hamptons but never one like we've seen on ABC's "Revenge." She also reminds that fans can vote in the TV Guide Magazine Fan Favorite Poll on the magazine's Facebook page. Not surprisingly, she says "Revenge" is doing very well in many of the categories.

1:04 PM - Debra introduces series creator Mike Kelley, who thanks the fans and says he actually reads the feedback online about the show. To give all of us something to be excited about, we're going to watch a couple of scenes from episode 17, which we will not see in its entirety until the show returns in April.

1:23 PM - Clips over and lots of juicy stuff kicks off the episode but it's time for Debra to bring out the panel. Nick Wechsler (Jack)! Ashley Madekwe (Ashley)! Josh Bowman (Daniel)! Henry Czerny (Conrad)! Executive Producer Marty Bowen! Madeleine Stowe (Victoria)! Mike Kelley! Emily VanCamp (Emily)! Gabriel Mann (Nolan)! Connor Paolo (Declan)! Christa B. Allen (Charlotte)!

1:26 PM - Debra kicks off the panel by asking Mike if he knew all along that Daniel was not the dead body on the beach. He explains, "I think the fun of the show is we went in with a blueprint for what I thought would work best for the show and we stuck to most of the meaty points but the show has a way of taking these little side adventures that you don't expect... while we did have a plan that Tyler would be the body on the beach and Daniel would be the murderer, we had moments in the season where we thought, 'What if it were somebody else?'" Mike knew that people would have freaked out if they had actually killed off Daniel.

1:30 PM - Of the rest of the season, Mike says, "We have an idea where we want this season to end and obviously we're going to end with a cliffhanger... if we're lucky enough to get into a second season then I think what we're going to do is another giant event that will be resolved mid-season." He adds, "you'll find in the last two episodes [of the first season] we're going to set up some new drama, new alliances." He also said that after episode 17, there will be a time jump to December and the trial of Daniel Grayson will already be underway. The trial, he also teases, will be done by episode 19. "We take care of this in short order."

1:34 PM - The cast is currently shooting a flashback episode and, of course, we need to talk about fashion and hairstyles. "We're having some fun," says Gabriel, who calls the style "'Revenge' by way of 'Starsky and Hutch.'" Nick is also going to have some interesting hair, they tease, and someone mentions the '80s Broadway musical "Rock of Ages" so expect big hair for good old Jack.

1:35 PM - The flashback episode is also important because it shows us the first time Emily actually meets all the people that she eventually takes down. "It really solidifies what her father's been telling her in these journals... it's very exciting," says Emily.

1:36 PM - Debra asks if there's any chance that David Clarke (James Tupper, so far only seen in flashbacks) is still alive? "The answer is... " says Mike before taking a big, long drink of water. He isn't about to answer the question fully but does hint, "If it's not impossible, we'll probably do it." How about meeting Emily's mother? We will find out more about what happened to her mother, he teases, and it's all leading us into story for season two. "I think it would be great to see what happened to her mother," says Mike.

1:39 PM - "For Daniel," Josh says, "he's hopefully going to become more aware... and become more on the level of 'Revenge.'" Mike, who seems to enjoy giving these tidbits to the crowd, says Daniel is going to learn how he's been manipulated by both his mother and fiancé. That said, Mike reminds us that Daniel did, in fact, shoot Tyler and he is a Grayson.

1:44 PM - Henry has some theories on how all the characters on the show function. "They have ideas about how things will play out - Emily, especially - but yet there's a constant reminder from the universe around you that you one part, you are a passenger in this thing [and] it doesn't make you stop wanting to drive the car."

1:47 PM - As for the Conrad/Victoria divorce, how will it play out? Henry likens it to "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" with them as George and Martha. "I think part of what works in our dynamic is that we're always at it with each other... vengeance is coming," Madeleine promises.

1:48 PM Madeleine is asked what she thinks about playing Victoria Grayson. "It's a ball," she says, happily. "To be able to be heinous and twisted and loving and compulsive," she continues, "I've never seen a woman like this on television... I love that she is a mess and messes are great."

1:50 PM - Mike says there is deep damage and pain in Victoria that we'll be able to explore in the future. "I think that we'll continue to humanize her and continue to make her a monster even more and then humanize her more." "I'm a big believer in yanking the audience around," adds Madeline.

1:52 PM - Emily and Madeleine both love working together as rivals Emily and Victoria. Madeleine says she loves when Emily will do little things like give Daniel an extra kiss when she's around just to twist the knife. "I think my character takes a lot of pleasure in making Victoria's life miserable, " says Emily.

1:55 PM - Debra wants to know if Daniel were forced to choose, would he pick Emily or Victoria? Josh doesn't really answer the question directly but he does say, "I'm looking forward to some kind of darker turns so we'll see" and then he does something so nice in giving a genuine thanks to the crowd for coming to the panel today.

1:56 PM - Emily's biggest fear in doing the pilot was that people wouldn't root for her character. "I think at the core of it, first of all, to see what she's been through and it's important to see what this family put her through," she explains. Asked if there were limits to what she's capable of doing to seek her revenge and Emily answers, "I think there's definitely a line that she won't cross."

1:58 PM - Mike says that they were lucky to get Emily for the show because they needed someone that you could wrap your arms around. "We know that we're rooting for her and we can't even tell you why. There's just something about her," says Mike of Emily.

2:00 PM - Emily gets in on some teasing when asked about choosing between Daniel and Jack. She says, "In the episodes to come you see how much [Emily] really feels for Daniel... and in this episode, actually in the end, you get to see a different side of her and how far she'll go for Daniel as well as for Jack and it just keeps becoming more complicated." says Emily. "It's so much fun to play because both of these guys are so brilliant and so different... it's tough."

2:02 PM - Debra asks Mike if Takeda (Hiroyuki Sanada) is looking out for Emily's best interests? Mike smiles and will only say, "That's a very good question." Of Emily's revenge list, Mike says, "The list will expand. It is alive."

2:04 PM - Should Emily trust Nolan? "What do you think?" says Gabriel. He says that his real-life friendship with Emily comes through in the relationship between Emily and Nolan. Emily adds that there's a sibling quality to the relationship and Gabriel exclaims, "We're not related!" Of her grand plan, Emily says Nolan is necessary not only to the plan itself but to Emily's sanity. She doesn't have too many people and because Nolan knew her father, there's a kinship between them.

2:08 PM - In response to Debra saying that Nolan has these great one-liners, Gabriel says he was never a funny guy, more of a sad sack and thanks Mike for the great lines. "I wish I were half as creative and could spin these kind of thoughts that way that he does," he says. Mike calls them Nolan-isms.

2:10 PM - Nolan also has his own style instead of wardrobe, which Gabriel says has evolved over time. "It's sort of like his armor," he says, "and it's how it protects him from everyone else."

2:13 PM - "I think there's a duality in her. No one is all good or all bad," says Ashley on her character. "At the moment, Ashley is being a little bit of a 'B.'" How dangerous could Ashley become? "Because we don't know much about her it could go anywhere," she says. Mike said that people actually complained about Ashley's fake British accent when she's truly British!

2:18 PM - Ashley does have some big things coming up and Mike teases that her loyalties are going to shift and she'll have to make a big decision regarding Emily.

2:19 PM - Debra asks about young lovers Charlotte and Declan. How is Charlotte's drug use going to affect their relationship? "I don't think Declan understands the scope of how deeply it goes or how shattered Charlotte is," says Connor about dealing with her. "Ultimately, Charlotte needs someone to step in and guide her in the right direction. It remains to be seen if it will be Declan or not," Christa hints.

2:22 PM - Audience question time. A fan asks Nick a question and the crowd erupts into a big round of applause since he's been quiet through most of the panel. Does he see Jack as being more in love with Emily or Amanda? "While I'm torn, this girl [points at Emily] has already rejected me" but Jack also mistakenly thinks that Amanda is the girl from his past. That said, Jack, he says, will always have a draw to Emily but he cannot do anything about it. He leans towards Amanda at least for now.

2:26 PM - When did David Clarke invest in Nolan's company? Prior to being imprisoned and the idea was that Nolan had gone looking for venture capital and has an in at Grayson Global. He gets introduced to David, who is kind enough and generous enough to help him. Nolan was rejected by everyone but David Clarke.

2:28 PM - A fan asks about Victoria's emotional distance to Charlotte and how that will change now that her true parentage (David Clarke) has been discovered. That was due to the fact that Charlotte is a reminder of a terrible thing that Victoria has done in the past, explains Mike.

2:30 PM - A fan compares Victoria to Darth Vader in the "Star Wars" films. "The fun of Darth Vader being the father of the hero, tragically who went dark... that's a pretty accurate analogy in a lot of ways," says Mike. Madeleine says that she's seen just about every movie but has never seen any of the "Star Wars" movies. Shocker!

2:33 PM - "A jigsaw puzzle with a thousand pieces missing," says Mike on how he relies on his writing staff for the intricate storytelling of the show. He was daunted in the beginning but that feeling has changed now that they're racing to the end of the first season. "Now I know we can do it, which is great," he says and adds, "it's the trickiest show I've ever had to do."

2:36 PM - That's a wrap from today's panel. I'll be back for the "Two and a Half Men" panel tomorrow night when PaleyFest continues.

And for more PaleyFest coverage - past and present - visit our Paley Center topic page.

  [march 2012]  


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