Emily Van Camp Talks REVENGE Season 2, Jennifer Jason Leigh Joining the Cast as Her Mother, and More

     July 30, 2012


After the explosive shocks, twists and revelations in the finale of Revenge, Season 2 of the popular ABC drama series, premiering on September 30th, is sure to heat things up even more.  With everything that occurred in Season 1, including the fate of some of the characters left in question, Emily Thorne (Emily Van Camp) will be back, colder and more determined than ever to exact her revenge.

During a set visit that was held as part of the TCA Press Tour, show star Emily Van Camp talked about Jennifer Jason Leigh joining the cast to play her mother, how the mother-daughter dynamic will affect her character, just where she’ll draw the line when it comes to what she’ll do for revenge, whether or not she can ever make peace, who she thinks her character is destined to end up with, what she’s learned from past mistakes, why she thinks people root for her character, and the fun of getting to play the campy side of the show.  Check out what she had to say after the jump.

emily-van-camp-revengeQuestion: What’s it like to have Jennifer Jason Leigh join the cast as your mother?

EMILY VAN CAMP:  We are so excited!  The one thing that is so exciting for us and for the show is that we have (show creator) Mike Kelley, who is constantly making sure that it is about quality.  It is not about getting the most famous person.  It is just about finding someone incredible, and that is who he has found.  That is how he put this whole cast together.  We need that with this show.  I couldn’t be happier.  I just met her, for the first time, the other day, and it was really odd.  There is a pretty strong similarity there, in terms of our physical appearance.  It was one of those odd moments, when you meet the person who is playing your mother, for the first time, especially having played this character for a year.  It was really cool!

What did you think when you heard there was going to be a mom?

VAN CAMP:  I was so excited!  I think the relationship between mother and daughter is so interesting, even in a semi-normal family.  Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke’s family relationship is going to be so interesting to explore.  It is going to give me so many places to go.  Obviously, it has been said that she is not the most stable of characters.  What is interesting about that, when you think about mental health, is that young women will often come into those problems and difficulties in their 20’s, so it is very possible that this will start to affect her psyche.  She will wonder, “How crazy am I?  Am I following in these footsteps?  Am I mentally unstable?  Where is all this coming from?”  So, it will be a reflection upon herself and a great way to explore her behavior.  I think that will cause her a lot of discomfort, to start analyzing why she does what she does, through her mother and what she begins to understand of her mother.  It will be a really interesting relationship. 

revenge-nick-wechslerIs there a stopping point for Emily, in her revenge?

VAN CAMP:  The thing that I love about Emily and the reason people are able to continue to root for her is that, as much as she behaves as a sociopath, underneath that shell is a vulnerable, hurt, angry young girl who ultimately just wants to rid herself of that feeling.  In her mind, that can be done by embarking on this quest for revenge.  But, I absolutely think she comes dangerously close to wanting to reveal her truth.  Jack (Nick Wechsler) brings that out of her.  You see that, in the last episode of the first season.  And I think her mom will absolutely bring that out in her.  Those moments of vulnerability are what allow people to continue to connect with her, but I don’t see an end quite yet.  She regrouped, at the end of the season.  When Jack became an impossibility in her life, I think it numbed that human side of her again, and she is back in her sociopathic behavioral patterns. 

revenge-posterWould you imagine that Emily will somehow make peace, before the end of the series?

VAN CAMP:  The unfortunate thing, and the tragedy of this show, is in exploring the theme of revenge.  Absolutely everyone can find peace, at some point or another, but the interesting thing is how you find it, the collateral damage along the way and all the trauma that she indirectly causes all these other people in her circle. 

The final moments of the last episode changed everything.  So, will she go back to the faux romance with Daniel (Joshua Bowman), or is she going to go for a new approach?

VAN CAMP:  I can say that there is a new love interest of hers, that is someone who was a part of her life, during that period when she went away to study.  The new character will be coming in to challenge her.  He’ll be played by Barry Sloane.  We haven’t worked together yet.  I haven’t met him.  I think he is still in England.  So, that is going to be an interesting relationship because it will be the first relationship that you see with her and an adult male, in a grown-up relationship.  With Jack, it’s very nostalgic.  With Daniel, it was very manipulative.  This is someone that she really cared about, and he betrayed her.  It was one more disappointment in her life, so that dynamic is going to be very interesting.  I think it is going to be fun to play out.  You will meet him in the first episode.  We don’t keep people waiting too long.

revenge-joshua-bowmanDo you ultimately think she is meant to be with Jack (Nick Wechsler)?

VAN CAMP:  I think that is a given.  In so many ways, that is a massive part of the heart of the show.  He represents everything good in her, and she can’t help but love that about him.  Obviously, he was the one person that she was willing to sacrifice this entire quest for, so there is deep love there.  He may possibly be the only man that she can truly and wholly love because she had, in a time when she hadn’t been through all that trauma.  I don’t see it happening, any time soon, because of how Season 1 ended and where we left off.  But, I absolutely think they are meant to be together.

What can you tell us about the pregnancy storyline?

VAN CAMP:  I don’t know.   I know some things, but things change all the time.  We are only shooting Episode 1 now, but she is still pregnant, coming back into Season 2.  So, who knows what is going to happen?  I don’t even know myself, but it is certainly an interesting storyline.  I want to know if Jack is the daddy or not. 

What are your thoughts on the fans that are rooting for Emily and Nolan (Gabriel Mann) to get together?

VAN CAMP:  I find it a little weird because I the way it has been played is very much on a brother/sister level.  They both share this great connection, which is the love of her father.  And the way that they interact is so brotherly/sisterly, that I find it hard to imagine them together.  Gabe might say something different, though.  He is always rooting for that.  He wants them to be together, but I just think it’s odd.  I love who they are together.  I don’t think they could have this great relationship that they have, if they were love interests.  Most people are just rooting for their amazing friendship and they want me to be nicer to him, so I try.

revenge-gabriel-mannDo you ever hear from people who have actually plotted revenge?  What sort of fan base do you hear from?

VAN CAMP:  Oddly enough, I think that everybody can relate to revenge, on some level. Everyone has wanted to exact it, at some point, and everybody has tampered with the idea, even if they didn’t actually go through with it.  So, the show has a pretty normal fan base.  It is just people who want to live vicariously through this show, particularly to fantasize with that part of their brain.  So many people connect with this show that it is hard to even comprehend.  We had no idea, going into this, that it would have so much success, in so many different parts of the world.  It is a very large fan base who really like to watch this theme and connect with it, on some level.  And we did have something up on the ABC website, where people were sending in stories of revenge, which I thought was hilarious.  There were some crazy ones, and there were some scary ones.

Emily-Van-Camp-RevengeBecause she made so many mistakes in the first season, has Emily learned any lessons that she will carry into Season 2?

VAN CAMP: In the opening of Season 2, she is trying to center herself.  She left the Hamptons for a little while, and she is trying to refocus and figure out what it is that she actually wants now because she has so much information.  She has the information on her father, but not so much information on her mother.  It has almost inspired a new quest for her to find her mother and establish some kind of relationship with her, if she is alive.   Emily Thorne happens to have the tools to make it happen.  No matter where her mom is, she can find her.

Will viewers get to see the rest of the video that Emily was watching, at the end of the finale?

VAN CAMP:  Yes, you will see some of that video.  It all becomes a lot more clear, but a lot more complicated, at the same time.  When we see her come back to Season 2, she has numbed that human side of her and she is back to that sociopathic nature that she has, where she just shuts off.

emily-van-camp-revengeDo you think she is any better than the people she is going after?

VAN CAMP:  That is really difficult.  I play the character and I love her so much, so I am biased.  I think she absolutely is! She is taking down some pretty horrendous people, who have done horrible things to innocent families.  She is taking down the guilty.  Her guilty conscience comes in when the collateral damage starts to happen, and people who she really loves start to suffer at the hands of what she is doing.  But, for the most part, I am all for it.  You want to take down a lying, cheating Senator?  Do it!  She is not killing anybody.  She is destroying their lives, the way that they may have destroyed other people’s lives.  There’s a heroic side to it, as well.  

Is killing the one line that she won’t cross?

VAN CAMP:  Even with the White Haired Man, who she saw footage of, killing her father, I think that is a line that she very much will not cross.  Will she, at some point?  I don’t know.  The thing about human nature is that you just never know.  Dealing with these mental issues, I think she might start to question her own boundaries.  But, at this point, that is part of her moral code.

Do you know when Emily might come face to face with her mother?

Emily-Van-Camp-RevengeVAN CAMP:  I think fairly shortly, but I can’t tell you exactly.  I don’t have that information.

Why do you think people like your character?  What do they see that makes them root for her?

VAN CAMP:  That’s a very good question.  I think she just represents a part of everybody, in possibly different ways.  Some people might want to live vicariously through her because they had an experience with a certain person that they want to take revenge on, or they might identify with not being able to be with a long lost lover, or they might identify with having a really evil stepmom.  There are so many elements to this character that you can identify with, and yet it’s great entertainment and wonderful stories that are fantastically written.  It’s a fine line that I walk, always.  I’m constantly trying to find a balance between good and evil with her, and how far she’s willing to go.  I have to find the emotional background and intention with everything that she does because, if I’m not confident in what she’s doing, I think that plays through the character.  I also feel like, as the actress, if I identify with what she’s doing and I really believe in what she’s doing, that will hopefully shine through.  We’ve just really tried to walk that line, really carefully, and balance it really well. 

revenge-emily-van-campDon’t you think this show could have been really cheesy?

VAN CAMP: Oh, yeah!  And it walks that line, still.  But, the campy element of this show is what makes it so appealing because we balance that campy element with great stories and unbelievable writing.  Cinematically, this show is phenomenal.  You have a great quality show and a great timeslot and great actors, great writers and great directors coming in, and then you add a campy, soapy element to that, that adds a whole other thing.  It’s hard to place exactly what this show is.  Part of it is the people that are involved.  Having met Mike Kelley and Phillip Noyce, who directed the pilot and is a fantastic film director, he had so much to do with setting the tone for this show, and I think he walked that line beautifully.  And every single day, Mike is so diligent about finding that balance with the characters and adding just enough campiness, depth, vulnerability, weight and fluff to it.  He puts it all together and it’s this perfect recipe that he’s created. 

What did you think was the campiest thing that happened, in the first season?

VAN CAMP: When Lydia (Amber Valletta) fell off the building and survived without a scratch, that was pretty amazing.