Rachael Taylor Interview: ‘666 Park Avenue’s’ Heightened Compromising Desires Are “More Realistic Than We’d Like To Confess To Ourselves”Posted: October 29, 2012
666 Park Avenue is glamorous, intriguing and memorable. And so is Rachael Taylor, the lovely Australian actress who’s now starring in the ABC series. Playing Jane van Been to Dave Annable’s Henry Martin, Taylor is getting noticed in this new show depicting a new manager to New York’s finest hotel, The Drake. It’s a place where dreams come true, but where desires are only met with a price. Is it the devil at its best? The unknowing residents of The Drake are slowly getting introduced to the supernatural, while Jane leads with more curiosity than the average person.
Taylor knows how lucky she is to snag such a role, and being a part of one of the best new series that the fall season has introduced. But 666isn’t just about a seductive and scary world. As Taylor says it best, “I think we live in a world where we are very frequently compromising our own sense of morality in a small way, or our own sense of integrity, in a small way, to live the dream, whatever that dream is.”
During my chat with Taylor, she also discusses what fans want to know: What’s going on with this marriage talk? What’s her take on Gavin? And does she scare easier than Jane in real life?
666 Park Avenue scares me, yet I can’t stop watching!
RACHAEL TAYLOR: We’re really confident in the show that we’re making! It is a spooky show, but it is also a melodrama. So, it seems to be like Revenge’s ghost, I think. So, if you’re a fan of that kind of high noon, melodramatic, relationship-driven drama, and you’re a fan of the horror genre, I think it’s a really good show.
Absolutely. And New York is like another great character.
Yeah! I was based in L.A., and when we got the call to move to New York to shoot the show, I think that was just an exciting move. Number one, New York is a great city and we’re all so happy here. But the other thing is it’s really just important for the show. New York is another character, and I feel like because a lot of the things about the show is the idea of wish fulfillment and unholy ambition, New York is really kind of the pinnacle – the idea of the “American Dream,” which is where you can come to the city and if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. I feel like the show being set in New York and us actually filming in New York kind of compresses the characters’ desires. It’s such a cool city to film in! There are a lot of productions in New York at the moment. There’s an exciting creative energy to the city.
Speaking of energy, you and Dave Annable definitely have chemistry. Did you audition together?
No, I didn’t audition with Dave. I think it was just a stroke of luck that we kind of like each other so much! Chemistry between two actors is kind of like lightning in a bottle…we’re kind of similar actors, and we’re similar people. I feel like I’ve known Dave for a long time. He’s become a very dear friend of mine, and I kind of think of him like a brother. We just happen to really get along, which is great.
What’s your take on the Jane and Henry marriage talk? Could we expect a wedding in the future?
My take on the marriage thing is that Jane –she doesn’t have a very big family. Her grandmother basically raised her and her parents weren’t around. I think Jane is the cautious one in terms of marriage. That’s my take on it. I think she just really wants to wait until it feels right. And obviously, it’s something that they’re planning for, like it could be in their future, but right now it’ll basically be about all of the supernatural things going on in the show. We start with a couple that is very much in love, and even by the end of the third episode which we’ve just seen, these kind of spooky, supernatural experiences are kind of driving a wedge in between the two characters. So, that’s kind of interesting. I mean it’s interesting to ask yourself as stable as any relationship can be, if one character on the outside is starting to look like she’s losing her mind. She doesn’t believe that she is at all, but I think Henry – Henry doesn’t have any experience with the supernatural world. So, I feel like that is a pretty significant obstacle that they’re going to have to overcome.
There’s so much to watch on television, but your show definitely seems to have found an opening on something that’s not out there right now. What are your thoughts on the number 666 and Gavin possibly being the devil?
Yeah, I’m not sure if Terry O’ Quinn’s character Gavin Doran is the devil or not. My take on it is it’s kind of like our own waiting room – he’s the real estate broker for a guy that’s selling your soul, I think. I’ve always thought that there’s this undertone Stephen King story which is where, bartering system where you get what you want, but you also have to give something up or someone or something else suffers because of that. It’s interesting: on one hand, I think, it’s kind of a heightened concept, but on the other hand, I’ve always felt like it’s quite an applicable idea, which is kind of why I wanted to do this series.
The idea of this Faustian bargain, these Shakespearean undertones of unholy ambition, people selling their souls to get what they want – certainly, we take it to an elevated, heightened level. But I also think in this day and age, it’s also more realistic than we’d like to confess to ourselves. I think we live in a world where we are very frequently compromising our own sense of morality in a small way, or our own sense of integrity, in a small way, to live the dream, whatever that dream is. Some people, all they want to do is get married, so they find someone who maybe is not the perfect match for them, and they marry them anyway because that’s part of their greater ambition in life. Or, all we want to do is have a lot of money and be successful so we end up compromising and taking a job that we otherwise would kind of confess to ourselves, ‘Oh, that’s not actually spiritually fulfilling.’ So, I actually see this show – on the one hand, it is obviously a drama and it is a false reality—I do see it speaking to something that is much more like our society than we would probably like to acknowledge.
That’s a fantastic take on it. That’s probably why I’m so drawn to it.
Yeah, I think that’s the reason I’m drawn to it, too. I always tell myself I want to be a good person and I want to stand by my own personal code of morality, but at the same time, obviously we all have ambitions and dreams, and I think we do compromise ourselves in order to attain them.
Jane seems to investigate a lot more than the usual person would at The Drake. She’s brave and courageous. Would you say you scare more easily in real life?
I think I’m like Jane in the sense that we’re actually both little bit of both. On the one hand, I see her as a strong character, but I think she’s more curious than anything else. I think she definitely has an internal conflict. I also think her need to understand the world that she’s in and her need to solve the puzzle and answer some of the questions about the building are stronger than anything else, which is where I think she gets that internal fire from. In that way, I kind of understand that. I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a courageous person, but often my need to keep going or my need to discover the truth about myself or about life will push through to the point where I feel like I’ve grown to some greater understanding about myself – outweighs the particular fear I might have about a situation.
When away from set, do all of you get to spend some time together?
It’s funny, everyone always says, ‘Oh, yeah, we really get along,’ and I feel like it’s just a line – but in our case, we actually do! On Saturday night, we all went out to dinner, Mercedes [Masohn], and [Robert] Buckley, and Eric Palladino, and Dave Annable and his wife – we all sat around there and drank some wine. And the weekend before that, Mercedes and I went and had dinner, and we wandered around in the West Village and looked at shops. We actually do hang out! I always feel like people don’t buy it – but we really hit the jackpot on this show. It’s funny, I so believe in the show that we’re making and I feel that everybody else does as well, but we’re just so happy to be here. We just put our heads down and keep doing our job, because we really like each other.
I think it shows. It’s a series worth watching.
I think as people continue to discover our show we’re going to find a really loyal fan base because we get the script. We just read episode 10, and we all looked at each other like: ‘Oh my God! Did that really just happen? Is that really the payoff?’ The thing that we found out in Episode 3 then goes on and gets intricately woven into the story in episode 10. I feel like we’re just kind of getting better and better.
‘Battle Of The Seasons’ Exit Interview: Preston’s Hilarious ‘Hunger Games’ Take And The Huge Alliance He Never Wanted To Be A Part OfPosted: October 26, 2012
Preston Charles is our new favorite person. Behind the glitter and crazy outfits, there’s clearly a guy who knows how to have a good time in Turkey all the while realizing how incredibly ridiculous his own alliance is. Not caring all too much about the money ( admitting he wouldn’t have made it to the end) Preston took the time to enjoy the scenery and watch the others go at it.
During my recent chat with Preston about his ticket home with Mackenzie, the New Orleans castmate opened up about the meaningless drama (seriously!) and the San Diego alliance that he never even wanted. Plus, does he really think Knight and Jemmye should give their relationship a second chance?
What were your first thoughts once you landed in Turkey and realized you would have to work with your New Orleans team?
PRESTON CHARLES: ‘Oh, crap. Balls. What did I get myself into?’ [Laughs]
Seriously. Were you nervous going in?
Yeah, it was my very first challenge and I was extremely nervous, and I really didn’t know what to expect. And on that long flight from the United States to Turkey all I wanted to do was go to bed, and they were like, ‘No, no, no. No one’s going to bed. We have more.’ And I was just like, ‘No, they’re not going to throw us into a challenge right now!’ So, I was terrified.
Knight gave you a hard time in the beginning. What’s your take on your relationship with him?
Knight and I have always had a tumultuous relationship, so that wasn’t that shocking. Knight is always going to be that ‘bro-y dude, hockey player guy’ who doesn’t really think much of this. I think I’m his only queer friend – and we’re not really friends. I’m like his only queer acquaintance.
You really showed what a great competitor you are in the first challenge. That must have been awful – falling into the water.
Oh my God. So, I have PTSD from that challenge. Any time I get on anything slightly high – I’m freaking out. I really don’t know how I got on that ladder again. I don’t know how I climbed on there again. I mean, I actually, on that challenge I perforated my ear drum. So, I slammed into the water – yeah, I destroyed my eardrum. So, I have no clue how I had the balance to go through and make it through. I think maybe the main thing was the fact was that I knew I was going to be on television and if I didn’t make it through I would be the worst competitor ever.
I can’t believe they didn’t show that part!
Yeah, I mean, I also downplayed it a lot because I was just like, the last thing I want them to do was show me on my first challenge hobbling around with my head tilted to the side, not being able to hear.
That’s true. Your team was aligned with a ton of teams, but whom did you think was going to be the biggest threat?
I thought really the largest threat was San Diego, which was odd – well, yeah, and this whole alliance to me is nuts. I just don’t get it. I don’t know if you noticed this or not, but I wasn’t really that involved in it – they didn’t really ask me my decision about anything – and all of a sudden I just hear we’re in an alliance with all of this other people, and I’m just like, ‘Oh. I guess this is the way it’s gonna go down.’
It was a huge alliance! I was hoping you’d eventually align more with the vets like Brooklyn and Fresh Meat.
Well, for a while the plan for that whole challenge was kind of not really – was to make an alliance without making an alliance. So, having it seem like I was on people’s side when I actually wasn’t. I mean, for me, I would have loved – because I actually like Brooklyn’s team – I love J.T. and Devyn a lot. I really like them. They’re great people. I don’t necessarily like Zack or Frank – I don’t think they’re terrible people, don’t get me wrong – I don’t think that. But they’re just obnoxious. They’re kind of cocky. The whole alliance thing just did not play out the way I wanted it to. And the other thing is that, how do you have an alliance with the entire house?
Exactly! You’re going to turn on each other sooner or later.
Right? I couldn’t grasp when they’re like, ‘The entire house is in alliance!’ Out of 32 people, you’re in an alliance with 26? I mean, how does that make any sense?
It doesn’t! Well, besides that, what were some of your favorite moments in Turkey?
My favorite moments were when I hung out by myself, when I was picking flowers and making floral arrangements.
Hah! It was a cute moment between you and Mackenzie on your last night. Is that what you tended to do a lot?
Yeah, that’s really what I loved most about being there, was looking at all of the beautiful scenery, and being in this exotic, gorgeous place that most people wouldn’t even fathom going to, and just sitting back and relaxing. Another great thing I loved was hanging around, we had this – so, Jasmine has this alter ego named Rashit, and we used to call it Rashit’s Bar. And so, we would be hanging out there, drinking and everything. I didn’t really drink much, I would have a glass of wine at the end of the day, but all of the other ones had a lot of fun drinking at Rashit’s Bar.
That doesn’t seem surprising! But did anything else shock you while there?
I think what surprised me the most is we’re all adults, and there was just a general lack of respect toward each other. That was just really shocking to me. When I did The Real World I learned a lot about myself, and I saw a lot of the ugly in me, and I was just like, ‘That’s not necessarily the person I’d like to be.’ And I grew from that experience. And these days, it seems like a lot of the people who were on The Real World –St. Thomas is the only one I give, like a complete, ‘you can act like an asshole because you haven’t seen yourself on television yet.’ But a lot of these people still seemed like they carried around that same behavior they had on The Real World.
That’s true, I mean obviously there’s a money prize, but it seems really cutthroat this season.
Yeah, and I mean, I’m gonna be honest. Come on. I knew when I went there, I wasn’t going to win any money. That’s not what this is about. If I go in here being like, ‘I’m gonna win all this money,’ I’m gonna be heartbroken when I leave. That’s not happening. [Laughs]
Who would you have wanted on your team instead? And you can’t choose New Orleans.
And I can’t choose New Orleans?
Well, you can choose some people if you want.
All right. Well, I wouldn’t choose New Orleans anyway! [Laughs.] So, I would have to choose Devyn – I don’t know, I just love Devyn. And then, I would have to choose Derek. And I think I’m gonna have to go with C.J.
Is there any more drama fans can expect coming up?
I think there’s definitely gonna be a LOT more drama. I know things got REALLY intense and crazy after I left. Expect much more drama. Expect to be surprised…a lot of people took the game to a personal level. Yeah, I don’t even know why they would do that. Like, when I was watching it, I saw all of the things that Chet said [about me]. And someone asked me do I take that personally, and I was like, ‘No! This is a game. That’s not real life.’ You know what I mean? These people can say whatever they want about me. They’re not my friends.
Who were you the closest to in the house?
I was close with Devyn, and Jasmine, Ashley…pretty much them. I got along with all of the girls really well, and I got along with Derek really well. Zack and Frank and Alton – all those other guys, didn’t really speak to me much, or if they did, they tried to make fun of me or something like that, or try to get under my skin a little bit. And I’m just like, I’m completely comfortable with who I am at this point. I love eyeliner, and glitter, and I like to wear crazy outfits.
You mentioned you knew it was going to come down to you and Mackenzie against Jemmye and Knight. Was there any discussion at all on who was going to head to the arena?
Mackenzie wanted to volunteer herself. God knows why. And, so, I knew right from there that if Mackenzie’s volunteering herself that means I have to go with Mackenzie. There’s no real choice about any of this. And it wasn’t even like, ‘Oh, MacKenzie, I’m volunteering…‘ it was just like, we knew that we were gonna have to go in. Jemmye and Knight played this whole card like, ‘Oh, you guys were in the alliance because of us,’ and I turned to them and I go, ‘what? I didn’t ask to be in this alliance.’ None of you people can actually distinguish your head from your assholes, so, I don’t know.
The arena looks so intimidating. What were your first thoughts when you went in against Sarah and Chet?
Oh, I was just like ‘it’s The Hunger Games.’ It’s complete Hunger Games. Sarah was Katniss, and freaking Chet was Gale! [Laughs]
What did you think when you lost and were going to be leaving Jemmye and Knight behind?
Honestly, when I left that place, all I could think of was how long it was going to take me to fly back from New York. I was like, ‘Oh well. Sucks to be them!’
Hilarious. Any hope for Jemmye and Knight to get back together?
Between Jemmye and Knight? Oh, God. I mean, I would hope not, ‘cause I am really sick of that story.
Would you ever do another challenge again? What kind of challenge would you want it be?
I would love it to be like Project Runway style. [Laughs] Battle of The Queers. That would be a really fun one. I don’t know. I can’t ever say never. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe.
Let’s hope! There’s so many that return every season that you start to wonder what everyone does outside the challenges.
Well, ’cause some of these people; the only thing they do do is challenges. [Laughs] Not to knock that! I’m not knocking it. Please don’t make it seem like I’m knocking it.
Sarah and Mark may have moved in together during Tuesday night’s Parenthood, but that doesn’t mean getting cable will help the relationship. After seeing Sarah’s expression while chatting to Adam at the hospital about the Hank kiss, it’s clear that Ray Romano will be guest starring on the NBC series for a little bit longer. During a recent conference call with Lauren Graham and Ray Romano, the two actors talked about the budding relationship and if Mark should start getting concerned. Plus, does Graham think age is working in Hank’s favor?
“I think they’ve written this sort of slowly developing relationship between these two people have a past and who have pain in that past,” Graham begins about Hank and Sarah. “There’s something about each other that they like, has been really, really, really fun and very nice for me to have as a piece of moving my character forward.” But as fans know, Sarah’s been the odd one out since Crosby got hitched at the end of season three. She’s now the only Braverman sibling not technically settled down. “She often makes the wrong decisions but I think in this story you see what is so compelling and that’s what’s interesting to me. Like I don’t mind doing – being flawed and, sort of making these reckless choices. But you want it to come from someplace and I think it definitely – you see what’s appealing about him.”
For many, hearing about Romano’s stay on the show worried Sarah and Mark shippers. (As if that concern has ever completely disappeared.) It even went as far as disliking Hank before even giving the guy a chance. But that wasn’t surprising—not even to Romano. “I was scared walking into this because I didn’t know where they were going to go with the character exactly,” he reveals. “I was like, ‘Oh, I got to go up against Jason Ritter? I got to go up against a 30 year old stud?’ And I was scared crapless.” Thankfully though, “people have taken to the character and kind of enjoy the character. What they’ll say when things get a little more ‘complicated’ I don’t know. But I’m going to stay off the Internet from here on in.”
So how will Sarah and Hank’s relationship progress? “I think she’s had a tough time. She hasn’t really settled down. This is still someone who is just finding a career who is, just sort of re-identifying herself as not—she’s kind of done everything for her kids and just survived and now is, you know, trying to define who she is,” Graham says about the recent move in with Mark. “I don’t know what the future for her is but I try to sort of take it as I get the information. And to me this Hank story is compelling and given kind of the issues she’s had in the relationship with Mark and kind of being in very different life places, I think it makes sense. It’s – I think it makes sense.”
But what doesn’t make sense, is assuming that Sarah may choose Hank in the end because of the smaller age difference. “I think Ray’s character could be lots of different ages and it’s the person, and I think the same with Mark and Sarah,” Graham adds. “I think it’s just the differences between the people and the dynamic between them. I mean, we’ve seen Hank’s daughter once, which was a good connection they made. But I don’t know, I think it’s just something about the two of them.”
And perhaps even something that will most likely continue throughout the season. But to what extent, no one really knows yet. “We still don’t really know what is going to happen, nor does the creator of the show,” Graham says. I mean, one of the funny things about this show is he [Jason Katims] kind of adjusts as things go along, and kind of picks up on the threads that are interesting to him more than maybe they do on most shows that are – which is not to say it’s not planned.”
Matthew Perry is of course not new to comedy by any means. The actor played Chandler Bing on the fan favorite Friends for 10 years and has since moved on to other lead roles in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Mr. Sunshine and his most current hit Go On on NBC. Playing Ryan King, a man who heads to therapy after losing his wife (trust us, it’s a comedy), Perry stars alongside John Cho, who just so happens to be his ultimate fan. Cho hasn’t been shy on relaying that message to Perry either. In a recent conference call, Perry replied to the, err, compliment.
“I love working with John. You know, we were very lucky to get him. I -we – he had been hired in the pilot as a guest star and then we asked him to be a regular and we were very fortunate that he said yes,” Perry revealed about the Harold & Kumar actor. “As for me being his comedic hero, he has mentioned that to me in the past and all that does is make me feel old,” he joked.
Though he pokes fun of his age, Perry does recognize what a fantastic career he’s had up until now, even if some series haven’t worked out in the past. “Friends was a magical thing. No one’s going to ever have anything like that again,” he admitted. “I’m a really lucky guy…I’ve just been very, very fortunate. You know, and the key to all of it is to make sure that acting is not, you know, the only thing you’ve got going on in your life, so you don’t identify solely with the ups and downs of that.”
Overall, you just can’t blame Cho for calling Perry his comedic hero. After all, Perry has certainly played one of the best and most memorable characters in television history. “I loved playing Chandler. That was, you know, I grew up sort of playing that part. I would saying probably in all honesty it’s Chandler and this character that I’m playing now, the character of Ryan King,” Perry said of his favorite role yet. “It’s a very sort of deep, enriching character to play because he’s going through so much and he’s also being very funny about it. So, I guess I would say Chandler and Ryan King.”
Isn’t Matthew Perry just the worst? On The Good Wife, that is. The Friends alum may have a good thing going on at Go On over on NBC, but occasionally Perry has taken some time out to head on over to Lockhart & Gardner to play the ruthless and rather unbearable Mike Kresteva. Mike often goes head-to-head with Julianna Margulies’ character Alicia Florrick, and has yet to step down from making her life miserable. The legal drama is a different turn for the comedic actor, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t searched for more dramatic scripts over the past few years.
“I was looking to do a drama and had met all the networks and studios about – in the development season – about finding a drama and was sent this,” Perry recently said in a press conference discussing his new sitcom. “And it’s obviously a comedy and I could tell by, like, the amount of pages that it was a comedy and I called my manager and said why did you send me this and he said just read it. And I realized that it had, you know, all of the elements that I was looking for. It had, you know, it was definitely funny, it had a lot of funny characters in it. And also it posed a big dramatic challenge too.”
Perry admits he also thinks one is a bit more challenging. “I think doing a comedy is potentially more challenging because you’re sort of forced to do a joke a page and you’re forced to be funny at a certain rate. And I’m sure that will surprise most people because most people would think that I would say drama is harder because I’ve had so much experience in comedy. But, they’re both – they both pose their challenges. But I actually think doing a comedy is harder than doing a drama.”
Though so many have just been used to seeing Perry throw out the humor as Chandler Bing for 10 years, his dramatic role on The Good Wife definitely has left a mark too. In fact, Perry even hopes he can continue his arc on the CBS series. “I really love doing The Good Wife, I hope that I get to come back and do more. It’s really fun to play a guy who is just so evil. And, you know, I’ve been looking to do—I like to do both.” The roles have even crossed paths. “I got both jobs on the exact same day. I got Go On and The Good Wife both on the same day and it was a great day. So, I’m really happy with how Go On is going and I hope to get to do some more Good Wife in the future too.”
Well, why wouldn’t they? Looks like Mae Whitman and Matt Lauria are having a great time on the Parenthoodset together. Amber and new character Ryan York are hitting it off, and looking absolutely adorable all the while. After all, didn’t Ryan seem to find the Braverman’s tradition of mixing sodas together funny? Plus, Amber has already seen how well he can blend in at family baseball games too. “Oh my God, you fit right in.”
Over the past week both Whitman and Lauria have been commenting on Twitter about the two characters, and it seems like shippers of these two will definitely get to enjoy a few more episodes with them together. Come on now, you know you saw a spark too! “So far, six…with more coming!” Lauria responded to a fan on how many episodes he’ll be appearing on.
But could another guy already be coming into the picture? It’s possible, you guys. But luckily he’s only fictional. ::tear:: “Do you guys think riggins is gonna be mad at me when I get home Tonight for cheating on him with like cafferty? :/” Whitman joked. Seems as though the gal has a crush on Tim Riggins too. Not that we could blame the girl. As many Parenthood fans know, the same unbelievably talented minds from Friday Night Lights such as Jason Katims and Peter Berg also head up the Braverman crew.
As many Parenthood fans know, Lauren Graham will be stopping by another NBC show this season, leaving Mark and Hank behind. But don’t worry—it’ll only be for a bit! It recently was announced that the Gilmore Girlsalum would be catching up with old friend Matthew Perry on his new comedy hit Go On. The series just got a full-season pickup, and it’s clear that Perry couldn’t be happier for the new storyline that will begin Nov. 20. During a recent conference call, Perry discussed Graham’s role and why it may shift what audiences have been so used to seeing from his character Ryan King.
“My friend Lauren Graham agreed to come on the show, which we were really excited about and she plays a character named Amy who was an old college buddy of mine,” he reveals. “There was some sparks back in college, but then my character got married. And now that things have changed in his life, Amy, Lauren Graham, comes back and it’s – it was really fun to work with her again and she’s just so good.”
The exchange between Ryan and Amy will be the first for fans. After all, the show is a comedy rooted by a very terrible tragedy of a guy losing his wife. Pursuing any type of love interest is something Ryan will have to get used to again. “That’s the interesting thing about this show is we couldn’t pursue any potential romances or any of that for a while because of the situation he’s in,” Perry adds. “But, just like any person, he’s going to sort of grow and move forward and part of that will be what’s now much delayed but, some dating and some getting himself out there stuff.” Perry is clearly happy about the show’s choice in Graham too. Later adding, “Couldn’t ask for a better person to come on the show and sort of jumpstart that.”