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.