As the sleek, mysterious and most definitely sinister Gavin and Olivia Doran on “666 Park Avenue,” Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams are so bad they’re good. Calmly playing tenants Henry and Jane (Dave Annable and Rachael Taylor) like pawns in their own personal chess game, the Dorans turn manipulation into an art form. The pair took a break from filming at the show’s Brooklyn soundstage to talk about the joys of playing bad, what they have planned for Henry and a tragic storyline coming up soon.
Is it wrong that I’m rooting for you guys?
Terry O’Quinn: Good for you. You know, we’ve been sitting here for a while and you’re the first person who said that.
Vanessa Williams: Yeah, root for us!
Considering the digs, I’d probably want to move into 999 Park Avenue [the real address on the show].
O’Quinn: We like you. You would be safe.
I’m looking forward to seeing more backstory about the Dorans, how they met, for example — or am I assuming too much to think you two met like a normal, human couple?
O’Quinn: I don’t think you can assume too much. There will probably be a lot of other assumptions as well. They’re all good, because the audience is supposed to participate. But I agree with you and I’m glad you want to see more about the Durans, because I do, too. I think that’s a good interest that we’ve generated. I hope other people feel the same way.
Williams: We do show coming up the tragedy of them losing their daughter at 18 and the stress that puts on their marriage and their relationship and how they dealt with it and the comfort that she needs from her husband. And the vulnerability that they have that is dramatic.
Is it more fun to play bad?
Williams: It’s more fun.
O’Quinn: It all depends on how it’s written. A good writer writes good characters. Generally if I had to choose one or the other, generally the more interesting roles that I’ve played have been antagonists because they tend to move the story. They’re the ones who have the secrets and move the story along while the protagonists tend to move the story along. I think.
How important is it for you to shoot in New York? Does it make it easier to tap into a certain mindset?
Williams: We’re shooting episode 8 right now, so our film stages are in Brooklyn and then we shoot out and about, east, west, all over the city. Then, Westchester as well.
O’Quinn: It really is. If you try to shoot this, take away the scenery. If you tried to shoot this somewhere that’s generally a laid back place, you’d just be going at the wrong speed. There’s something about getting up in this town, walking out the door, hitting the street, and you’ve got to get moving, you’ve got to get your engine revving. If I was on the North shore of Oahu, trying to shoot this, Gavin Doran would be wearing a straw hat and flip flops. He wouldn’t be too bad, just kind of bad.
The Dorans had Henry and Jane sign a contract when they moved in. Couldn’t you guys pull the rug out from under them at any moment?
Yeah, I suppose. We could cancel them at any moment. But they want to exploit Henry. Henry’s working his way up into city government. He’s got that pesky Jane with him, and that could be a problem, but if he becomes mayor? I’m in like Flynn. I’m a real estate developer, and if I’m friends with the mayor, things could go very well for me.
Watch a clip from this Sunday’s show below