"666 Park Avenue" (Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC) debuted just last week, and viewers are already intrigued by the mystery behind an old New York City building and its residents.
Rachael Taylor plays Jane Van Veen, the wife of Henry Martin (Dave Annable) and the two become co-managers of an old Upper East Side building called The Drake owned by Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams' characters Gavin and Olivia Doran. Jane and Henry quickly learn there's much more to the building than its beautiful architecture.
Taylor spoke with HuffPost TV to discuss what to come in the series, the cast, and how excited she is to work with Whoopi Goldberg.
So let's talk about the pilot.
It's a fun pilot, right? And the cool thing is that we're not doing a procedural show. It's very serialized, so I think as it continues to unfold people will only become more intrigued by what can happen.
It definitely seems like it's more of a psychological thriller. Will it get any more gory as the season progresses?
I don't think it's ever our intention to do something that's gory. We're just not invested in that kind of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"-type of television or cinema. When we talk about the kind of references that we draw from when making this show, we're always talking about stuff like "Rosemary's Baby," "The Shining" and other Hitchcockian classics. We have a "Rear Window" kind of moment ... it's investigative horror in a way.
We're definitely trying to stick to something that's more internal and psychological. In some ways that's out of respect for ABC. We want people at home and feel like they can watch us, and that their teenagers can watch the show and it's always going to be appropriate. I think all of us feel that it's just more elegant for film or cinema. If you're getting people invested in the internal space of your characters as opposed to the horrible, graphic external things that could happen, we feel like we're doing our jobs. I do think though, come Episode 5, that even though you won't see anything truly violent there's more of an implication of violence. But it still comes from this very internal head space in a way. That's definitely one of our strategies in making the show, just keeping things psychological. Because it's really about the classic horror, thriller journey of taking an innocent young couple or girl and exploiting her curiosity. It's Jane's Nancy Drew-esque curiosity and purity as a girl that will get her into some dangerous spaces.
It does have a vintage feel to it.
One thing that certainly has a vintage quality to it is that it's a true mystery. On one hand, it has that thriller aspect to it, but it's ultimately about a puzzle. There's something kind of investigative about my character, which is a quality of old movies ... that [were] all about putting the pieces together.
What initially drew you to Jane?
Having come off a TV show the year before, the one thing I was really determined to do this year -- because I love television and I hope that's where I get to stay -- the thing that intrigued me about this project is that I would get to play a character that starts in place A and takes her all the way through to Z. I think the capacity for her to change and grow is so huge. When we meet her in the pilot, and even Episode 2, she's a very pure kind of person. I don't care if anybody thinks in some respects that she's a little naive because when we meet her she is. But the space i have to stretch out the elastic band of this character is so vast. By Episode 5, she experiences something that's truly life-changing, and by Episode 7 she's an unrecognizable person. As an actor, that gives me an enormous space and a lot of terrain.
It definitely seems like you have a big range to work with.
Yeah, I'm a huge fan of good, procedural-type shows on television ... there are a lot of roles for women. But there aren't a lot of great network television roles for girls that will let you start a character in one place and finish up with her in a totally different one.
So Whoopi Goldberg's going to be a guest star this season!
I know. How amazing is that?
Have you filmed that episode yet?
No, that's the next episode. I haven't actually seen the script for it, but I know I have a lot of work to do with her, and I think her character's going to help Jane put some of the pieces of the puzzle together. When Whoopi Goldberg's character comes in, Jane is quite fragmented by that point. She's really kind of all over the place. My instinct tells me she's going to be a great aid.
Are you excited to work with her?
Yeah, I'm beyond excited! I feel very honored to work with her. I'm a long-standing fan of her not just as an artist, but as a woman. I love the social commentary that she offers, I love her personal politics and the way she shares them with all of us both on "The View" and in her life. I think she's an incredibly impressive person. Also, we're talking about an Academy Award winner coming on our show. It really gave all of us a nice little buzz.
We've had amazing actors already, just really cool, New York Tony Award-winning actors come on. I think they read the same things that I read when I first read the pilot. Kind of like, "Oh, I don't usually get these opportunities on network TV to go to these extreme places." One of the things that's so great about "666 Park" is that we're really not shying away from taking risks. Whatever audience the show finds -- and we really believe it can have a super loyal fan base, since we're such a genre show -- we're still happy, because we're making the show we want to make. I'm not sure how we're doing it, but we are.
And it's filmed in New York, right?
We have studios in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but we shoot on location all the time. We've shot in some amazing places. We were shooting last night in this incredible old, shut down hospital. We've shot outside the Ansonia building. We're going to shoot in Times Square ... we have some amazing locations. I'm proud of it, because we're making it work. I'm not sure how we're doing it. We're just kind of working hard and going guerilla-style when we need to. Obviously shooting in New York is amazing, but it's complicated because it's a busy city. We're doing it in a way that's very non-traditional, which is cool.
I loved seeing the inside of the old building in the first episode.
I have to say, moving to New York and shooting this show here has been such a great thing for me as an actress because I've learned so much from our incredible guest cast. New York actors are so skilled, and I've been so impressed by the quality of work all of our guest stars just come in and deliver. It's a really great experience for me to watch all these amazing actors, not to mention Terry and Vanessa, and how they aren't afraid to make the show we want to make.
Have you guys become close as a cast?
We have, actually. And that always sounds like a line, but we really, genuinely like each other. Dave Annable is now like a brother to me. I can't ever imagine a point where we won't be friends. He's my buddy. And Mercedes [Masohn], Robert [Buckley] and I went out and had dinner on Saturday night. We just like to catch up. Obviously it's an ensemble drama, and it's important that we all get together every now and then. I think part of it is that we work for really good people. Our showrunners Matt Miller, Robbie Duncan McNeill and David Wilcox, they're just really great people. They email us all the time and they're always on the phone with us. ABC and Warner Brothers are really behind this show. They stay in touch with us and they shoot us emails, and I think that has a really nice kind of trickle down effect. We really feel like a team making this show.
"666 Park Avenue" airs on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC and check out what's to come in Episode 2, "Murmations," below.
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