Anthony D’Alessandro is managing editor/contributor to AwardsLine.
It takes a considerable amount of finesse for an actor to create sympathy for a sociopathic character, and one of Emily VanCamp’s strengths in playing Emily Thorne, the merciless Hamptons socialite in ABC’s Revenge, has been playing the girl next door in Everwood and Brothers & Sisters. Much like Rooney Mara’s challenge to shed her Katherine Ross-like image for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo auditions, VanCamp went the distance to prove to Revenge producers that she could play dark as a girl plotting revenge on her father’s upper-crust killers. And not just one shade of black: VanCamp’s forte lies in shifting gracefully between emotional poles — a mastery not always displayed by primetime broadcast tube thespians. VanCamp’s Thorne runs the gamut from eloquently subduing her wigged-out nemesis Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe) to burning down an opponent’s house. Lest we forget her most colorful trait: Throne’s unabashed fetish for disguises. Whether she dresses as a hotel waiter or skanky barfly, she’ll do whatever it takes to collect intel or poison her enemies. An Emmy nod for VanCamp would be truly special for the actress this year as it’s the first time she’s becoming a TV Academy member.
AWARDSLINE: How did the role come your way?
EMILY VANCAMP: I finished Brothers & Sisters in September (2010) and made a pact with myself that I wasn’t going to work unless I read something and loved it. I had worked pretty steadily and hit a point where I wanted to feel challenged. I read Revenge and thought this was a huge gamble. It was the only pilot [role] I fought for. I met with Mike Kelley and [executive producer] Marty Bowen who filtered through everyone. They asked me to test, because they didn’t quite know if I could play the darkness the character required. … Longevity for me in my career has not only been about choosing the right material, but trying to reinvent myself as a young woman. People love to put you in a box. [At times in this industry], you have to force people to see you in a different light as you can burn out. There was a slight transition for me as an actress between Everwood and Brothers & Sisters going from being a girl to a woman — however, that’s a big jump to make in Hollywood. … People remember me from these roles and it’s one of the reasons why they root for Emily even though sometimes one shouldn’t.