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August 21, 2014

Connor Paolo Talks 'Revenge' and Being the Dan Humphrey of the Hamptons

by Jean Bentley, posted Sep 21st 2011 10:00AM
Connor Paolo, RevengeJudging solely from televised depictions of the Hamptons, the beachside Long Island towns depicted in ABC's soapy new series 'Revenge,' it's a place where obscenely wealthy New Yorkers migrate every summer to sunbathe on towels made of $100 bills while sipping champagne and being fanned by their personal assistants.

After watching 'Revenge,' we're not sure that's so far off from the truth. But for every drink served there's someone doing the serving, which is where Connor Paolo comes in.

The former 'Gossip Girl' actor plays Declan Porter, a Montauk local from the wrong side of the economic divide. He's one of the many people unknowingly caught up in the titular revenge scheme of Emily Van Camp's Amanda Clark, a Hamptons native who returns to town with a new identity (Emily Thorne) and a vendetta against all the rich folks who helped take down her father's financial business.

Paolo spoke to AOL TV about the juicy 'Revenge' plotlines we can expect to see this season, being the Dan Humphrey of the Hamptons, and the romance that sparks between Declan and the daughter of one of Emily's enemies.

How are Declan and his brother, Jack, different from the rest of the rich folks on the show?
They're not transplants. They live on a different side of the economy line than Emily and Victoria and the more opulent characters that you get to meet, and as such they have different needs and desires than the ruling class. They have a bar that they operate with their father which is really everything. If they lose that, they lose their home and their really only means of support.

Connor PaoloDeclan, who's just coming of age when this series starts, has this overlying pressure of having this family trade that he's kind of connected to by blood but doesn't necessarily want to have to be connected to. His father grew up working at that bar and owned it in the '70s and now his brother, who wants to move on with his life, has found himself roped up in owning and propagating that bar. Declan feels like he's going down that same road and doesn't necessarily want to be his father, and certainly doesn't want to be his brother. So with all the respect and love he has for his family, he's trying to push away a bit.

In episode 1, he meets this girl [Charlotte] from a whole different world and sees something in her that's an escape from the life that he's in, because he wants more than what he sees.

How will that relationship progress? We see in the first few minutes of the pilot that Declan and Charlotte eventually get together, so what will that journey be like?
Well, he's got as many obstacles as you can imagine for such a cute young lad, [Laughs] just navigating a group of society that he has no foothold in whatsoever, and furthermore has spent most of his life detesting because they don't treat him well. They look down on him. There's a very wide class divide in that society where you are ruling or you are peasant. It's almost like feudalism, and he's certainly a serf at this point. He knows that -- he's aware of his station and he's not happy with it. He's the type of guy that wouldn't care about working in a bar for his dad if he hadn't had kids looking sideways his whole life because of it.

He's a little like the Dan Humphrey of 'Revenge.'
A little bit. But he's a little less books and a little more elbow grease.

The rich guys in town are not so nice to Declan.
They are not.

Connor Paolo, RevengeIs that going to be a constant theme?
Yeah, I think for every move that he makes toward that acceptance there's going to be somebody who is interested in standing in his way. But I think what he finds as the episodes go on is that he's better off focusing his efforts more on Charlotte. I don't think he was looking to get into a scrap with her boyfriend, but things kind of got out of his hands. But you know, I don't think he regrets what happened in that episode, if that makes sense. I think he is willing to take his licks for that girl. As little as he knows about her, it's kind of that love at first sight thing and he's willing to get his face knocked in if that's what it takes.

How does Declan play into Emily/Amanda's revenge scheme?
Well, as we see in the pilot, the Porter family -- me, my brother and my father -- lived relatively close to Emily when she grew up. I wasn't born at this point I assume, but Jack knew her as a young boy. So we're the only physical connection to her past that exists in that town. And then beyond that, Declan as we see is getting involved with the daughter of the family that Emily's there to destroy. So there's no way there can't be fallout for that for him. The woman he loves is now in danger of getting her life taken away.

So what can you tease for us about the season? What's really juicy that's coming up?
Everything's juicy! It's a really ripe show. It's overflowing. I mean, there is no moment that isn't juice-filled. Enjoy.

'Revenge' premieres Wed., Sept. 21, 10PM ET, ABC

Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean

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