Vanessa Williams on '666 Park Avenue': 'It's a World Where Unfortunate Things Happen a Lot' (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)
From Ugly Betty's supermodel diva Wilhemina Slater to Desperate Housewives' no-nonsense party girl Renee Perry, Vanessa Williams has shown her comedic range through many small-screen roles.
But now the Emmy-nominated actress is demonstrating her flair for the dramatic in ABC's chilling new supernatural series, 666 Park Avenue. "It’s nice to be in a completely different genre," Williams told Celebuzz after unveiling her likeness on the front of a new Gray Line Ride of Fame double-decker bus in Manhattan. "I love comedy, but this is a completely different twist."
Williams stars as the ever-striking Olivia Doran, who rules over an ominous 1920s-era Park Avenue residence, The Drake, with husband Gavin Doran (played by Lost's Terry O'Quinn). "Everyone that comes to The Drake has an ambition," Williams explained.
But chasing those dreams comes at a price — and that's where the Dorans come in.
When idealistic working-class couple Henry Martin (Dave Annable) and Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) move to Manhattan, they sign on as co-managers of The Drake.
"Of course, being in New York, everybody has a dream here," Williams explained of the show. "The dream is to come and have a fabulous apartment, but also to fulfill your desires. Henry works for the city, and he has aspirations in government. Jane, right now, has aspirations to be an architect."
The almighty, if devilish, Dorans can make their wishes come true — but under the shadowy, supernatural forces of the building, the newcomers must make sacrifices along the way. "So there are certainly ways to help that vision [transpire]," Williams said, "but [the Dorans] have to help facilitate that."
For Williams, the character of Olivia is not completely far-fetched. “She is similar to Wilhemina Slater because they both come from the same hood — they’re both Upper East Side chicks, very wealthy and used to a life of privilege," the singer-actress said. There is one drastic divergence, however, between the two fictional New Yorkers. "Olivia’s dark," Williams revealed, "and she lives in a world where unfortunate things happen a lot. The Drake [is] something that’s quite unusual.”
But between the lights-camera-action calls, the cast and crew strike a low-key vibe on set — which Williams credits, in part, to costar O'Quinn.
“Terry is phenomenal," she gushed. "He is one of the most laid-back, confident, self-assured guys to be around. And he’s also an incredible musician. He has his flip flops on and his guitar handy at all times, and he’s bringing a little bit of the Hawaii from Lost to our New York set."
Does Williams lend her Grammy-nominated vocals to the on-set jam sessions? “In between set-ups, he’s always got his guitar and he’ll start singing," Williams explained. "I'll sit next to him, we’ll start doing harmonies. It’s a really relaxed set."
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