Every great drama needs an ice queen and in the new Lifetime drama series DEVIOUS MAIDS, Rebecca Wisocky has the pleasure of portraying Evelyn Powell, an ultra-rich dilettante with a keen sense of importance and self-preservation. When Evelyn’s maid ends up murdered in her house, her first concern is to the disruption of her elegant dinner party and how inconvenient sudden death can be, not to mention how messy. In an exclusive interview, Rebecca shared how deliciously fun it is to portray someone as egocentric as Evelyn and what kinds of mischief arises from the unexpected murder amongst the Powell’s lavish mansion.
What drew you to DEVIOUS MAIDS and the role of Evelyn Powell?
REBECCA: First of all, the chance to work with Marc Cherry, and second, it’s a large ensemble cast just jam-packed with amazing talented, fun, kind people. We really had a wonderful time making the show. And it’s such a delicious character. Marc has written both for myself and Tom Irwin, who plays my husband, very, very delicious characters. They are the couple you love-to-hate, and they both love and hate one another as well.
How far along in the first season are you? Are you done?
REBECCA: Yes, we got back from Atlanta about a month ago. We were there for just over 5 months, where we shot 13 episodes, and they will start airing June 23rd on Lifetime at 10:00 p.m.
You probably can’t wait to see what everyone thinks of this show!
REBECCA: I know! And we can’t wait to see it too. We’ve seen very little of it. So we will be watching along with everyone else.
What would you say you admire the most about your character Evelyn?
REBECCA: That’s a tricky question. She is a morally questionable character. She thinks she is doing all the right things, but with all of the wrong tools. (Laughs) Boy, this is a tough one actually. Evelyn is a tricky character, I have to say. I like villains that you end up sympathizing with. She has a great deal of armor that she carries around to protect herself from showing what is actually an enormous amount of vulnerability and pain. She’s very smart and very crafty, and very devious. But she’s kind of blind at the same time. She’s prideful and arrogant and kind of gets it all wrong. She’s an interesting villain. I think we’ll enjoy watching her make all of the wrong decisions, but still root for her because you can see the goodness in what she wants. But it is certainly beneath lots of questionable moral behavior in her relationships, for sure. It’s a complex relationship between Adrian (Tom Irwin) and Evelyn Powell.
What is her core emotion, the one that gives her strength?
REBECCA: She doesn’t want to be alone. She doesn’t want to be lonely. And I think at the end of the day, she loves her husband enormously.
Do we get to see a bit of that loving relationship, or is that something she keeps private?
REBECCA: You’ll watch it unfold, certainly, and my comment won’t necessarily make sense for the first several episodes because they fight like cats-and-dogs and they behave viciously towards one another. But they have made a pact with the devil a little bit. They are certainly partners-in-crime and are bound together in many ways for many reasons.
It has been revealed in promos that there is a murder that occurs in Adrian and Evelyn’s home. What is there gut reaction when they first find out about it?
REBECCA: They are shocked in horror and, of course, in some ways Evelyn is very frivolous, there’s the embarrassment and outrage that something would have ruined her party, which is a ridiculous reaction obviously. But it gives you a little taste of the kind of person you’re dealing with. That murder happens in the first 5 minutes of the very first episode and it sets the tone for the mysteries and relationships that will now entwine and become more and more complex throughout the season, and you watch how all these characters are inter-related. So her first reaction is: Who is going to clean up this mess? So her reaction is rather reprehensible, yet also rather delicious.
Does that become a bonding moment for Evelyn and Adrian?
REBECCA: I can’t say too much about that. But they both certainly share a great interest in finding out who committed this act.
Since the murder occurs in their house, do they want to sell it right away?
REBECCA: Boy, I don’t know. I think at the end of the day the market wouldn’t be so great and money would be the determining factor. It comes out later in the season, but Evelyn says, “It is a large, large house that we chosen specifically because its walls contain our secrets.”
What was it like filming in that house? Did you enjoy working in that environment?
REBECCA: We shot in Atlanta, which stood in for Beverly Hills, and we got to film in one of the largest, most ostentatious homes in all of Atlanta. That was fun. We shot half of the show on location and half on a studio lot. But that particular home was pretty incredible.
Would you ever want to live in a house like that?
REBECCA: No, I would prefer less house with more trees, more privacy and land. A smaller house with bigger yard. That’s what I’d want. Those kinds of houses are gigantic and they’re right next to each other. You’re right next to the guy on your left and right.
But it makes for a perfect venue for this kind of story though.
REBECCA: Yes, and in DEVIOUS MAIDS you’ll see how they are all related in sick and twisted ways.
Since lot of the story revolves around the “devious maids,” what can you share about Evelyn and Adrian’s relationship with their own maid?
REBECCA: The very first thing that happens in the show is they lose their maid, Flora (Paula Garces). She is the one that is murdered. That is devastating both personally and also for the well being of their household. So the funny thing is, and it’s kind of a running joke, they probably have the most money and they certainly have the largest house and they just can’t seem to hold onto the help. Adrian develops an interest very quickly in having Marisol come and work for them – and she’s portrayed by the wonderful and divine Ana Ortiz.
That must have been fun, Ana has a great sense of comedy as well.
REBECCA: She is so funny and so very kind, and I can’t say enough good things about her as an actor and as a friend. We were very close. I have to say it was like summer camp or a regional theater job for television. We were all at this outpost in Atlanta for five months over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, so it was really fun. It was really good ensemble building. We’re lucky that the cast is just huge and really great. All of them were really nice people.
This would have been your second time working with Tom, since you both worked on SAVING GRACE. Did you get to work directly with him on that?
REBECCA: I never worked with Tom on SAVING GRACE, but I’ve been a fan of Tom’s for years. He doesn’t disappoint. He one of the nicest people and one of the best scene partners I’ve ever worked with in my life.
Tom seems very mercurial, like he could just slip in between different shades of personalities really quickly.
REBECCA: He is kind of mercurial, and you buy it. I think he’s one of the most likeable guys I’ve ever met. So he has that quality, yet he’s playing this really nefarious guy that does some pretty outrageous and unforgivable things. Yet my character finds someway to forgive him – and all the reasons for that will reveal themselves — and I think I could forgive Tom Irwin for just about anything. (Laughs) We have great chemistry and we had a wonderful time and, like I said, Marc Cherry and the whole writing team has created for us a pretty cool, awesome couple that I think people will enjoy.
Then briefly talking about your role on THE MENTALIST, how surprised were you to learn that your character Brenda was the inside mole?
REBECCA: I’ve been on that show since the second season. They would just here and there pepper me throughout and I would breeze through and be a thorn in Lisbon’s side every now and again, and would just be vaguely annoying. Then I was around as a potential suspect at the end of Season 3. So I think it’s lovely. That show has such great fans, and has such an awesome following, and they’re such a great cast and the writers are so good. I think it’s really smart that you have someone around who is just laying in wait as part of their world that you can then reveal to have a secret, hidden agenda. That’s been playing another angle all along. I just think that’s great storytelling, and when you have that kind of show with that kind of following, and has been that kind of successful lengthy run, you can afford yourself that. They’ve got lots of little ticking time bombs lying around, I’m sure. I’m not speaking out of turn, but I am saying I guess I turned out to be one, didn’t I? (Laughs) As an actor, you’re always delighted. The juicier the material, the better. And I certainly don’t shy away from playing difficult or even unlikable characters. I enjoy doing whatever needs to be done to tell the best story.
Did you have a hard time saying goodbye to the character of Brenda?
REBECCA: I don’t know if it’s goodbye, she’s not dead yet! (Laughs) She’s in prison. Though I don’t know if Brenda Shettrick will fare too well in prison. It will be interesting. Maybe she’ll thrive and she’ll actually find love there. Who knows. I don’t know anything other than I’d love the chance to play with that crew again.
In portraying Brenda, what would be a favorite memory or scene?
REBECCA: That last episode was pretty fun. It was great. I’ll say this, in all of the episodes I had done, I had never been on screen with Simon Baker until that last episode. So finally being in the hot-seat and interrogated by him at the bitter end there, that was great. He’s pretty awesome.
In wrapping up, can you give a few teasers of what viewers should look forward to on DEVIOUS MAIDS?
REBECCA: I will say that nothing is what it seems. There’s a lot to look forward to. This is a pretty interesting cast. I’ll leave it at that. Lifetime is a perfect home for the show. They could not be more enthusiastic about it. You can’t drive two blocks without seeing a billboard, which is disarming and thrilling. We’re all very excited and excited to be taking this journey together. It’s a pretty juicy show. It’s a satire and it’s a soap opera, and I think if people jump in and come along for the ride, there’s a lot to love and be scandalized by. It’s all the things Marc Cherry does best.
To see what a tangled, mysterious murderous web Evelyn and Adrian find themselves thrust amongst, be sure to tune in for the premiere of DEVIOUS MAIDS on Sunday, June 23rd at 10:00 p.m. on Lifetime.
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