Lifetime's Devious Maids is back for a second season, with the addition of the fabulous Mark Deklin as the enigmatic Nicholas Deering. BFTV had the pleasure of chatting with Mark recently to talk about how much he knows about Nicholas's secrets, the comparisons between Maids and Desperate Housewives, and the other great shows he's made better (we still miss you, Lone Star).
Joining any show in progress usually requires some work for an actor, but joining a soap opera can be challenging, with the multitude of characters and plotlines. We asked Mark if he tried to familiarize himself with the entirety of Devious Maids or just the parts relevant to him. "I did a little bit of both, to be honest," he explained. "Obviously I had to catch up on season one, so I knew exactly who's who and what's what, so I did that.
"But when we're working, the storylines, in many ways they're so segregated. We all do our own thing," he continued. "So I just focus on what's going on with my storyline right now. Obviously there's stuff coming up - I know we're going to be maybe colliding with the Powells. Part of my backstory with my character is my first wife Dahlia, we were friends with the Powells back in the day. But apparently after my wife's death I just sort of holed up for awhile. I became a recluse. And it's really just meeting Marisol [played by Ana Ortiz] that reawakens me."
We obviously haven't gotten to know Nicholas very well yet, but is there anything in particular that we should look forward to as the second season goes on? "I'm really proud of the whole arc," Mark told us, "but I will say episode five was a really fun one for me. In that one, we're going to get to see a couple other colors in the palette of Nick Deering, and some sides of him that we haven't seen before. That was a particularly enjoyable episode. And I think episode seven also is a pretty exciting one for me.
"I like to think of it more in terms of the total arc. Even this next episode that's coming up on Sunday, objectively speaking, it's not the most exciting episode for my character, but it's very dear to me, because it was the first episode where Ana and I really kind of discovered what our relationship was."
There's still a lot of discovering left to do, too. After all, Nick is a character with at least one big secret on a show that's essentially about secrets. How much does Mark know about where he's headed, and how much would he want to know if it was up to him? "I wish I knew everything," he said. "They don't tell us in advance. At this point, we just got a draft for episode ten, and I don't even know if that draft is going to stay the same.
"The main thing for Nicholas, there's so many secrets and lies that he's telling [that] I said to the producers, 'There are a few things I have to know. I have to in order to play it.' One is what really happened in the past. The other thing is am I really in love with Marisol or is that some sort of long con? And they said, 'No. That's the one thing that is true. You are madly in love with Marisol and she's madly in love with you.'" So maybe he's not the Dave Williams of Devious Maids (yet).
In fact, that's a level of evil that Mark is aiming to avoid. "One of the things that was important to me with his character, because he's got such of a dark past, I didn't want him to become too much of a bad guy," he explained. "If we're going to believe that this intelligent woman is in love with him, we've got to see why...At the end of the day, in terms of intentions, Nick isn't a bad guy."
Yet it's also not hard to see why one might make the assumption. Devious Maids is the brainchild of Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, and one of its other executive producers is Housewives star Eva Longoria. Mark, you may recall, guested on Housewives, so we asked him to weigh in on whether or not the two shows really are similar.
"I think the two shows are similar in a lot of ways and I don't think that has any sort of negative connotation," he told us, explaining that, "[Marc]'s found this great voice where he gives you a primetime soap opera, but with a wink. It's a sort of soap opera that knows it's a soap opera and sort of sends itself up at times. And I think that's really smart. Is it the same show rehashed? No. Obviously there are new stories, new characters and Marc - like any writer - doesn't want to just keep repeating himself."
There are a lot of things to love about Mark Deklin - the fact that he's also a fight director, that he supports environmental causes (he used to work for Greenpeace), and we're going to wager that he's 'the cool dad' - but we know him best from Lone Star, the short-lived FOX series that we still mourn today. He played Trammell Thatcher, the brother who always had his suspicions about Bob Allen (James Wolk), and who we kind of always wanted to punch in the face. And thanks to Mark, we now finally have some idea of what happened after the two episodes of Lone Star that made it to air.
"Nothing was resolved, let's put it that way. It just got more and more complicated as it went," he revealed. "Bob was getting pushed more and more into a corner, and my character was getting more and more suspicious. At one point, he looped my younger brother into a business scheme, so Drew left our company and went off to start his own wind farming company with Bob.
"But it was bullshit, because Bob didn't actually know what he was doing, and it turned out that was another long con set up by David Keith's character, and I got wind of it. Meanwhile, I had blown the whole family fortune on a bad investment, and Bob found out about that."
Yep, hearing that we're still upset about the cancellation of Lone Star. We can just imagine how fantastic those unaired episodes were. But what have been some of Mark's favorite projects from the past? "Definitely GCB, my last series. I wish we would've gotten more time out of that. I had a lot of fun with that," he told us.
"I also did a project for SyFy years ago, it was an adaptation of Riverworld. I loved working on that project...The project ended up not really going anywhere, but that was a real heartbreaker for me. I loved the cast and we had so much fun working on it, and I'm really proud of the work I did in the project. And there's a lot of work that I'm proud of in the theater."
One thing's for certain, when you see this guy pop up on your TV, you know you're going to get a good performance - whether he's playing the brother we love to hate or the charming millionaire we can't figure out. However Nick Deering's mystery happens to unfold on Devious Maids, audiences can be sure that Mark Deklin's going to give them the best out of it.
The second season of Devious Maids continues tonight at 10 PM ET/PT on Lifetime (check your local listings for specific channel). For more on Mark, be sure to follow him on Twitter (@MarkDeklin).