To have a Manhattan apartment like those in The Drake just might take a deal with the devil.
The exquisite building on ABC’s “666 Park Avenue” is the sort that lines the gracious, monied boulevard. The set, however, is in an industrial strip in Brooklyn on the edge of Williamsburg, the part where hipsters don’t yet live.
Here, in an old Schaefer beer factory, the sets still smelled new before Hurricane Sandy. Though production had stopped, as just about everything else did in New York, it was scheduled to resume Tuesday, Nov. 6, despite unspecified damage to the set.
The art deco lobby to the fictional building, which certainly seems to be a portal to hell on the show, is sweeping and elegant, with mirrored tables and the sort of polished black and white floors that Fred Astaire would glide across.
When the action switches to the basement, the show moves to a church in Harlem. Otherwise, filming unfolds on the rambling set in Brooklyn. On an overcast day, the cast is shooting the eighth episode, airing Sunday, Nov. 25.
In it, Henry (Dave Annable, “Brothers & Sisters”) grows more worried because his wife, Jane (Rachael Taylor, “Charlie’s Angels”), has disappeared without a trace. She reappears — and has no idea why — in the middle of Times Square and is taken to the hospital for observation.
Their marriage was strained before her disappearance.
“Henry wants to enter the political arena,” Annable says. “Henry is a nonbeliever in terms of what Jane is seeing and believing. And it is creating this rift in their relationship.”
However, the union of Gavin (Terry O’Quinn, “Lost”) and Olivia (Vanessa Williams, “Desperate Housewives”) is solid.
As to how long they’ve been married, O’Quinn says, “Who knows? It may be 508 years, long enough to be devoted to one another.”
If they are immortal, that could be. Williams, relaxing in a dressing room highlighted by a huge burning scented candle and a zebra throw rug, says, “Olivia is turning out to be a very devoted wife. It is a very loving relationship that’s in the aftermath of losing a child in a relationship and what that does to stress the bond. She is resourceful and strong and a true partner in the marriage.”
But is she the devil? No reason to assume it must be the man, and if anyone could pull off diabolical deliciously, the actress who gave us Wilhelmina on “Ugly Betty” and Renee on “Desperate Housewives” could.
“I wanted to do something different, far from Wisteria Lane,” Williams says. “She is close to Wilhelmina in that she is in the same hood. She would be going to the ballet and symphony.
“At this point they have not indicated whether either of us is the devil,” Williams says. “We know The Drake does have powers. It is a portal to other dimensions, to other places. It harbors the past.
“It’s more like ‘The Shining,’ where he went back to the ’20s,” she continues.
“I want people not to be afraid of the genre,” Williams says. “It’s not ‘Saw’ and blood and guts and dismemberment. It is a drama with an element of suspense. There is romance, and the cast is really talented and unique. Let it go and hope it finds an audience. There is definitely a crowd for it.”
Even some of the actors are a little spooked by the show. Sitting in a very empty and large dressing room, Helena Mattsson (“Iron Man 2″), who plays Alexis, says, “This scary stuff freaks me out a little bit.
“What’s fun and interesting about the show is it’s not just scary,” she adds. “The glamour of it, and it is playful at times.”
While they were shooting this, only one episode had aired, and the actors worried that viewers and the network would not give it enough time to find its audience.
“I hope people don’t get confused in the beginning,” Mattsson says. “If they just hang on, everything will be tied together in a very interesting and cool way.”
Mercedes Masohn (“The Finder”), who plays Louise, likens it to the TV version of “The Devil’s Advocate.”
“It has a sexy, spooky thing going on. The building itself, 666 Park Avenue, is sort of like purgatory,” she says. “We all have sketched pasts. The only way out is death, and we are all struggling to find the good.”
Masohn observes that the set’s signature spiral staircase could well lead to hell. “They are both facing away, so we don’t know which way they will go,” she says of Gavin and Olivia.
Like the other actors, O’Quinn had no idea where this story was heading. “I tell the guys to not tell me things I don’t need to know. I would rather not have that baggage to carry if I don’t need it.”
The show is carving out its niche, and for those yet to find it, O’Quinn explains how he describes it to his pals.
“I have described it to my friends as a little scary, a little silly and kind of fun,” he says. “I am not trying to sell it when talking to friends. I don’t mind silly if it is entertaining,”
“It can get unbelievably scary if they write it that way,” O’Quinn says. “They can afford to get scarier than it is.”