Mark Deklin’s dedication and talent have kept him booking series roles despite the unpredictable nature of television. Currently portraying the wealthy but mysterious Nicholas Deering on Lifetime’s “Devious Maids,” the theater-actor-turned-TV-star brings depth to his characters.
On pilot testing.
“It’s very intimidating and daunting. I can honestly say I’ve blown a number of tests. Not that I gave a bad audition, but I gave only an OK audition. ‘Devious Maids’ is the first show that I literally tested for and booked the role through that conventional process.”
On what sparks his interest.
“I really liked the idea of a character with layers. That’s what appealed to me when I played Trammell Thatcher on ‘Lone Star’ [and] Blake Reilly on ‘GCB.’ I like characters who aren’t what they seem to be on the outside. As soon as you say to me, ‘This guy is blah blah blah, but he’s also got a secret,’ I perk up.”
On layering Nick.
“[In Episode 5] we wanted to see Nick acting jealous because at that point we still wonder if he killed his first wife. But I didn’t want to play it too on the nose. So instead of playing the jealousy as this confrontational ‘I’m so angry’ thing, we played it as a game of cat and mouse. It gave the whole thing a sense of playfulness that, up until this episode, we hadn’t seen in Nick.”
On creative freedom on “GCB.”
“I didn’t have a template for a closeted gay man in 2012. All my gay friends are out. When I think of someone in the closet, I think of someone who is really self-hating and repressed. The idea that we could create a character who has made the choice to live this façade, and he’s made it in this honest way with his best friend who he is in love with and they actually have a functioning marriage… We just had complete freedom to create this character from scratch because there was nothing to compare it to really.”
On focusing on others.
“Years ago a casting director asked if I would help out with some auditions as a reader; I found that I became invested. When somebody came in, I really wanted them to do well. I was pouring my energy into them. As a result, this casting director complimented me at the end of the day ‘for being such a great reader.’ I realized part of the reason was because I wasn’t making it about myself—I made it all about my scene partner. The next time I had an audition, I [pretended] that it was not my audition, that this was the reader’s audition. It just shifted everything. It doesn’t mean I knock it out of the park every time, but I can honestly say I never have a bad audition.”
On pilot season.
“It’s soul-crushing. The best thing to do is…to literally get aboard the hamster wheel [and] audition for just about everything. Obviously don’t audition for anything that offends you or that goes against your sensibilities. I worked for an art dealer years ago and he said, ‘I never buy a piece of art that I don’t love.’ His point was sometimes people will buy a piece of art that they don’t love personally but think, Oh, I could turn this around and make a lot of money on it. But you always have to think, I might get stuck with this, I might have to live with this thing for a few years. If you look at a TV script and you think, Oh my God, I would be miserable if I did this series!...well, then don’t audition for it.”
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