by David Leidy
A maelstrom of sex, scandal, and secrets all revolve around the mystery of one maid’s murder in Lifetime’s hit new series “Devious Maids.” Marc Cherry’s new show, which premiered last Sunday night, depicts a satiric world where a group of closely bonded maids confront the class hierarchy of their wealthy Beverly Hills celebrity bosses.
Rebecca Wisocky, a talented actress who began her career in theater, brings much to the table as the snobby, affluent Evelyn Powell. Wisocky grew up in York, Pennsylvania where she eventually studied at Governor’s School of the Arts. She later attended NYU where she joined a dance theatre company, and after graduation acted in such shows as “Law & Order,” “Sex & the City,” and “The Sopranos” (all filmed in New York). Wisocky booked an ABC pilot in 2006 that was being filmed in Los Angeles, and has spent most of her time acting in California-based television shows ever since.
“I felt very lucky to be working a lot and found acting for television both challenging and exciting,” Wisocky said. “I don’t know if I ever made a grand plan to be an actress. I just started and never stopped.”
Eventually, she was led to play the role of the villain “with a heart of gold” on “Devious Maids;” it is a role she felt she was always meant to play. Wisocky opens the series with a monologue where she tells her maid, “If you don’t stop screwing my husband, I’m going to have you deported.”
Powell’s malevolent attitude is what initially attracted Wisocky to the role. “I feel like I’ve been hooked on un-knitting what makes a villain who they are since I was a pretty young age actually. I even played Bernarda Alba when I was at NYU.”
When Wisocky initially read the script for the role of Evelyn Powell, she immediately fell in love with the maliciousness and double-sided complexities of the character. “I’m not afraid of being unlikeable on television or being unattractive to elevate a story, and that’s exciting to me. I’m hooked on creating characters that you love in spite of yourself, that you can see the humanity in and at the same time want to wring their neck, yet eventually you forgive them for their blindness.”
And that’s exactly why Wisocky was chomping at the bit to play a character like Powell. She is a character who will say things such as, “I don’t care about the evidence! Who’s going to clean all of this up?” in reference to her maid’s blood after she has just been murdered, yet finds nothing wrong with this statement.
Wisocky said she is interested in playing characters that aren’t what they seem on the surface. Being able to delve into an “evil” character’s psyche and understand their way of rationalizing, despite her own moral standpoints, is what fascinates her the most when playing a role. Although Powell’s character is a continuation of what Wisocky refers to as her ongoing “love affair with the villainess,” she claimed that she is fortunate enough to play a part where she can develop the dynamics of the character throughout a full season for the first time in her career.
Her character is quite the evil spectacle, but there is much more about the show that attracted her to playing the part.
“First of all, I have to say it’s a Marc Cherry show, and I think Marc is incredibly good at what he does, and this is a great showcase for what he does very, very well. It’s feasible, funny, and satirically dark. The cast is a terrific ensemble of talented theater-based and television actors.”
She added, “My ‘husband’ on the show, played by Tom Irwin, who is a Steppenwolf theatre actor, is great. We have great chemistry, and a dynamic relationship…Marc has truly written some extremely juicy characters.”
“I hope that people tune in and watch it!” Wisocky said delightfully, quite contrary to the attitude of her evil fictional counterpart.
“Devious Maids” airs on Sundays at 10 PM on Lifetime.
David Leidy is a contributing writer. Email him at email@example.com.