'666 Park Avenue': Vanessa Williams and Terry O'Quinn base devious characters on the Madoffs

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666-park-aveterry-oquinn-and-vanessa-williams.jpgIn the upcoming ABC drama "666 Park Avenue," Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams play Gavin and Olivia, the nefarious owners of a seemingly haunted upper east side apartment building. In the pilot episode, it becomes increasingly clear that the couple have the worst of intentions when it comes to their tenants, who experience a bevy of horrors while residing in their dream apartments.

Williams says that she looks at the moneyed, troublesome couple as a supernatural version of Bernie and Ruth Madoff. "It's a world that I wanted to explore. It's the Upper East Side. It's luxurious. It's a couple that are very powerful," she says. "I thought about the Madoffs immediately because they were extremely wealthy. They had incredible land holdings all over that people knew about and knew that they had a great amount of wealth. And then we all saw the dark side and what happened and how they created their empire."

They're not the only powerful people she studied when approaching the role. "Also a little bit of Donald Trump," she admits. "He's known to be the realtor worldwide, but also in Manhattan he is very well known, and the power and mystique of his buildings. So I saw that kind of power as part of Gavin and Olivia's world."

She would like to stress, of course, that while Gavin may well be the devil -- she doesn't mean to compare Donald Trump to Satan. "To clarify, when I mentioned Donald Trump, I mentioned that was the world," she jokes. "Everyone sees him as a real estate icon in Manhattan. That's what Gavin is. He owns The Drake, which is they use the exterior of the Ansonia, which is a landmark building on the Upper West Side which we're using for the East Side. So he's a mogul and that's the parallel. That's all I was saying."
Photo/Video credit: ABC