Jonathan Daviss on All Things ‘Do Revenge’ and More

Jonathan Daviss portrays Elliot Tanners in Do Revenge. The new dark comedy is now streaming, only on Netflix! Upcoming, you can see the actor in season 3 of Outer Banks.

Drea (Camila Mendes) is at the peak of her high school powers as the Alpha it-girl on campus when her entire life goes up in flames after her sex tape gets leaked to the whole school, seemingly by her boyfriend and king of the school, Max (Austin Abrams). Eleanor (Maya Hawke) is an awkward new transfer student who is angered to find out that she now has to go to school with her old bully, Carissa (Ava Capri) who started a nasty rumor about her in summer camp when they were 13. After a clandestine run-in at tennis camp, Drea and Eleanor form an unlikely and secret friendship to get revenge on each other’s tormentors.

Before the movie was released, we had a wonderful conversation about what he looks for in roles, the film’s incredible cast, that huge twist, what he learned from the project, and much more, including Marvel! Keep reading for all the details.

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Netflix

So I want to start with your character because I have to imagine you had so much fun playing him. Was there an aspect you were most excited to bring to life?
Jonathan Daviss: I guess, it’s kind of an opportunity to play a character that’s not so nice. I feel like Pope is such a nice guy, you know, he’s really cool, but I mean, he definitely has his temper. Elliot just kind of lets everything go and he just wants to have his vibes, chill, and he’s just way more lackadaisical than what I normally play. So it was cool kind of being able to do that.

You kind of led me into my next question perfectly because I really love seeing your range as an actor, being a fan of yours from Outer Banks. Is that something you are looking for in roles now, to play such different characters? Is there anything you’re hoping to play in the future that you haven’t gotten to do yet?
Yeah, I think that’s, again, a lot of the reason I was so interested in this part in the first place is I feel like, as me, there are so many different layers of me as a person that you want to be able to play parts where you get to just kind of do something different, fall into whoever you’re playing, and really show people different sides of you and stuff they weren’t expecting. So, moving forward, I guess, the roles I want to do, do that, you know? They’re roles that are interesting and have different layers to them. One day, it’s Elliot, and the next day, Pope— you got the smart, the nerdy type, the cool kid, and even growing on and kind of layering on top of that, seeing what I can do.

While I know this is a dark comedy and it’s so much fun, I always search for the hidden messaging and I really appreciated what it spoke to in terms of what young adults and teens are faced with during such a vulnerable point in their lives as well as how cruel it can be sometimes. So I’m curious, when you’re doing a storyline like this one, is there anything you hope it makes viewers reflect on?
Yeah, it’s just to be aware of other people’s emotions. I feel like at so young, our emotions are so heightened that it does blind us to how we can affect other people and what kind of energy we’re putting out into the world. You can get so caught up doing a thing that you let the better parts of yourself slip away, so it’s just kind of that reminder, that cautionary tale of be appreciative of the people who are around you and who are genuine to you, regardless of your status or what you can do for them, just being a real person and a friend despite your flaws, and in spite of anything socially that they might feel corrupt like, you know, you want to make sure your morals line up and at the end of the day that’s what’s most important.

Kim Simms/Netflix

I can’t even begin to say how stellar this entire cast is. It’s really unbelievable seeing all of you on my screen together. So for you, when you were getting involved in the project, was there someone you were most excited to work with or someone that surprised you the most when you worked with them?
Honestly, I was a big fan of the entire cast by the time I signed on. Maya, of course, was somebody who I was very excited to work with, I loved her work in Stranger Things, and even Camila in Riverdale, all people whose work I was familiar with. I wanted to see like, in this space, where it’s a movie, you know, TV and movies can be so different sometimes that you really have an interesting opportunity to try something new and do something different in maybe a different acting style. Jenn was somebody who really kind of set the ground for exactly what she wanted all of us to do, and Rish, you know, I’m a big Marvel fan. I’m a big nerd myself. So yeah, Nerds of Color, I thought you were talking about me when guys called me, I was like, “it must be me.”

Listen, we could do a whole interview talking about Marvel, just geeking out. I am down for that whenever you want to.
We could do a whole nerd interview, not even about this movie, and I could go for hours about any nerdy thing. Give it to me, I’ll talk to you for an hour about it.

Don’t tease me with that.
Oh, we’ll set it up. We’re teasing the audience, if they want to see that, if they want to see me get real Nerds of Color, we’ll do that. I got a lot to say about Static and Miles Morales.

But again, Rish was somebody I was very excited to come work with just cause I knew he had ties to Ms. Marvel and we became really close, really good friends on this, and even extends to Paris, Alisha, Talia, and everybody. Just an amazing cast altogether. Austin killed it too. Austin kills it in this movie, oh my gosh, he’s so so good.

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Netflix

Now, I have to give you a follow-up question. Did you ask Rish for Marvel secrets? And is there any Marvel role you’d want to play? I promise that’s my only Marvel question for you.
He didn’t give me the exact secret secrets but I did get to talk to Iman, who plays Ms. Marvel. She is a joy. She’s so good.

You need to work together, I’m manifesting.
I already know me and Rish are gonna work together in the future. We gotta get Iman on board too.

For me, personally, of course, Miles Morales is like, I don’t know who… I mean, when I read those comics, I was like, “Oh, so that’s me. That’s how I feel.” It felt so much of who I was at that age in high school and just kind of trying to really figure out where I fit in. I related to being smart, having great expectations put onto me, and just all of that. A lot of it’s in Pope too, but it’s a role that not only is exciting to play but speaks to me on an emotional level as well.

I’m here for it. I’m ready for it. Whenever it happens, you’ll get an interview request from me.
Oh, perfect. I cannot wait.

With such a fantastic cast, I can’t imagine what it was like actually being on set, filming the movie. When you look back on the experience and working with everyone, do you have any favorite behind-the-scenes memories that you could share?
There were plenty of great moments. We all went and did karaoke one night. We really tried to have fun with each other not only on set but off set as well, just to kind of, you know, you keep those ties. I think my favorite memory was definitely mustache day, which I’m sure that that picture has circulated of us with the mustaches, just that whole day was— on set wise, the days that come out of left field like that are the best ones. But also, of course, the scene where we’re tripping mushrooms and just getting to try different things, different trips, like different levels of trip. I’m sure there’s a lot of deleted scenes and moments that didn’t get to make it into the movie but are just as funny.

Kim Simms/Netflix

Alisha mentioned that scene too! You guys need to get it released, I don’t know who we need to talk to.
Yeah, it’s like I don’t know who at Netflix controls that BTS stuff. The whole entire tripping balls scene needs to come out somehow.

One thing I’m really excited to speak with you about is that big twist for Eleanor. It was just jaw-dropping. What was your reaction?
I read it and I was completely surprised. I was like, “Oh, man!” But it’s the best kind of twist because you go back and it makes sense. It’s the best kind of twist in that way. So kudos to Celeste and Jenn for being able to keep it because you know sometimes, even watching it, it’s set up in a way that catches you off guard, and for them to be able to pull it off like that, it’s such a great twist and I’m so happy it turned out like this. It’s a great movie.

It really is. You also had Sarah Michelle Gellar do a surprise role. What was it like having her on set and finding out she was gonna be in it?
I never met her while she was filming. I didn’t know she was gonna be in it until after we were already done. I was just like, “Who’s playing the headmaster?” They were like, “Oh, Sarah Michelle Gellar,” and I was like, “Wait, what?! What?” Then I met her at the premiere for the first time and she’s such the sweetest lady, honestly.

I love that. You’ll work together again, it’s fine.
Yeah, there’s plenty to do.

When I cover stuff, I love seeing the fan excitement and there is nothing like the fan excitement for this, fans are ready. What is it like for you to see the response and support?
I mean, I love the fans, I love everybody, there’s no this without fans and people who really support and appreciate. So it’s always lovely to see the fans’ reactions to it and just the hype, and the extra stuff they put on it that we might not have seen, you know? Because it’s a piece of art that everybody can just kind of enjoy and interpret however they want, and they get me hyped for it. I’m hyped for it to be released because of the fans.

Courtesy of Netflix

I love it. I can’t wait to go on Twitter and tease our interview.
Oh, yeah. The Twitter brigade is legendary. I love them. I love going on Twitter every once in a while just to be like, “What are you guys mad about or happy about today? What’s the tea, sis?”

Listen, there’s a lot of Do Revenge edits on my timeline right now.
And it’s not even out yet! Just wait til it comes out.

Since I am such a fan of everyone involved in this project, I can’t help but hope that all of you are going to work together in the future. If you could take this entire cast and just put them in another dream project that you could create, what would it be?
I say we stay in the 90s and do one of those 90s style or even early 2000s style just absurd action movies like, you know, those big ensemble action movies that have like ten leads? That kind of stuff just seems fun, or a giant Final Destination type movie and you make it a comedy.

Lastly, is there something specific that you learned on this project that you’re going to use in your future work?
Absolutely, I definitely studied Camila, Maya, and Austin just in the way they did their performances. They had such a way of embodying these characters totally, completely, like physically, and even Maya having to hold that secret but giving it those subtle hints. All just really well-done acting and again, I’m excited to take all that I’ve learned from them into my next projects. I even told them after the premiere like, “It was a pleasure to be able to learn from you guys, who are at the top of your game right now and who are going to be Hollywood for the next however long. It excites me to learn from you guys and to hopefully become a part of it like you already are.”