Earlier this month, eleven television journalists made their way up to Vancouver, BC for a whirlwind press tour that began in a place called Storybrooke.
More specifically, we ended up in production offices that were very close to where the magic happens in Storybrooke, as our first stop was to see the production and interview the talent behind ABC’s upcoming new series, Once Upon A Time.
You can read a description of the series here but in short, Once takes a look at what happens when fairy tale characters are relocated to the “real world” with no memories of their previous lives, thanks to a curse placed by an Evil Queen played by Lana Parrilla. The fantastic Parrilla is joined in the cast by actors like Jennifer Morrison (House), Josh Dallas (Thor), Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love), and Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe) and the show was conceived by two of the writers of LOST, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.
As we move toward the show’s premiere on Sunday, October 23, we’ll be posting more interviews with the show’s cast, but today the focus is on the Evil Queen herself, also the Mayor of Storybrooke, “Regina” — Lana Parrilla, who is nowhere near evil in real life, nor is she actually a mayor named Regina. Enjoy!
Please do not reproduce this interview onto other websites. Instead, just place a link to KSiteTV! Questions to Ms. Parrilla are posted in bold; her answers are not.
Do you think people are going to react differently to you in real life once they’ve seen you as the Evil Queen on the show?
I know a lot of kids are going to be fearful of me. I’m excited to see my nephews watching this. I was talking to Kristen Bauer [the show’s Maleficent] about this, and I said a lot of actors that play villains are actually really nice people.
There has to be some good in Regina. After all, she did adopt Henry.
I think a lot of people make decisions, and have children sometimes, for the wrong reasons. Maybe there’s a void in their life that they’re trying to fill. I think Regina is doing that with Henry.
Does she know who Henry really is? (If you’re wondering why this question is important, watch the show and you’ll see there’s a lot more to Henry than we know, that we will learn very quickly)
I don’t think she does. I don’t think she knows who Henry is.
Is Regina aware of the curse, and is she aware that she is a fairy tale character?
I think she may have an inkling. You’ll find out very soon.
Do you think Henry brings out a more sympathetic side to Regina?
I think you see a more sympathetic, more vulnerable side when it comes to Henry. Even though she’s this Evil Queen, she has the ability to love, and even as the Evil Queen, there was a time she did love, deeply, and I think Regina has that for Henry. I think she really loves him. She’s holding on so tight, and as one does when you hold on too tight, they slip right through your fingers. Henry’s just slipping through her hands, and she’s just trying to grab on and is very unsuccessful in doing so. But the love is present, and that will help the audience relate to her more on a human level.
An early episode of the series has the Evil Queen interacting with another famous villain, Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent. Can you talk about how they react to one another?
I think it’s going to be great. We shot the scene, and she and I had an incredible time, and we got along really well. She’s very talented. She’s a very strong, powerful, beautiful woman, and we just go head to head. But there is a friendship between these two villains – well, they describe them as “frenemies” – and as actors, we really got along, so it helps. You’ll see it. It’s a really great scene. I had a blast working with her.
Is it true we see a more vulnerable side to the Evil Queen in the series’ second episode?
You will see a vulnerable side to the Queen that I don’t think anyone’s ever seen on this level, with these iconic Disney characters. It is exciting for me to portray, and I think it’s going to be really exciting to watch. I mean, she sheds tears, which is nice to see. You have a lot of compassion for her, I think, after that episode.
Did you look back to any of the classic Disney cartoons for inspiration?
I did. I actually watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarves again. I didn’t realize I hadn’t seen it in so many years. It’s interesting; Snow White’s eyes are always closed, and you’re just like “Why?” For some reason her eyes are always closed! I found that kind of interesting. But the Evil Queen was quite lovely to watch. I also watched Glenn Close in 101 Dalmatians. Her performance was phenomenal. It’s a little too theatrical for what we’re doing, but I did watch it. I’ve watched a few other films that are not Disney related, but that have been inspiring as well. Like, Marlena Dietrich has been a huge inspiration for the Evil Queen.
Do you think there will be things about Regina/The Evil Queen that viewers will identify with and root for?
When you see where this hatred thrives from, what she’s gone through, and what she’s lot, that will help people relate to her more.
And she’s just fun. She’s big. She’s bold. She’s so out there, and she’s not afraid to say how she feels. And there’s something quite refreshing about that, when someone can be that expressive, and not give a [crap]. I like that about her. I like playing her. It’s a lot of fun, and the costumes are phenomenal.
Does the Magic Mirror ever give her grief?
The Magic Mirror, I find, is like her inner voice. It’s almost like her subconscious. It’s like the part of the brain that doesn’t lie. I think I’d say she can’t really do anything to him. He’s so protected in that mirror, and if she breaks it, he’ll just show up in another one. So he’s pretty safe there. But she turns to him to see what’s going on in the Enchanted Forest, to see what Snow White’s doing and where she is, but also to seek answers and truth.
Does Regina have any friends? Obviously she has to be in a place of power as Mayor of Storybrooke.
That’s a good question. I’ve asked that same question. I think of Regina as a quiet, lonely character. A lonely, lonely woman. And that’s another thing that people will relate to – there’s a loneliness in her, and you know what that loneliness can do to a person.
She doesn’t have many friends. She has maybe one, and we’re not even quite sure if that’s a real friend yet.
She and the Sheriff seem to work together in the pilot. Are we reading too much into that?
No, no. They definitely have a relationship. I think he is a very important character in her life, and also in Henry’s life. She trusts him enough to be there with Henry, so that says something.
Does Regina notice that the time on the town’s clock has started to move again?
It’s so hard to keep withholding. I’d love to tell you. It’s amazing, because even when you’re an actor on the show, you also become a fan. I’m friends with Jorge Garcia, who you know, I’m sure, and I worked on LOST, I did a season finale in the third year, and I would ask him questions, and he kept telling me nothing, and I was like “AHHH! WHY WON’T YOU TELL ME?” and he said “You’ve gotta watch!” But I get it. I understand the secrecy, and I respect that. But I wish I could tell you more.
Come back to KSiteTV in the coming days and all next week for more Once Upon A Time interviews and be sure to watch the series premiere on October 23! Here are more treats associated with the series that you may enjoy: Once Upon A Time forum – Once Upon A Time Hub @ KSiteTV – Image Gallery – Steve Pearlman (Producer) Interview