Home / Interviews / Once Upon A Producer: Interview With Steve Pearlman Of Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Producer: Interview With Steve Pearlman Of Once Upon A Time

Earlier this month, we along with several other media outlets had the opportunity to visit the sets of ABC's upcoming series, Once Upon A Time, at the show's filming location in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

The show, which premieres on Sunday, October 23, transports the audience into a fairy tale world that is soon cursed, where its inhabitants now reside in the "real world" in a town called Storybrooke. (A fuller description of the series can be found here). The talented cast includes Jennifer Morrison (House), Lana Parrilla (LOST), Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love), and Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe) and the show comes from two of the writers of LOST, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.

KSiteTV participated in roundtable/group interviews with several members of the Once cast as well as executive producer Steve Pearlman. We'll be rolling these interviews out over the coming week as we lead into October 23 and the series premiere.

Today's posting is a Q&A with executive producer Steve Pearlman. If the name's familar, it could be because we interviewed him last year when he had a similar role with ABCs V. From Visitors to fairy tales... it seems he does well with high-concept projects. We're not posting everything he had to say -- after all, there were four other media outlets in our roundtable -- but some highlights are found below.

Please do not reproduce this interview onto other websites. Instead, just place a link to KSiteTV! Questions to Mr. Pearlman are posted in bold; his answers are not.

How long will it take for us to learn more about the curse that the Evil Queen has put on everyone?

We, the audience, will know more about the curse at the end of the first episode. That was one of the things that we came away from the pilot, and there were a number of questions about who in Storybrooke knows about the curse. That's something that we answer in the first episode.

One of the questions that kept coming up on V [was that] everyone was asking "When are people going to find out about this? And what's their story?" And we didn't really answer the story about the Visitors until the second season, even, and I think the audience gets impatient with that. So in Once, in the first episode, we very clearly lay out how the curse came about, and who knows about the curse in the modern day world.

What is the timeline as far as how much time passes in each episode?

There's no set rule for that. We did a timeline for ourselves, where we're shooting Episode 8 and 9 right now, and I think we did a timeline that said that we're about 34 days from when Emma arrived in Storybrooke. And there's no real significance to that.

Some episodes take place in one day; some episodes take place over the course of a couple days. Episode 7 brings us up to the Christmas hiatus, and then we're off the air for three weeks or something like that, and I think we do a two week jump there, and we pick up the story two weeks later. It's kind of a natural place to do that, anyway. That's the biggest jump we have in the present day story. The fairy tale story kind of jumps all over the place. There's no real timeline for that.

Is there going to be any kind of cliffhanger left at the end of Episode 7 to make people want to come back a few weeks later?

Yeah, I think so. [grins] Maybe even a couple.

Can you talk about Rumplestiltskin and his Storybrooke alter ego of Mr. Gold?

The thing about Rumple and Mr. Gold in Storybrooke, that we've tried very hard [to do], is to keep him very mysterious, to the point where in the pilot when Mr. Gold shows up, we don't really give him an entrance. He's almost just kind of there. You turn around and there he is. We kind of play that with him, where he is kind of the Big Bad. Regina is bad, and she's a great villain, but there's something almost scarier about Rumple because we don't know that much about him. He's unpredictable. He seems to know a lot more than he lets on.

We do have an episode that we're actually shooting right now, which is a big Rumplestiltskin backstory episode, where you get to see some of the texture that made him who he is. In the pilot, Rumplestiltskin is in the dungeon, and because we're jumping around time in Fairy Tale land, and flashing back to different parts of the fairy tale story, we'll see Rumplestiltskin out of the dungeon, because it would have been the time before he was imprisoned.

The young boy, Henry (Jared Gilmore), has a book that informs him of the fairy tale world. Is there something magical about Henry himself?

He was given the book, and he was a kid that just needed something, and this is the thing that he has grasped on to. I think there is something - certainly we play it in the pilot, and it's something that we've captured a little bit in some of the episodes... there is a little bit of a magical quality to Henry. We don't want to play him as a precocious kid, because I think everybody kind of hates that in television, but I think there's an innocence to him, and a wise-beyond-his-years quality to him.

Does the Mayor (Regina, his adopted mother, known in the Fairy Tale world as the Evil Queen) know who Henry really is? Will we see the background to her adoption of him?

We will touch on that in some episodes, yes, as to how she adopted him.

One of the early episodes of the series involves Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Will we be  seeing any more characters from the Sleeping Beauty mythology, and will she have any conflict with the Evil Queen?

I don't know, and yes. In that order.

Maleficent is in our first episode after the pilot. Kristen Bauer plays the lovely Maleficent, and I think that you get a very good sense that there's a history between the two. They're kind of frienemies. Maleficent has something that the Queen wants, and what length will she go to with her dear old friend to get that?

I think where we leave that story in the first episode, there's absolutely an opportunity to have Maleficent come back, and see what trouble she might stir up.

Do we also see Maleficent's Storybrooke alter ego?

We have not, yet.

That's not all! Read more of our interview here!

Comments on this site are temporarily disabled, so please come by the KSiteTV Forums to talk about this article as well as more of your favorite TV!

About Craig Byrne, Editor-In-Chief

KSiteTV Editor-In-Chief Craig Byrne has been writing about TV on the internet since 1995. He is also the author of several published books, including Smallville: The Visual Guide and the show's Official Companions for Seasons 4-7.
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