Talk of fairies, princesses and villains dominated the Saban Theatre on Sunday afternoon, as PaleyFest brought the talent behind “Once Upon a Time” to the Beverly Hills venue for a Q&A panel.
The ABC show follows fairy tale characters who have been cursed to live in the real world in the small town of Storybrooke, Maine, with story lines taking place in both worlds. Created by “Tron: Legacy” writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, “Once” is currently shooting Episode 20 as the writers work on the script for the season finale.
At the event presented by the Paley Center for Media, teases of what’s to come abounded (so watch out for spoilers ahead). Here are 10 highlights from the event.
1. Before the end of Season 1, fans will find out what Snow did to make the Evil Queen hate her so much. And Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White/Mary Margaret) promises it will be worth the wait. “Its complication is what’s so beautiful about it,” she said. “It’s not black and white. It really adds a richness to the relationship between Snow and the Queen.”
Goodwin also told Hero Complex in the press tent before the panel that Horowitz and Kitsis made her privy to this long-awaited secret several months back. “A lot of things we don’t learn ahead of time, but I actually knew what Snow White had done, so that when I reference it in previous episodes I would have some sort of gravitas about the situation – I would understand the weight that it carries,” Goodwin said.
2. The actors love playing two characters who are really one and the same. Josh Dallas told the audience, “It was just such a gift to come in and get to play two characters.” The Prince Charming actor told Hero Complex that the prince’s qualities – honor, bravery and confidence – are ones that David “has in him, and it’s just fighting to come out.”
In the press tent, Goodwin talked about her approach to her two characters: “I try not to do any work to make the characters consistent because I feel that there are certain inherent qualities that I have that overlap with the character … that I can’t help but portray. Because I am one actor playing the two roles, that work is all done for me.”
3. Lana Parrilla will soon play a young Regina, an old Regina and a completely different character. The actress relishes developing the nuances of each variation on her character, as she told Hero Complex, “I work on voice .… With the Queen it’s very deep and resonated, like it comes from my toes .… [In Storybrooke] Regina’s more controlled in many ways .… With young Regina, I worked with a higher pitch, an innocence, so that was a lot of fun to play with.”
4. There was plenty of love in the Saban Theatre for Josh Dallas. Before panel moderator Matt Mitovich asked Dallas his first question, he said, “Give the ladies that smile.” Smile he did, with the lovely bonus of a winsome wink. When questions were turned over to the audience, one attendee said, “I’d like to tell Josh a very personal thank you for moving my beautiful, almost 12-year-old granddaughter on from Justin Bieber.” Dallas let loose a few laughs then gave her a princely bow of the head.
5. Archie Hopper will have more patients in upcoming episodes. Among the characters who will soon find themselves on the therapist’s couch are Henry (again), David and Mr. Gold. Dallas said, “David’s got problems,” and Robert Carlyle explained his character, Mr. Gold “goes to see [Archie] because I don’t think he has anyone else to talk to.” Raphael Sbarge (Archie/Jiminy Cricket) is certainly happy about the increase in screen time for his character – he gleefully noted, “Archie’s got some real job security.”
6. Goodwin is glad she got dressing up as Snow White out of the way a few years ago. It may have been her last chance, as she recalled telling her sister, “I feel like if I’m ever cast as a Disney princess, then I can never dress up as one for Halloween because that would be so pretentious!” Coincidentally, Jennifer Morrison (Emma) dressed as Alice in Wonderland the same year.
7. Dallas and Sbarge make sure to take advantage of British Columbia’s natural beauty. On their time off from the Vancouver set, the two have been skiing together many times. Sbarge is quick to admit that his co-star is the more skilled skier (Dallas goes about once a week) and said, “He’s very sweet with me. He always waits for me to make sure I’m OK.”
8. “The Little Mermaid” fans, your patience will be rewarded – eventually. Horowitz said, “We’d love to bring Ariel on there and a bunch of princesses my daughter is constantly mentioning.” But Kitsis said that story line “is more of a Season 2 thing.” Ever the fan of playing the villain, Parrilla said, “Can I turn into Ursula at some point?”
9. The identity of August, a.k.a. The Stranger, will be revealed this season. Horowitz assured fans that before the finale, the mysterious typewriter-toting character’s identity and agenda will be clear. Mitovich asked if it’s safe to rule out the theory that he’s Henry from the future. “That’s not bad!” said Kitsis after appearing to contemplate it. There were no more clues beyond that – the duo must have learned a few secrecy tips from fellow “Lost” alum J.J. Abrams – but Horowitz did say, “There are a lot of theories out there. Someone’s got it right.”
10. Get ready for “Once” to turn things up a notch as the show nears its first finale. Next week viewers learn the Storybrooke identity of the Big Bad Wolf, and “this last run of episodes we’ve really crammed a lot in,” Horowitz told Hero Complex. Kitisis promised, “It’s all killer, no filler.”
“Once Upon a Time” next airs Sunday, March 11 at 8 p.m. on ABC with the episode “Red-Handed.”
– Emily Rome
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