Get to Know the Enchanting Cast of ABC’s ONCE UPON A TIME

In what is perhaps the most visually engaging and charming series of the Fall season, ONCE UPON A TIME invites viewers to enter a world where magic is real and fairytales come to life.  As seen through the eyes of a young woman (Jennifer Morrison’s Emma Swan) who finds out that time has stood still in a small town and that she may be the key to solving the mystery behind it all, this delightful series takes viewers on a remarkable journey.

What should we know about Emma Swan?
JENNIFER:  Emma is an incredibly damaged woman.  As far as she knows, she was abandoned as a child and has lived in the foster system until she is old enough to take care of herself.  I’ve actually been reading about children in the foster system and how even in the best circumstances, how hard it can be on kids — and a lot of times, it is not the best of circumstances.  So she is someone who has seen a lot of violence. She is someone who has seen a lot of abuse.  She is someone who has felt abandoned and alone for most of her life, and doesn’t really trust anyone and isn’t interested in trusting anyone.   Which is why Henry is a fascinating appearance in her life and also everyone else in Storybrooke, because it is very disarming for her to be dealing with people who may actually be kind and not have ulterior motives?  So I think particularly Mary Margaret is very disarming for Emma because she doesn’t seem to have an ulterior motive and seems determine to be kind and I don’t think Emma’s ever encountered that in her life.  And it has a very odd effect on her.  She is so used to keeping her guard up.  Yet here is this woman who can immediately disarm her.  Then also, she lives with a tremendous amount of guilt ’cause she gave up Henry.  She did it believing that she was giving him a better life, and truly believe that.  Here is this woman who was probably living on the streets to some degree when she had the child, so how selfish would it be to put a child through that lifestyle, in her mind.  Then to find out that he’s finding her when he’s 10 years old and he’s not in a good situation is completely devastating and she is completely overrun with guilt.  So you have a woman who is very lonely, very damaged and very intrigued.

What is it like working with a child-actor like Jared Gilmore, who plays Emma’s son, Henry?
JENNIFER:  Jared is lovely and I’m so proud of him because he has grown so much just from since the pilot episode.  Watching him, he really does love acting. He’s just one of those kids who truly loves it.  He wants to be good at it.  But just the sheer amount of work, it is just giving him the opportunity to grow so much, so quickly.  And to see the confidence grow in him, and to see his ability to handle things on set, he has just grown drastically and it has been really fun to watch that, and to see how excited he is and the pleasure of working with him.  The hard part is really the technical stuff.  When you only have someone for 6-8 hours in a day and you have to work around getting as much as possible with him in it, it often ends up my work is with the script supervisor reading his lines.  So there is that kind of weird extra technical element to have to remember the sensation of acting with him in order to recreate that scene with someone who isn’t him by the time we are actually shooting my coverage.  But for Jared, it’s fun and he really enjoys it.  Bless his little heart ’cause you can keep him later when he’s not in school, and we call it “pumpkining” — normally he is “pumpkining” at 10:00 p.m. and in the summer I think he “pumpkins” at 12:30 a.m.  So the poor kid.  He had all these lines and he just did it great every time, but you could just see that tired hit when it was 12:00 a.m. at night and it was like, “Oh my god, put the kid to bed!  He’s 10 years old.”  But he really does love it.  He really just has so much fun with it.  He’s a lift to everyone’s day.

Can you introduce yourselves and the character you play on the show?
JARED:  My name is Jared and I play Henry. Henry is sort of the character that holds the two worlds together.  Meaning, he’s the only one in basically the whole world that knows that everyone in the town of Storybrooke, Maine is a fairytale character, but they just don’t know it.  So it’s a pretty interesting world to play in when you’re the person that’s telling them, “Oh, you’re Jiminy Cricket” or “Oh, you’re Snow White,” or something.  It’s quite fun.
RAPHAEL:  I’m Raphael Sbarge and I play two characters, Archie Hopper and Jiminy Cricket.  I play both the voice of Jiminy Cricket, who is a CGI character, and I play Henry’s therapist — Dr. Archibald Hopper.  The show is attempting to take these wonderful characters that we know and reinvent them — essentially to remake them.  So I love the characters.

Once you saw the finished pilot episode, what was the most startling or memorable moment that you recall seeing?
JARED:  The most startling moment for me — I liked the whole thing, but I think the most startling moment was seeing all the characters in both worlds — how they were in each side.  It was kind of interesting seeing what they looked like in the fairytale world and in the real world.
RAPHAEL:  When I read the pilot, it was arguable everyone’s favorite pilot on the page, but I’ve been in those pilots and that can be the kiss of death.  So you go, “oh, god, it’s a little ambitious to carry this off.”  Carrying it off it a tall order, it’s almost a cinematic feature.  Yet, what I was so excited about was, “oh, my goodness, it’s even better than what I thought it was going to be!”  In terms of the special effects, the quality and also the acting throughout is so strong, and there is nothing pandering about the show — which I’m also so excited about.  And the fact that the two worlds were so distinct.  You really felt when you were in one world, you were really there.  And then the music.  Again, all the elements that went into this — I’m very excited about the show and the huge magnitude of possibilities of stories.

Can you introduce yourself and your character on the show?
JOSH:  I’m Josh Dallas and I play Prince Charming.

What was your first impression of the show?
JOSH:  It blew away all my expectations.  Of course, I first read the pilot and as an actor, you just think “Wow! This is really interesting.”  ‘Cause you just don’t read scripts like this very often.  I think it’s something really unique and I think ABC is being very brave in doing something that as high-concept as this — we’re giving the audience something different on a Sunday night.  I think that’s really important.  I had the same reaction when I read the pilot.  As an actor to be able to come in and play such an iconic character of Prince Charming, but to infuse it with things that we don’t know about him.  So we’re going to find out more about this guy:  his origins, where he comes from, what makes him this royal.  Is he royal or not royal?  What’s his real name?  Is his real name Charming?  It’s finding all this stuff out.  And I think that is hugely exciting as actors that we get to kind of create this landscape that we don’t know about.  I think in all the incarnations that we’ve seen Prince Charming, we don’t know much about him.  We knew he comes in and saves the day, kisses the girl and that’s kind of it.  Which is not a bad gig, but that’s what is so great about Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, the creators, that they have created characters that have levels to them.

Were you wondering how exactly the written version would translate visually to the screen?
JOSH:  You certainly think, “Melding these two worlds, how’s that going to work?”  Is the story-telling going to come across in a really clear and entertaining way?  But Eddie and Adam come from the pedigree of LOST, and they are used to dealing with these huge landscapes of storytelling — epic storytelling — and I think that is exactly what this is and those guys are totally confident that it would come off the way that it read — and it came out even better.

When you step into the Prince Charming costume, does it change everything about you in order transform you into this iconic character?
JOSH:  Yeah, of course.  You walk differently.  You hold yourself differently.  I mean, you’ve got a sword attached to your side, so you feel like a bad-ass.  All that kind of stuff helps you as an actor.  You find a character externally in that kind of way, which always informs what’s going on internally, such as he is a prince that gets his hands dirty.  He has a kingdom to run.  He has this epic love, that is Snow White.  And there’s someone that’s threatening his family, so he’s going to do what needs to do to make sure that nothing happens to them.

Can you describe your character on the show?
ROBERT:  I’ve only done a couple of episodes, so I’m still kind of processing who he is. When this came up, I thought it kind of affected all my preconceived ideas of who Rumplestiltskin is.  He’s a juicy character.  I felt he was a bit theatrical and a bit heightened.  I think what is interesting about the character is that he doesn’t just stay in the fantasy element and when you go into the real-world, he is still not exactly normal and is slightly off-balance.  So it gives a real opportunity to have some fun with the character.

He is the original Tempter, isn’t he?
ROBERT:  Yes, he is, in a way.  But it’s all about honor with this character.

Do you strive to make sure there are distinct differences between Rumplestiltskin and Mr. Gold?
ROBERT:  It’s hard work, to tell the truth.  There’s a lot of voice work to differentiate them.

How much will Mr. Gold be involved in the affairs of Storybrooke?
ROBERT:  He knows more than you think.  Regina, the Evil Queen, knows perhaps more, but I think he’s more dangerous.

Your character seems obsessed with names.  Is that the source of his power, or is that just a tool he uses?
ROBERT:  Back in the days of Medieval times, if you could learn someone’s name, it was believed you could have power over them.  People did not like to reveal their names.  That’s generally where it came from.  So names are almost the key to the soul.

To see how the fates of the Storybrooke residents and their fairytale counterparts find a way to reclaim their lives and battle the forces of evil that have condemned them to be frozen in an alternate time dimension, be sure to tune in for the premiere of ONCE UPON A TIME on Sunday, October 23rd at 8PM on ABC. (7PM on CTV in Canada)

Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to TheTVAddict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).

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