In another modern twist of the classic story of “The Beauty and the Beast,” ONCE UPON A TIME introduces us to a whole new version of the young ingenue Belle and her sacrifice to save her family. It also spins a tale of how Belle befriends Rumplestiltskin and invites him to see his new existence as more than an imprisonment behind the mask he is forced to wear. In an exclusive interview, Emilie de Ravin provided a quick preview into who Belle is and the complexities of the Belle/Rumplestiltskin relationship.
What was the one thing you were really struck by or enjoyed about portraying Belle?
EMILIE: It was a few things. It was a big departure than anything I’ve done, which I always love and try to do; and really just being able to create this old world character, but also a very renown character that people know. It was also nice to sort have the freedom from portraying an actual person — there was the freedom to give her differences of her own personality, being an animated character. Really just being about to put on the clothes, the wig and the makeup and being transformed into this princess, that was pretty fun. Also getting to work with Robert Carlyle. He’s a lovely guy and really, really talented. That was fun.
As we’ve seen from the previews, it looks like the Beast in this case is Rumplestiltskin. Is it merely going to be an arranged situation where she offers herself to save her village, or does she come to care for him in some way?
EMILIE: Her family has summoned him because of the war that is going on; and, of course, the bastard he is, the only way he will help is if Belle goes with him. So that’s basically it. But she’s getting to be this hero that she’s always wanted to be. She always wanted to do something different, and not just stay home in the castle. To go see the world. Be brave. To do something that women don’t usually do.
Do you think of Belle as being an example of female-empowered for that world?
EMILIE: For sure! We wanted to give her a very empowering side and even with the relationship with Rumple, it was always that she was strong. It was important that she was never put down — that she stands up for herself. There’s a point — more so than in the original story — where she stands up for herself a bit more in the modern take. I love that she is portrayed as a strong woman.
Does Belle have a dark-side or is she simply a virtuous person who is simply trying to draw Rumplestiltskin out of his darkness?
EMILIE: I think everyone’s got a bit of a dark-side. But predominately she’s a strong person. She is not a push-over, but she’s learning to cope with what she believed was a lifetime of confinement. But she basically traded one for another. It’s just a different situation. So it’s a bit of a struggle for her accepting that and coming to terms with making the best of things. There’s always a bit of a Pollyanna-attitude there in a sense that she’s determined to make the most of it. She like, “I’m going to not let myself sit in a corner and be miserable. I’m going to try to make this guy see that he’s actually pretty cool, and I’m going to be myself and let him know that it’s okay to be himself.” I really believe that they are in a masquerade of sorts and they have to deal with that.
What would is the one word you would describe the experience for you?
EMILIE: Being “magical.”
So are we only seeing Belle in the fantasy-world or will we be seeing her in Storybrooke as well?
EMILIE: That’s the one that I have to say: “Tune in and watch!”
Tiffany Vogt is the Senior West Coast Editor, contributing as a columnist and entertainment reporter to TheTVaddict.com. 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 Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).
To see how the Belle and Rumplestitskin story plays out and whether Belle does make an appearance in Storybrooke, be sure to watch Sunday night’s new episode on February 12th at 8PM on ABC (CTV in Canada)