The cast of Once Upon a Time talks to The Hollywood Reporter about their 100th episode which airs this Sunday.
Stars Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, and Lana Parrilla tell THR about the emotional reunions, fun surprises, and unexpected encounters in the Underworld.
When Once Upon a Time’s 100th episode airs on March 6, things will be very different, yet eerily similar. As co-creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis teased to The Hollywood Reporter earlier this season, the Underworld is a twisted version of Storybrooke, filled with dearly (and not-so-dearly) departed characters from the show’s five seasons.
According to the fairytale drama’s core cast — Ginnifer Goodwin (Mary Margaret/Snow White), Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), Josh Dallas (David/Prince Charming), and Lana Parrilla (Regina/The Evil Queen) — there are going to be many ghosts from the past with “unfinished business” sending everyone on an emotional journey.
The person everyone is most worried about is Emma, who Morrison says is “vulnerable” and in a “deep, dark place” during her quest to find Hook (Colin O’Donoghue). Find out how far her parents and Regina — who Parrilla says is now “family” — will go to save Hook, what shocking reunions are ahead, and what other surprises to expect in the milestone episode.
Just like in other realm shifts on OUAT, the Underworld is going to change everyone. But according to Morrison, Emma may be the most affected.
“Emma is really leaning into the fact that she truly, deeply loves Hook and that she’s going to risk everything to try and save him,” Morrison tells THR. “We’re going to this deep, dark place, and she’s going there more full of love and hope and vulnerability than she’s ever been before. … I think her having gone through the Dark Swan phase has given her the opportunity to be that open and vulnerable and it’s almost like looking at her own inner demons in a certain way in order to get to a more open, free place and the other side of it.”
Now that the Savior is preoccupied, Regina will also become a hero in the Underworld, helping lost souls complete their unfinished business.
“Because Regina is now a hero and has joined the hero pack, she feels obligated to help these souls. … It’s giving everyone the opportunity to make amends with their past and help these souls move on,” Parrilla reveals. “And that’s the hero in all these characters. We’re not just down there to help one person — we end up going down there to help many.”
One of the biggest pieces of unfinished business happens to be with Regina and her mother, Cora (Barbara Hershey). “When she sees her mom for the first time, it’s a happy reunion, but it’s bittersweet,” Parrilla says. “We start to learn why Cora’s trapped down there, and we learn that Cora’s there because Regina is part of her unfinished business.”
Regina and Cora’s bittersweet reunion is just one of the big returns the 100th episode has in store — and some of them will be even more shocking than the evil family’s.
“There are going to be some interesting meet-ups … with our characters meeting up with parts of their past that they may or may not want to come across,” Dallas teases. His on and off-screen wife Ginnifer Goodwin agrees. “The underworld is less a setting and more a character in and of itself [that] affects each of us deeply,” she says. “We’re faced with not only the people who are trapped with unfinished business, but the realizations that we might be responsible for that in some way.”
Snow White’s biggest reunion (and one of Goodwin’s favorite scenes of the series) will be with “someone from her past that defined who she was,” she says. However, she teases it’s “not someone we’ve met before — it’s a new character,” who will appear alongside Bailee Madison’s Young Snow White. Meanwhile, Charming will also come across a family member whom he’s never met before, but has “always been a very big part of his life.”
Morrison didn’t reveal exactly who Emma will see in the Underworld — although Michael Raymond-James is returning as her ex, Neal, for the first time in two seasons — but she hinted at “several fun surprises and unexpected encounters” as they try to find everyone happy endings.
Snow and Charming are Emma’s “hero team” first and parents second in the Underworld. Dallas says that since the duo has “gone to great lengths to save each other” and literally share a heart, Charming understands how important it is for a person to find love. “He’s going to give [Emma] the room to make her own decisions about [Hook] and whatever she needs to do to find for that for herself,” he says.
After five years of a tense back-and-forth relationship, Regina is also going to give Emma her all. “She feels obligated for many reasons and responsible to help Emma because Emma sacrificed her life to save Regina,” Parrilla says. “Regina is a team player. She is part of this family, and family is everything to her so she is going to help Emma as far as Emma wants to go to save Hook.”
Once Upon a Time’s 100 episode airs on Sunday at 8 p.m.on ABC.
While Disney’s next big animated feature Zootopia may open on March 4, we had the opportunity to sit down with Once Upon a Time star Ginnifer Goodwin to discuss her experience living the life of an animated leading-lady.
(Warning: minor spoilers may follow!)
For those that are blissfully unaware, Zootopia centers around a world of animals that have evolved beyond their primal instincts. Mammals live in harmony without the fear of tearing each other to shreds and hunting for sustenance. Goodwin’s character Judy Hopps, an ambitious bunny, is dead-set on making a name for herself in the big city as the world’s first “Bunny Cop”. When she gets wound up with sly fox Nick Wilde (played by Jason Bateman), the adventure spirals out of control into an epic mystery that spans throughout some of the major boroughs of Zootopia. When asked how she could compare herself and her animated character, Goodwin only had to be herself.
“I feel like they just animated me. I mean, there are qualities I Judy has that I wish I had, but then there are a lot of overlapping things. I feel like I’m seriously optimistic and ambitious, but I think we’re also a bit idealistic and a bit self-righteous. I would like to think I take as much responsibility for my actions as she does, but I’m sure I don’t — I wish I were as fearless as Judy. But we’re both criers!”
While it seems like voice acting would be just as easy as stepping up to a microphone, it’s not without its fair share of challenges. To channel the right attitude and discipline for such a major role in an animated feature film, Goodwin had to switch gears.
“It’s challenging, but it’s more liberating than live-action acting. To be on camera is to control. Everything has to be controlled, and you’re using that control to make something real,” Goodwin continued “With voice-over acting, you’re relinquishing that control. It’s an animator’s medium, it’s an editor’s medium. So it’s more about giving the director’s 400,000 versions of every scene and letting them piece together what the character is going to be. And we don’t know what that’s going to look like until we see the film.”
Goodwin admitted that she’s been a lifelong Disney fan since childhood, and she spends a good amount of time traversing Disneyland every month. So, when she got the call that she was asked to be in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 55th animated feature, her answer was a no-brainer: “When I got the call, my agent was like ‘Well, don’t you want to know what the offer is?’ and I was like ‘No! I want you to make this legally binding! I’m doing it. You can’t back out of this offer…then you can call me and tell me what it is.”
While at times a lighthearted family comedy, Zootopia also tends to tackle some of the tougher topics facing society today, including diversity and profiling others.
“That’s what I think makes it so special: it’s a comedy, it’s an action movie, it’s a buddy-cop movie, it’s about friendship, it’s a homage to film noire and old Hollywood. Yet, there are underlying themes that I really hope people carry with them when they leave. Most articulated is the idea that ‘you are what you are’ or ‘anyone can be anything’. That’s the first thing I hope my kids would pick up on when they’re finally old enough to see the movie.”
Another fascinating aspect of the film is the very human relationship between the two leads, Nick and Judy. The “impossible friendship” trope has existed for ages, but there’s something uniquely special about Zootopia‘s protagonists: “One of the things I love most about the movie is that it’s so rare that we just have a platonic friendship. A male and female character. There’s no sexuality there, and I think that’s part of what makes it so brilliant. That you can have such a gorgeous relationship and you don’t have to bring sex into it.”
As an avid park-goer, Goodwin has a city-sized dream for the physical, potential future of the franchise: “I have been talking about this to the higher-ups any time I run into anybody who runs the studio or the parks, because I can’t think of anything better than having a full-blown Zootopia at the parks. I mean, I want all of the worlds.”
We can only hope she gets her wish. The world itself is absolutely breathtaking with an almost obsessive attention to detail. Having Zootopia come alive for families at one of the Disney theme parks would seem like a dream come true. As for a possible sequel to the film, that’s obviously way down the road. But that hasn’t stopped Goodewin from brainstorming a few ideas.
“I would like to see Nick have to prove to Judy that the world is worth saving. I’d like their roles to flip-flop, to see her go to her darker place and have Nick be the one who pulls her out of it.”
‘Once Upon a Time’ star Ginnifer Goodwin talks the pluck of this hare
Judy Hopps is the newest hero to join Disney’s animal ranks, and she’s the warmest, fuzziest, bunniest police officer that you may never have met.
“The initial pitch for the movie was about a spy jackrabbit called Jack Savage, a James Bond type,” says Byron Howard, co-director of the latest Disney Animated endeavor, Zootopia (opening Mar. 4). “We chucked the spy thing and the movie evolved into this detective crime procedural, and at that point, [the character] took on this persona as a wannabe cop.”
Enter Judy, a wide-eyed bunny cop eager to prove her species’ mettle in a blue uniform in the bustling, anthropomorphic city of Zootopia. In a police force dominated by elephants, rhinos, and buffalo, Zootopia’s rabbit protagonist underwent a character transformation from slick to sweet — but she never lost her determination, especially not when Once Upon a Time actress Ginnifer Goodwin signed on to voice her.
“We talked about her possibly having cowboy swagger, like a female John Wayne,” Goodwin says. “But I think I must have been lousy at it because they very kindly and lovingly sat me down and said, ‘We want what you bring to the table to be what Judy is.’ And so I dropped everything and tried to make her bouncy and reactive. Judy just sounds like me.”
In fact, Goodwin shares more than a vocal chord with Judy. The actress’s go-go-go attitude aligns nicely with the speedy rabbit’s chronic impatience. Consider: The film’s lynchpin sloths-at-the-DMV scene — where a panicky, time-crunched Judy contends with sluggish sloth bureaucrats — was a one-take deal for that exact reason. “What genuinely happened in the room was the guys were making me so crazy because they were speaking so slowly,” says Goodwin with a laugh. “Without even thinking about it, I just found myself speeding up. The slower they spoke, the more quickly I needed to. I was pulling my hair out. And that ended up being what was used.”
Howard describes the link between actress and character thusly: “Ginnifer has this very pure core to her. She sounds very innocent, she’s very determined, but she’s still very fiery, and we sort of went away from that swaggery cop to a cop who is very true blue, like an Eagle Scout.”
Well, maybe not eagle scout. To the filmmakers, rabbits were the perfect underdog species for the role, particularly because of the natural food-chain chemistry with Judy’s fox partner, Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). “Some folks were, ‘Well, should it be a rabbit and a fox? Should it be a tiger and a gazelle? Should it be a bigger animal and a smaller animal?’” recalls Howard. “[As fox and rabbit], Nick and Judy are predator and prey, but in the bigger scheme of the world, they’re both still underdogs. They’re small animals in a world full of much larger… dangerous animals. So there was something about having them be natural enemies but still be close in size, that made them feel like underdogs.”
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Judy and Nick are already so Disney-ready cute. Co-director Rich Moore says the bunny’s appeal is a combination of both an improvement in technology and the tried-and-true Disney process. “When you put her into the hands of a Disney animator, it’s almost like muscle memory,” says Moore. “They know what to do with the character to achieve maximum cute appeal. In fact, we had to pull them back. Sometimes she was a little too cute, where she started to lose some of her determination. And she almost thinks of being cute as a disability, that she’s not being taken seriously because of it.”
Goodwin agrees, and Judy’s pluck is largely her favorite thing about the character — a realization that, despite years of recording, the actress only recently grasped. “I didn’t understand until I saw the film that we have this badass action hero who is girly and good and generous and well-meaning and uncompromising and doesn’t have to have any of the, frankly, masculine qualities and sexuality that we associate to make her an action hero. She’s just unpromisingly sweet,” says Goodwin. “If I had little girls, I would kill for Judy Hopps to be their role model. And I would kill for Judy to be my boys’ role model, too.”
But Goodwin — who has one toddler and is expecting a baby boy with husband Josh Dallas — has removed herself from the Judy equation, at least when it comes to her growing tot, who has no idea mom is Hopps. “I don’t want him to recognize my voice, because he’s just developing an imagination, and I love that he believes characters are real, and I don’t want to shatter that illusion,” she admits. “My son carries a Judy doll around and shows her things out the window or reads her books and [I’m] like, you have no idea how weird this is.”
New stills have been released for this Sunday’s episode of Once Upon a Time, Souls Of The Departed and can now be found in our gallery.
This Sunday is the 100th episode of Once Upon a Time. Be sure to tune in!
Heroes. Villains. New Worlds. Adventure. Love. Once Upon A Time returns with its 100th episode on Sunday, March 6!