Lana Parrilla: It's A Joy Being Evil
Hearts were crushed, both literally and figuratively, when Once Upon A Time wrapped up its 2011 run by killing Graham and revealing that Regina not only remembered her life pre-Storybrooke but still retained her magic.
This was a major turning point for fans, and for star Lana Parrilla who was thrilled to learn once and for all exactly how in the know her character was.
Now with the cat out of the bag, 2012 promises to be filled with big answers and even bigger questions -- some of which I recently got to lob at Lana when she called up TheInsider.com for a chat all about her Breakout Performance!
Insider.com: Finding out Regina remembers her storybook life is a huge game-changer for fans. But does it change the way you play her at all?
Lana Parrilla: That's a good question, because up until then, I'd been playing every scene two different ways: I've been giving them the choice to pick the performance that implies Regina knows she's the Evil Queen and one where she doesn't. Now, it's clear that she knows – and everyone else knows, which is a lot of fun. But I had to make it difficult. I couldn't celebrate the moment of killing a loved character. I made it hard for her. Her choice to crush Graham's heart was definitely a hard one and I wanted that to come across.
Insider: With this reveal, do you think it'll be harder for fans to sympathize with her?
Lana: It depends on where the writers take her, but I always want to keep a human heart [laughs]. No pun intended [laughs]. It's so important to me to have a softness in her because it's so unexpected. I hope everyone remembers that Regina is still human at the end of the day.
Insider: This week's episode is all about Emma and Regina fighting over who takes over for Graham as Sheriff. When will we learn how the town votes?
Lana: You'll find out at the end of Sunday's episode what happens. One thing I love about Regina, is that even though she can be a total bitch, she's kind of right. I get where she's coming from. Who does this woman think she is coming to town and trying to take over? Emma's been there for 6 weeks. How dare she think she knows what's best for Storybrooke. Regina feels that Sydney Glass is a much better candidate – he's been writing for The Storybrooke Daily Mirror for 20 years, who knows these people better than him?
Insider: Especially since Regina can control him, right?
Lana: Exactly! [laughs] There's always that.
Insider: Given our previous conversation about Regina's heart, I'm curious to get your take on her relationship with Henry. Some fans have wondered if her need to "have him" stems from a pure or malicious place.
Lana: I think at the end of the day, everyone wants love – especially that maternal love. She genuinely loves Henry. She does. And she's constantly fighting for that relationship to be successful. There's a deep need for him to like her and that's why Emma is such a huge threat. We still don't know why Henry hates his mom so much and that's something that I, as an actor, question the writers about all the time. I think over time you'll see what happened between those two and why he hates her so much. There is a void in Regina, as there is in The Evil Queen in fairytale land. She thought enacting this curse would help but clearly it hasn’t and that's the eternal fight in this character.
Insider: I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to acknowledge the amazing costumes you wear every episode. Any particular favorites?
Lana: There have been a couple. The seduction scene with Graham, for one. I just thought that was so stunning. There's also one coming up in the Hansel & Gretel episode. Wait until you see that one! It’s brilliant! It's one of my favorites for sure. And I have to say, even though the Queen's wardrobe leaves bruises and scars on my body, it makes me feel six feet tall – and sometimes I am in those heels [laughs]. Paying the Queen is just a joy – I fly as her. I can be as big and bold as I would like to be.
Insider: We've talked a bit about what's to come. Will answers be one of those things?
Lana: With all of our characters, the writers have been so great at shining the spotlight on their fairytale land backstories. You get to see more vulnerable sides to the Queen coming up – how she became evil. And yes, there's an episode being written right now which reveals certain things that fans will just love because it answers a lot of questions that have been posed all season long.
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC