In ABC’s new Thursday night drama, “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” viewers will follow the journey of a grown-up Alice who heads back down the rabbit hole on a quest to find her love, Cyrus, the genie.
The new adventure comes from the producers of “Once Upon A Time,” but other than a brief nod to the Sunday night series, this show has its own unique collection of tales.
There’s magic, adventure, action and danger, and after ABC flew us up to the Vancouver set where they made us their guests, the actors, during a chat with reporters, helped us get to know their characters a bit better.
Alice (played by Sophie Lowe)
Although we do see her — briefly — as a youngster in the premiere episode, the “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” Alice is all grown up and in love with a genie named Cyrus (Peter Gadiot). She actually isn’t sure he’s still alive, but she’ll be travelling back to Wonderland to find out, where she faces dangers, including ones caused by The Red Queen. But, the two women have some things in common, according to the actress who plays Alice.
“In a lot of ways we’re very similar, which… I think will be revealed and be a surprise,” Sophie told reporters. “But… she’s so evil and Alice is so nice. … I think The Red Queen is very jealous of Alice and wants what she’s got. … Why can’t they just get along? I’m sure they’d be great friends.”
The Knave Of Hearts (played by Michael Socha)
Michael Socha’s character, The Knave of Hearts, enters the drama in a leather jacket and jeans, and quickly emerges as Alice’s friend and companion in her journey to find Cyrus. While he’s loyal and clearly cares for Alice, others find him less charming, something Michael, an alumnus of BBC America’s “Being Human,” explained a little more about.
“He ruined his relationships in Wonderland because he spent a long time there with his love, and he just [caused trouble for] everybody and he decided to live on his own,” Michael said in Vancouver. “He doesn’t trust anybody, doesn’t need anybody, doesn’t want anybody, and Alice comes back into his life and that’s his only care I suppose.”
The Red Queen (played by Emma Rigby)
With her elegant hairstyles, high collars and hourglass-shaped dresses, The Red Queen is stunning, but her behavior is startling. She pulls some nasty moves in the show’s season premiere (look out Alice and Cyrus), and her relationship with Jafar is explored.
“The Red Queen is the ruler of Wonderland … For her, [Alice is] an annoyance. It’s kind of, ‘Oof! She’s in my way. This girl’s in my way.’ So, The Red Queen’s main relationship more is to do with Jafar, and we see they have this partnership,” Emma said. “They’re very codependent on each other. But also they’re… afraid maybe, of one another, or The Red Queen’s afraid of him, because she needs him to get what she wants… but at this point in time she can’t overstep the mark with him.”
Cyrus, The Genie (played by Peter Gadiot)
Handsome and charming, Cyrus is the genie in a bottle who fell in love with human girl Alice after their paths crossed. But, the couple has been separated, and he faces great dangers, Peter said.
“I can say this, Cyrus does not have it easy. … He gets a tough time of it because… obviously, he’s got two adversaries in The Red Queen and Jafar, who have lots of magical powers and lots of abilities to do things and every genie has a flaw and they know the flaws and so they exploit it. So he suffers a lot, but ultimately, I think there is hope and we have to hope and believe that Alice and Cyrus will be united and they’ll live happily ever after. It’s a fairytale after all,” Peter said.
Jafar (played by Naveen Andrews)
Jafar is a villain who will seemingly stop at nothing to get what he wants, and according to Naveen, who Access spoke to on Wednesday, what he wants is power.
“Like a lot of people in society, as we see it today, without, you know, trying to be too profound, most people are driven by power and acquisition of power, it seems. … That’s kind of ageless. It’s timeless, but it seems that almost from the beginning of time, people have been fascinated by exerting power, holding on to it and what it does to the people around them,” Naveen said. “People have been fascinated with it and Jafar is obviously one more of those beings, if you like.”
“Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” premieres Thursday at 8/7c on ABC.
-- Jolie Lash