Once Upon A Time Q&A: Colin O’Donoghue On Hook’s Backstory & Sporting A Ponytail

He wasn’t always a one-handed, leather-wearing pirate, and on Sunday night’s “Once Upon a Time,” fans will set sail on a journey into Captain Hook’s past.

Irish actor Colin O’Donoghue, who plays the sexy swashbuckler on ABC’s fairytale drama, said it was fun to see another, more moralistic side of his character — one who sported bangs (or “fringe,” as Colin calls it) and a military jacket.

Some of that strong moral compass that was part of Hook’s earlier life as Killian Jones has started to come back to the character. At the start of the season, Hook took the Charming family (and Regina) to Neverland where they continue to try and rescue Henry from Peter Pan’s clutches. Actions like these have also helped him grow closer to Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) as well, and the two finally share a kiss in this week’s episode.

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On Friday morning, Colin dished on the Hook-Emma kiss, David’s (Josh Dallas) dream shade troubles, and which side of his character he has more in common with. And somehow, talk also turned to grunge rock and flannel.

AccessHollywood.com: We’re getting a kiss between Hook and Emma this week. Is all as it seems in the previews?

Colin O’Donoghue: In what way? If you mean that it’s a kiss, then yeah. It’s all as it seems. The kiss… it’s sort of a spur of the moment thing. … They’ve had a connection for a while — Hook and Emma — but at the end of the day, everybody is in Neverland trying to save Henry, so that’s sort of the most important thing on everybody’s mind. But… they kiss. Who knows where that will go or what will happen.

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Access: Especially with Neal being in Neverland.

Colin: Well, that’s the thing. There’s a history there with Hook and Neal, obviously, that spans hundreds of years and at the moment, Hook and Emma sort of believe that Neal is dead, so it doesn’t come from a place of spite.

Access: In other previews, you’ve got your hair combed forward… you have a blue jacket on… What are we going to get with the younger Hook?

Colin: You get to see a completely different side of Killian Jones. He’s a naval officer and he believes in right and wrong and has sort of a very strict moral code and stuff, so you see a completely different character. It was great to be able to get to play almost two completely different people in the one episode. I think it’ll be an interesting take. I think people will sort of begin to understand a little bit more as to why Hook is the way that he is and maybe in some way feel for him. And definitely, in this episode, a small bit of Killian comes back into Hook, I think.

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Access: Does that mean we’ll see something that will make us realize why he made the turn to the dark side… and started wearing leather?

Colin: He goes shopping for leather pants, that’s what happened. No, you do see something that sort of informs who he is now and I can’t really tell you what that is because then it would ruin the whole episode, but you do see it and why he becomes a pirate and why he is the way he is now — part of it.

Access: But we won’t see shopping though, just to clarify (laughs)?

Colin: We won’t see shopping.

Access: So no gratuitous — you know how they always do those music videos with women trying on clothing in movies?

Colin: Yeah, although thinking about it now, I wish that we had done something like that. It would’ve been nice to be able to try on a few different costumes for a change.

Access: Playing the good guy, was that fun? Do you relate to him more?

Colin: It was definitely fun because you seldom get the chance to play two completely different characters on something. But… I guess I lie somewhere in the middle. He’s a little bit maybe too far sort of moralistic and all that kind of thing, but it was interesting to be able to, in the morning, have all the leather on and the eyeliner and stuff like that [and later], have a completely different costume with a ponytail. So it was fun to be able to do that.

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Access: What did your loved ones think of the ponytail… Did you send a photo home to the folks to see?

Colin: No, no I didn’t. They’ll have to wait to see. I kind like to keep them on their toes.

Access: Have they seen you with a ponytail? I don’t know when you were growing up you sported one?

Colin: No. I never had a ponytail. I had kind of longish hair, not too long though, ‘cause I never had the patience to grow it too long, but I had one of those really long fringes, one of those really long ‘90s fringes.

Access: Like The Stone Roses?

Colin: Yeah (laughs). Split in the middle kind of thing, ‘cause I was a real grunger, so I used to just sit and be mopey in the corner, with my long fringe.

Access: Ah! Grunge. So you were into the Seattle sound, wearing flannel and not washing?

Colin: Yeah and I used to have scuffed Doc Martins and the combat shorts.

Access: Amazing. So this week, you have some more scenes with Josh Dallas. Apparently Hook is going to try and help save David/Charming, who is suffering from his dream shade wound?

Colin: I think Hook has made a conscious effort this season to try and let go of his constant quest for revenge and sort of try and see if there’s something else worth living for and I think, in this episode, you definitely see him make a very conscious effort to sort of be the better person. And obviously, he’s the only other person who knows David has sort of been hit with the arrow and he’s suffering from the dream shade, so he sort of makes a decision to try and help, basically.

Access: Before I let you go, is there anyone you’d like to see guest star on the show and in particular work with you? I know you worked with Anthony Hopkins in a film [‘The Rite’], and I’ve been seeing him do all this pop culture stuff… popping up at ‘American Idol’ (in the audience). So… is there someone you’d like to see come up and do a fun guest spot?

Colin: It would be great if Anthony Hopkins would come on and do something on the show (laughs). Maybe Daniel Day-Lewis would be good one. Maybe he could be Hook’s dad. Who knows?

Access: Or maybe a grunge walker could be convinced to act…

Colin: I tell you what, Eddie Vedder would be great on the show.

Access: Was he your idol when you were in the flannel?

Colin: Still is.

“Once Upon a Time” airs Sunday at 8/7c on ABC.

-- Jolie Lash

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