‘Once Upon A Time’ Q&A: Victoria Smurfit Previews Cruella’s Origin Story

Victoria Smurfit as Cruella de Vil in ‘Once Upon a Time’ (ABC)

She’s had to sit back and watch while Ursula got a happy ending, but this week, it’s Cruella de Vil’s time to make her big move toward happiness on “Once Upon a Time.”

Victoria Smurfit’s glamourous bad gal is kidnapping young Henry in an effort to get Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) to do her evil bidding.

“Cruella, in this episode, does not mess around,” Victoria told Access Hollywood. “So as far as she’s concerned, it’s her time and she’s taking it. And she’s gonna run with it. There’s no more of this hanging back… She’s off. She’s off on her own agenda.”

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Sunday night’s episode, “Sympathy for the De Vil,” will also flashback to 1920s England for the long awaited Cruella origin story, and Victoria previewed some of the wickedly wonderful drama on the way.

AccessHollywood.com: Let’s start with a fun one. You are rocking those leather pants on the show, and I’m just wondering why you think every man in Storybrooke isn’t swooning over Cruella?
Victoria Smurfit:
(Laughs) I think Cruella looks like the most intimidating, high maintenance woman. Is there any room in Cruella’s life for a man? I don’t know. … But, the costume department… gave me the most extraordinary clothes. To be able to go from more high street/regular stores to couture furs, it was a great mesh of the two.

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Access: How do you think Cruella actually stays in such good shape?
Running after the dogs, darling! Keeping up with Pongo, probably.

Access: Good answer! Before we get into what’s going to happen in this week’s episode, I just want to know how you think Cruella is feeling about Ursula getting a happy ending and kind of leaving their little evil trio?
I know. I find it terribly sad. I lost Starsky to my Hutch. And for her to have turned on us and sold us down the river – I think once you’ve crossed Cruella, you’re dead to her. I think she’s a sociopath, rather than any other type of evil, so I think she just kind of locks you out of her world. But secretly, she’s probably sitting in a room at times, pulling her hair off and wiping her red lipstick off, shedding a tear for her lost friendship, because they’d obviously been friends beforehand. That was very sad. But you’ll see a whole new relationship between herself and The Author. They have a backstory together and through him, you’ll realize Cruella has had her own agenda the entire time, that the trio — the other two — know nothing about and she’ll finally wield her powers and go to take what she considers rightly hers.

Access: You wouldn’t be a good villain if you weren’t trying to out scheme your fellow villains.
Well, quite. Quite. That’s part of the deal, isn’t it? You can’t let everybody know what’s in your bag.

Access: Or hidden in your fur.
Exactly — other than my Derringer, darling. What’s great in this episode, Adam [Horowitz] and Eddy [Kitsis] brought us back to 1920s England. I got to wear this stunning, stunning flapper dress – it was actually the dress they wore in ‘The Artist.’ And it was really lovely because I got to play two people, because you get to see her before, in nice little 1920s shoes. And for me, characters come from their feet up. … [The costume department] — they were extremely good about it because we’d be knee-deep in mud and I’d still be in my four-inch heels, or my six-inch heels because I can’t play her in UGGS. I just can’t do it (laughs). And then to be able to get into ‘The Artist’ — into that dress — and they give me these ’20s shoes, it just gave Cruella a whole different demeanor. It was lovely.

Victoria Smurfit and Patrick Fischler in ‘Once Upon a Time’ (ABC)

READ: Victoria Smurfit Talks Taking On Cruella De Vil In ‘Once Upon A Time’

Access: And is this where we get to see you in your natural hair? I think there was a snippet of that in the trailer.
Yes! … You’ll find out how her hair came to be, and you’ll find out how her look came about within the storyline.

Access: Am I OK to assume it has nothing to do with her joining some sort of goth society?
(Laughs) No, despite the leather pants, no. Though she probably has a tattoo of Pongo on her back somewhere. But no, it’s not that at all. It’s much more complicated and much more surprising. The whole episode is so surprising, so when you think, ‘Oh, I see where they’re going,’ no, you don’t. You have to keep watching because they’re going to take you left and right and up and down. It was one of the best scripts I’d ever read in my life and I’ve read a lot.

Access: Sean Maguire said something very similar to me last week. He said people think they know what’s going to happen in the Robin storyline, and they were wrong. And I think with Zelena obviously being Marian, everyone was kind of blown away. So is it on par with that, this twist you’re talking about?
Absolutely. Your minds will be blown. … I had an absolute blast with it. They took her somewhere that you really will not expect at all.

Access: Let’s talk about the present day storyline. Why would you kidnap such a nice kid as young Henry?
Darling, you don’t bother kidnapping evil. You have to kidnap the one that’s going to give you some leverage.

Access: What is Cruella’s happy ending? Do you know what it is?
Yes, and you’re going to know Sunday by 9 PM. So yes, I know exactly it is, and exactly what she’s been after and she’s gonna go for it.

Access: Before I let you go, I wanted to ask if you are involved in any of the singing that goes on behind the scenes with people like Sean and Colin? Colin and Sean sing behind the scenes, they’ve said.
Yes, they do. They absolutely do.

Access: Are you involved in any of that? Do you contribute at all?
If I did, stoning would come back into fashion. No, I managed to spend three years at drama school being in musicals, being told, ‘Smurfit, shut up… And, perfect.’ So I genuinely, professionally [am] not allowed to sing. So I wouldn’t do it to them. I like Colin and Sean far too much to sing.

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

Jolie Lash

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