“Once Upon A Time” returns this Sunday at 8/7c on ABC and the Season 3 premiere packs a colorful punch.
Leaving Storybrooke behind on a quest to find Henry puts the gang — Emma Swan, Snow White, Prince Charming, The Evil Queen, and that rascal Hook — in bigger and even darker situations, and it’s all tinged with a boost of delicious humor.
“There’s something heightened about everything — including the comedy — and it was nice to find that again,” Ginnifer Goodwin, our Snow on the show, told Access Hollywood on Wednesday.
But, while there are laughs, heading to Neverland brings infinite new dangers. There’s new characters on the way with more Lost Boys, and our first glimpse at the “Once” version of a mermaid, which isn’t as cuddly as say, Daryl Hannah in “Splash.” There’s trouble within their own ranks too with Hook and Regina on board, and Ginnifer hinted at it all, as well as her new, warmer look after getting stuck with a tiny fuchsia sweater last season.
AccessHollywood.com: Everyone’s on Hook’s ship and of course, Regina and Snow do not get along. So what can you hint at about what’s to come?
Ginnifer Goodwin: We talked about the fact, I mean Lana [Parrilla] and I did, excessively, about the fact that these two characters, while there are layers of hate, there is a nugget of love under all of it because the truth is, past the poison apple episode, our poison apple period, the truth is, the Evil Queen could have killed Snow White by this point. She’s had numerous opportunities and she hasn’t. So one has to assume that ultimately, there is a love there that she cannot face nor overcome and therefore, while there is so much anger, there is something that keeps them each safe. When you’re ultimately safe — ‘cause we also know that Snow White will infinitely forgive the Evil Queen, which I personally find exceptionally annoying, but it’s the truth, but when you’re safe, you can really go at it. You can fight with your mom and you know that you’re both gonna be there for each other at the end of the day, so these characters are going to have a safe place to really let each other have it.
Access: We get our first glimpse at a mermaid in this episode. What can you hint at about what mermaids are like in your version in ‘Once Upon A Time,’ versus what people may think of mermaids in general from Disney products?
Ginnifer: Yes, this is not the Disney-fied version. We know that Peter Pan is a villain of whom even Rumplestiltskin is scared, so we know that his land, Neverland, is probably a rather sinister place that brings out rather sinister sides of all kinds of creatures and that may include mermaids. So we will learn very quickly that they’re a bit darker than the way we think of Ariel for instance.
Access: No doubt there will be dangers in Neverland. What can you say about what it is actually like when you get there?
Ginnifer: Well, I’ll say that different villains have different strengths, like they have different ways of being villains. I would say from the outside, and I’m sure that Lana would define this very differently, but like on the outside, as an audience member and as the actress who plays Snow White, I would say that the Evil Queen is rather impulsive and violent and that Rumplestiltskin is a more selfish sort of conniving villain and I would say because there are different strengths to villainy, that our discovering what Pan’s is, will inform not just who Pan is, but what his land is like and what it brings out in everyone.
Access: Snow is watching her own daughter go through the pain of not having her child, with Henry having been kidnapped and taken to Neverland. Will this bring them closer together or farther apart as they try to get him back?
Ginnifer: It’s absolutely going to force them to address the relationship, which is something that Jennifer Morrison and I had been begging to do because we love that last season, our adventures were epic, but we felt like every time we came close to really [analyzing] this dynamic between them… we would be interrupted somehow. But guess what? When you’re trapped on a boat and going to Neverland and there’s only like five of you or six of you, you get to address things. I love where the writers have taken these characters and they’re really going to dive into this dynamic, what’s between them and all the guilt and the abandonment issues and blame and sense of hopelessness and helplessness and we’re really going to get to analyze all of that.
Access: Last year I was on your set and you were joking about the small sweater that you had to wear for the scenes…
Ginnifer: The fuchsia one that I had to wear for nine episodes?
Access: Yes! And how when it got really cold you were freezing your butt off and I’ve noticed you’ve got a coat on this season. Was part of that because of what happened last time around?
Ginnifer: Oh, 100 percent. Not only did I make sure that I took a coat, I made sure, in the finale, that I packed a backpack last season so that if I was desperate to change, I could justify pulling something out of my backpack.
Access: Look at that, you’re making it work!
Ginnifer: Well, the creators got mad at me, I mean, not genuinely mad, but they teased me that I had tricked them and there would be consequences. I said, ‘Na-na-na-na-na! Out of this thing I could pull a hammer, a grilled cheese, I mean anything.’
Access: So Snow and Charming — they’re watching their daughter go through so much pain. Could that bring them closer together because they have to be even more of a solid unit to support Emma?
Ginnifer: It’s a good question and it’s going to be asked because, you know, you’re gonna have the additional obstacle that Neverland does things to people and a question we’re gonna ask this season is not only who are we as these new amalgamated characters, and how do we come together to reach this common goal, which is finding Henry, and not only are we going to have the obstacle that is we are in Neverland and that there are different rules to this universe, but also we’re really going to be addressing when is it OK to compromise your integrity when it is for a greater good, and that’s something that this couple is going to face.
Access: We know Emma had to face her fate in the first season and Rumple has a fate that could come to him in the quest to find Henry.
Access: How worried should we be about Robert Carlyle’s [character’s] future on the show?
Ginnifer: Well, I’ll say that I’m worried. So, there’s that.
Access: Before I let you go, we have a new Robin Hood this season played by British pop star and actor Sean Maguire. Have you gotten to spend time with him?
Ginnifer: I haven’t.
Access: Because you’re stuck on a boat right now?
Ginnifer: I am (laughs).
“Once Upon A Time” returns for its Season 3 premiere on Sunday night at 8/7c on ABC.