Once Upon a Time's Barbara Hershey: Prepare to Learn Why the Evil Queen Hates Snow White

This Sunday on Once Upon a Time (ABC, 8/7c), flashbacks to fairytale land will introduce viewers to the Evil Queen-to-be’s mother, Cora, in a storyline that will at long last reveal why Regina (played by Lana Parrilla) holds such a grim grudge against Snow White.

“I can’t tell you exactly what happens” to connect those dots, says guest star Barbara Hershey. “But [Cora’s relationship with Regina] fits very strongly into it all…. It’s very essential.”

(As Ginnifer Goodwin told me of the seminal conflict, “It’s complication is what’s so beautiful about it. It’s not black-and-white, and it really adds a richness to the relationship between Snow and the queen that we will need in subsequent seasons.”)

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But what exactly is the relationship between Cora and Regina? “It’s conflictual, but based on love — as a lot of mothers are with their daughters,” Hershey says. “She wants Regina to do well and not be poor. She wants her to be rich and happy, to not marry the stable boy (played by Nikita‘s Noah Bean) but instead marry the king (returning guest star Richard Schiff).”

Ah. Yes. Just your “garden variety” parent/child dynamic — save for the fact that Cora “is evil and wields horrendous magic,” Hershey boasts with a laugh.

So, Cora is as evil as the royal sorceresses her daughter is destined to become? Attests Hershey, “She is the Evil Queen’s more evil mother!”

In other words, the poisoned apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Watch this video sneak peek, then read on for more:

Hershey says she didn’t need to be asked twice to bite into such a juicy role on the buzzy ABC series, and she looks forward to reprising Cora for several episodes during Season 2, presuming Once gets a second chance. Hey, she might even pop up in a certain sleepy Maine town.

“Who knows!” hedges the actress. “The great thing about this show is that it’s such a rich gold mine of characters and possibilities that anything could happen. And I think it’d be fun to be in Storybrooke.”

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On, and remember “the Beaches moment” that Lana Parrilla hoped to share with her TV mother (as revealed at PaleyFest)? She got it.

“I didn’t realize it at the time that it was ‘a Beaches moment,'” Hershey says, “but yes, there was a moment [off camera] where the artifice of the mother/daughter thing dropped and we were like two girls!”

Once fans, what is your current working theory on who Regina comes to hate Snow?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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6 Comments
  1. Frivolouswhim says:

    I’m very excited about this. Regina is such a complex character, I can’t wait to find out more about her background. I’m super excited to see Barbara Hershey and Lana Parrilla on screen together, too! :D

    I really really hope Cora pops up in Storybrooke at one point. So much potential there.

  2. Longis says:

    Fabulous casting choice. I can’t wait to see Barbara Hershey in this role and with Lana Parrilla’s Regina. The two actresses should be a great match. Regina’s background is something they do need to explore more and I’m glad we’re getting at least one episode that deals with her life before she became the Evil Queen this season. But I sure hope Barbara Hershey will be back for more next season. It would be fantastic to see Cora in Storybrooke too. This mother/daughter relationship is something I would love to see more of in the future.

  3. Jackson says:

    Lana Parrilla is so awesome. I know it’s wrong but I find myself rooting for her more and more. Long live the evil queen!

  4. Amy says:

    LP looks like a Wicked Sandra Bullock in the above pic! Love LP. Love this show.

  5. Louise Joles says:

    Well, I think we have heard enough to know it’s matters of the heart and probably a tiny Snow throws a wrench in Regina’s plans with Mommie Dearest helping the whole thing along…

  6. fi says:

    I am looking forward to this episode but kinda hoping that this particular reveal is more complex than Snow just ratting out Regina and her love interest. Either way though I would say it will be an enjoyable one.

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