Once Upon a Time: Lana Parrilla on Regina's Evil 'Escape' Plan, the Scene That Touched Her Deeply and a Finale That Unites Light and Dark

LANA PARRILLA, BARBARA HERSHEY TVLINE | Do you have a favorite moment from Season 2? You and Barbara Hershey sold the hell out of the brief moment when Regina and Cora looked at each other with such love.
Yeah, some of my favorite moments are with Barbara. In that episode where she dies… at one point, Cora and Regina go flying over the counter and the glass breaks and we end up on the floor…. This was Barbra’s last episode and there were a lot of emotions around it, one being that she is extremely loved and we were going to miss her. I adore her and I miss her still very much, and she had the same feelings. [Once] became a home for her, and she knew that she was going to miss everyone. So after the stunt girls throw themselves over the counter and we pick up with me and Barbara lying on the floor, at one moment she just put her hand on my foot, around my ankle, and said, “I really love you, Lana. I really, really love you.”

TVLINE | Oh my gosh….
It was just like…I could tell it came from a place of a “mother” to her “daughter.” I give Barbara credit for that, because it shows how committed she is to her work and her character. I am very much the same; I think she and I share a very similar instrument, we have the same approach to how we work and I felt like I really had a partner there, and I loved that. And then she said, “Look on the floor….” There was a book that was opened and inside it said, This Is for Love. These are signs and symbols that come to us when we’re working that so many overlook or miss because they’re not in the moment or they just don’t work in that way or they’re not in touch in that way. But I always look for these little signs and symbols that I think are very magical. It was a huge validation and a confirmation that we couldn’t have been paired up better.OnceUponaTime_ReginaMMheart

That was honestly one of my favorite, most touching moments this season. Another one was the scene with Mary Margaret — Ginny [Goodwin] and myself at the doorstep when Regina rips her heart out. That scene overall I think is extremely powerful on so many levels. I think it was a moment that everyone had been waiting for, and I loved that Regina chose not to kill her.

Then there’s another one coming up which I’m really excited about, in this Sunday’s episode, with Rumpelstiltskin. It’s comedy. Robert [Carlyle] and I have so much fun working together and there’s one scene where it’s just… he looked at me and was like, “I could do this all day!” And I was like, “I could do this forever.” The scene was a ton of fun. I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but I can tell you, in the moment, you had two theatrical actors on a green stage just eating it up, feeling like we were back in the theater again. Those are the moments that we just love. So, those are my three favorite moments.

RELATED | May Sweeps/Season Finale Scoopapalooza: More Than 100 Spoilers on Once Upon a Time and Many Other Series’ Endgames

TVLINE | How would you tease the season finale? What sort of emotions will fans go through in the final moments?
This is always hard… I’m not very good at teasing finales. I think people are going to be very surprised to see the two sides come together and work together for the greater good, light and dark coming together and having to make a decision that is best for everyone included. We’re always separating, it’s always light against dark and dark against light, you know. Good against evil or evil against good. So it’s a very sobering moment in the finale where the audience is going to be very surprised to see some characters have to come together, to work together, to save one another.

Want more scoop on Once Upon a Time, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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  1. Lorna says:

    Yeah she betrays hook and screws him over to leave him to fight maleficent in dragon form.

  2. sara says:

    Lana gives such great insights and character analyses.

  3. sara says:

    Also, we were promised crying! Where is the crying!

  4. lyn says:

    The stunt “girls”? How dismissive and arrogant is that? Stunt women or stunt ladies would have been far more PC.

    • sara says:


    • zacqua10 says:

      Seriously? Your offended by that? You are a perfect example of what is wrong in this world.

      • -G says:

        totally agree – those obsessed with picking on everything pc are messed up. I’d love to be a stunt girl.

    • KJ says:

      If that’s all you got from this article, then that’s really kind of sad. Not every woman has a pc stick up their backside. Why don’t you find out if these stunt ‘girls’ were offended by the comment before complaining? Personally I’d be flattered to be called a ‘girl’. At any rate, I think it’s plain that you don’t care for Regina OR Lana (who from what I see, is about the least arrogant member of the cast) so you jump at the first tiny thing you can find to insult her so whatever.

      • ARegal says:

        Totally Agree! She is a Beautifull person and we see that everyday.! You can’t just search for that little thing that looks wrong in a sentence!

    • Robin says:

      She probably refers to them as “girls” because she considers them work friends. Nothing derogatory about that at all.

  5. Len1 says:

    Lana plays EQ so well, credit given to her as i do like Regina, but i cant overlook the things she has done which is the right thing IMO.
    Glad Hook is back! Hook is so meant to fail in his quest to get vengeance and always side with the bad side, its like he isnt meant to be there or meant to be a villian – its his struggle, he will emerge a fighter we know he is when he gets himself on the right side who fights with courage and strength. If Hook is fighting Maleficent in dragon form, i cant wait to see it… its like a parrallel with Charming and Emma.

    • Shawn says:

      Being inept or dumb doesn’t actually make you a good guy. Hook is a fun character and Colin is quite handsome but Hook isn’t some misunderstood dude who wants to be a nice fellow and is self-sabotaging himself. He’s mostly still a selfish self-serving manchild. Which by the way is completely fine for this show.

      • ej says:

        Exactly. Hook’s like Spike on Buffy (before the soul crap). (And to quote Buffy for all of those CaptainSwan shippers, he’s “beneath” Emma, so other than Emma engaging in a self-destructive fling with Hook which involves her beating the sh*t out of him at some point, I just don’t see it.) Hook provides the campy comic relief with his wishy-washy allegances that never quite work out in his favor and end up getting his butt kicked. He’s always making deals with the wrong people and over-estimating his big-bad-ness, which is what makes it fun to groan at Hook’s ineptitude. (His sexual inuendo is really just lame, though.)

        Of course, Adam and Eddy insist that all evil is made, so at one time he wasn’t a total douchbag and maybe one day in the distant future (like season 6?) Hook can take a step back from the self-serving side, but I’d prefer it if he did so in a literal self-sacrificing way, because the show has enough of the so-far-not-that-well-written redemption struggle with Regina and Rumple and it would just get annoying if all of the bad guys suddenly turned into good guys. That Thanksgiving table setting is going to be effed up enough without an invite for Neal’s pseudo-step-daddy who’s also hit on both his baby mama and her mama (Hook and his MILF fettish – he IS such a manchild!). Hopefully, the 2-part finale will provide more insight into Hook’s backstory so it will be easier to form an opinion on his character and have either some sympathy for his self-sabotaging patheticness or actually root for him in some way, good or evil.

        As for Regina, I had a hard time caring about her character’s story after the redemption plot going severly sub-plotted to off-screen by the too many guest stars and their storylines. Maybe the finale and Season 3 will change that. Hopefully, Season the finale will kick-off Season 3 with a return to what made Season 1 so great, but re-hashing the start-of-this-season trip to another world for family bonding doesn’t give me a lot of hope for that. And Regina worked with Emma to save Henry in the last season finale and look how that’s turned out? I can’t see them ever becoming BFFs, and the show would suck if they did. It’s sad that Regina has continually screwed up her chances to be in Henry’s life, but at some point the sanctimonious Charming clan has to stop giving her do-overs. I feel most sorry for Henry, as annoying as his character has been this season. There’s nothing worse than loving someone who’s going to continually disappoint you, and that’s what Regina seems to be for Henry. Did Regina ever love Henry? Maybe, but it was never an unconditional love, so I am sick of Lana arguing for how redeming her character’s love for Henry is and the fans who think the show is anti-adoption because Henry got taken away from the sociopath who was gas-lighting him, destroyed the one place in town he felt safe, tried to frame his gran for murder, tried to put the kibosh on his birth mom, and numerous other criminal things all in the name of her love for him. Sure, there are parents who love thier kids the way Regina loves Henry. That’s what Child Services is for.

        • LadyT says:

          your “man-child”/ MILF analysis makes a good argument for the case that He(Killian/Hook) may actually be Peter Pan…seeing that the lost boys had no mothers, wanted mothers, & Wendy was considered a “substitute” mother figure…hmm

          just something I thought about reading your comment!

  6. Queen of Hearts says:

    Aw the Lana and Barbara stuff. I still miss seeing Barbara in the show and reading this makes it even worse! They really had something special onscreen and it’s stupid that Cora was killed off so early. Big mistake there, OUAT!

  7. Jess says:

    I really hope that they make Swan Queen canon, and that’s how light and dark come together. It’d be freaking great.

    • zacqua10 says:

      I hope you are joking. Swan Queen is one of the most stupid shipping groups ever. It’s never going to happen. There was never a hint of attraction. It wouldn’t benefit the story. Everyone who ships Swan Queen are annoying.

      I’m done.

      • sara says:

        Sit down.

      • blue says:

        Could you be a little more arrogant or hateful?

      • me says:

        IS annoying. If you’re going to be a homophobic ass at least use correct grammar. Idiot.

        • Mary says:

          Where’d you get that they are homophobic? Just because they aren’t SwanQueen fans? You can support gay rights and still not be a fan of SwanQueen.

        • Dean says:

          Here come the annoying fans who claim anyone who doesn’t ship Swan Quuen is homophobic.

          • eve says:

            There’s a huge difference between not shipping SQ and calling SQ shippers “most stupid shipping groups ever” and “annoying”, don’t you think?

        • Yeah, they didn’t say that they found it disgusting or anything like homophobia. Merely that they found it annoying and implausible. Which I happen to agree with. I am a big equal rights activist and I enjoy well done loves stories no matter what the gender of the principles are but there isn’t a single spark of attraction between Regina and Emma and it would utterly destroy the main construction of the show. It isn’t going to happen and people who ship it are deluding themselves.

          • sara says:

            Why would it destroy the main construction of the show?

          • eve says:

            Yes, I’m also curious – how would it destroy the main construction of the show?
            They have also said that SQ shippers are “most stupid shipping group ever”. You might not like the ship but there’s no reason to offend the whole fandom. That’s hateful. And disgusting. Everybody has the right to ship whoever he/she wants. If you don’t like – don’t ship it. But don’t offend the people who do it.

          • Personally I am a nondiscriminatory hater. I hate all shippers. I think people who pressure writers to alter the course of a story based solely on a romantic relationship outside of soap operas are incredibly annoying and they all infuriate me. I like to see how a story progresses not just any single relationship. Once Upon a Time is entirely about the nature of good and evil and how it is created and the progression of the human soul. If they tried to redeem Regina by having her and Emma get together it would instantly downgrade the show from an intellectual look at a human progression cloaked in fantasy to another crappy evening soap.

        • Another Guest says:

          TVline please flag this “Comment by me”, I see frakkin curse in it.

      • Mike says:

        They are no more annoying than all the other ships.

      • Rocio Rojas says:

        Hater to the left…

      • Louise says:

        Take a deep breath, calming breath. And maybe try getting your opinion across without insulting others, next time.

        • zacqua10 says:

          I was never personally attacking an individual. I was just stating how stupid Swan Queen is.

          • eve says:

            No, dear. You were just stating how stupid are PEOPLE who ship them. And that was rude. You don’t like SQ? Don’t ship SQ. But don’t offend people who do.

      • GuyAwks says:

        This. Swan Queen is ridiculous- Regina is murderous sociopath who has spent decades trying to murder Emma’s mother and Emma herself. There is nothing “sweet” about that. That and it’s been made fairly clear both characters are straight.

        • eve says:

          Seriously? She has spent decades trying to murder Emma? And still no positive effect? She’s a terrible murderer, really. LOL.
          But: even if she is sociopath it doesn’t make SQ impossible. Just a reminder: Rumple is murderous sociopath and abused Belle in many ways but still people are rooting for them to be together.
          Whatsmore: being in relationship with a man doesn’t make woman straight. There are bisexual people in the worls, have you heard about them?
          So you have to look for better arguments against SQ.
          BTW, I’m not saying that SQ is a must. I’m just saying that your arguments against it make no sense when we look both at canon ships and reality.

        • Louise says:

          When, oh when will people finally understand that as soon as the curse was cast Regina had absolutely no interest whatsoever in killing Emma since the saviour’s death would automatically break the damn curse? Gold and Regina clearly said so already back in season 1. Doesn’t make all the other creative ways Regina tried to deal with Emma (sleeping curse, etc.) any less unpleasant and clearly not sweet, but the argument that she wanted to kill Emma always annoys me a little because it’s so obviously against the logic of the show.

  8. How can he fight Maleficent when Emma already defeated Maleficent in Season 1?
    I’m going crazy….How is it possible to Maleficent have survived that?
    Something is wrong…

  9. J Mitchell says:

    I think the coming together of light and dark means that Regina, Hook and the Storybrooke residents will work together to get rid of Greg & Tamara–by sending them to another land through a portal!

  10. Brandy says:

    I do hope that Regina and Emma could unite to stop Tamara. That would be cool both of them for the same thing.

  11. SAM says:

    “We’re seeing how she becomes more self-aware and learns how to take responsibility for things.”

    Huh???? Maybe in Lana Parilla’s mind but not in her performance. Regina has taken responsibility for nothing and has not shown the least bit of self-awareness except to show that she was bored after being in Storybrooke for a week.

    • sara says:

      She’s talking about an episode that hasn’t aired, so…

      • Dean says:

        In the sneak peeks she says everyone else made her the Evil Queen. She’s not self aware.

        • Shawn says:

          Yes, by all means we should always judge the full episode and what might occur within it by 2 minutes of a sneak peak. Sound idea.

          • Dean says:

            Not judging full episode, just Regina. She said the same thing to Snow in episode 15. That they made her evil when that added Evil to her name. Delusions. She can’t take responsibility for her actions.

          • sara says:

            @Dean So then how does the episode end in regards to Regina’s thought process, since you know and all?

      • SAM says:

        Ms. Parilla said “We’re seeing…”, which connotes a progression. There has been no progression in her character’s development.

        • sara says:

          *sigh* Actually, use of the present continuous doesn’t imply that at all. To imply what you want, it would need to be present perfect, “we have seen”

          • SAM says:

            OK – you’re right. It is about the present.

            At this moment, Regina’s character is not progressing. If anything, she has regressed since the end of last season when she cooperated with Emma to save Henry’s life. Yes, we don’t know what happens in an upcoming episode, but based upon the past, no precedent has been established to believe that there will be a dramatic shift in this character to develop any insight into herself or to accept responsibility for her actions. If there is suddenly an epiphany, it probably would not be believable because of the writers’ ham-fisted handling of the character. Ms. Parilla acknowledged that the character believes that she can do no wrong in her own eyes.

      • Cass says:

        She says that Evil Queen Regina is not as self-aware as Regina is. IS. Present, not future tense. And it is really hard to imagine someone being LESS self-aware than SB Regina.

        • sara says:

          …I guess except the evul queen. Or, like, Charming.

          • Cass says:

            Even Charming had his moment in “We Are Both” where he acknowledged what a jerk he was as David and that the jerkiness was something that still existed in him. I’ve yet to see even a moment of self-awareness from Regina in either FTL or SB.

        • Louise says:

          Oh, I could come up with a number of characters who fit the bill.

    • eve says:

      But of course she did. Have you forgotten first ten or eleven episodes of S2? When she realizes she’s just like her mother? When she decides she doesn’t wasn’t to be like that anymore and wants to redeem herself? When she helps Charming and Henry to get Emma and Snow from FTL? When she saves their lives? That wasn’t just one episode but actually half of the season. Haven’t you watched it?

      • Darrin says:

        I think Snow fills the bill quite nicely. Self-aware people don’t pretend to have the moral high ground when their actions have proved they’re no better than the people they’re passing judgment on. MM and ‘David’ were having an affair and Snow tricked Regina into killing her own mother, so imo ‘pure of heart’ is a bit of a stretch for her in either incarnation. Or are you still considered ‘pure and good’ if you only have one affair and only commit one murder? If so, someone better get the prison doors open: there are a whole lot of people who oughtn’t to be in there. I don’t mean to be rude, but I liked Snow a lot better before she enrolled in Hypocrisy High. And if we’re going with future plots, I’d love to see Daniel resurrected, Regina reformed, and Snow White give Rumplestiltskin a lesson in how to do evil right.(g)
        JIP has anyone figured out whose heart Daniel was reanimated with? Rumplestiltskin gave Daniel’s heart to Frankenstein, who put it in his brother. Did I miss the bit where Rumple got it back from Doctor Victor?

  12. ollie says:

    I also think they will come together to rid themselves of greg and tamara and not soon enough. uhh they really need to stop bringing so many new characters on.

    • Agreed. There was way too much auxilliary story telling this season. If they are going to bring in extra characters they need to introduce them to the main plot with the main characters for a while first so that we care about them and THEN maybe branch them off into their own side arcs. It was kind of all over the place this season. Although I will say that I get the feeling that all of the tangental stories will eventually come to impact the main plot of the series if you introduce them that way it just feels awkward and pointless because you have to wait a year to see why it matters.

  13. Dean says:

    The writing for Regina has been terrible this season. She was much more enjoyable in season 1. Now she’s an annoying, delusional idiot.

    • SAM says:

      Agreed! I used to love watching her last season but now I just want her to go far, far away and never return to the show because the character is so whiny and immature.

      • Psychology101 says:

        She’s not whiny or inmature, she’s the result of serious abuse so she doesn’t react like people who had healthy childhoods/lives would.

    • sara says:

      Her writing has been terrible. Which is why it’s so sad that she’s the only bearable character on the show

      • Cass says:

        To me, the only character LESS bearable than Regina is Hook. Even Growen has a better motivation for his actions (so far) and Tamara may yet prove to be the first attack of some shadowy supervillainous cabal.

        • sara says:

          At this point they’ve destroyed pretty much every character for me. Charming and Snow are quite possibly the worst characters I’ve ever had to watch (quite the transition from Season 1), Emma doesn’t exist anymore, Ruby has been sidelined, Rumple has reverted back to his abusive self and it’s really hard to watch outright abuse be portrayed as some sort of romance.

        • Jess says:

          I agree. Regina and Hook are the only UNbearable characters to me. I hope the writing for them is better in season 3.

  14. Mari says:

    Thanks for the great interview, Matt. Always love to read Lana’s thoughts on the show and her character. You can tell she puts so much work into Regina and making her such a great, complex character.
    I loved reading about her connection with Barbara Hershey. I miss her on the show too and I wish they had not killed Cora of so soon. She was a fantastic villain, but had great potential in her more vulnerable moments too. And of course Barbara Hershey is a brilliant actress and watching her and Lana bring the difficult mother-daughter relationship to live was a joy. They had amazing chemistry and really sold me on their characters’ story even if the writing sometimes let them down.
    I’m looking forward to Sunday’s episode and to the rest of the season and what it holds in store for Regina. I don’t want a quick redemption for her, but I want her to work towards finding a little happiness of her own again. This season has been so dark for her with Daniel dying (AGAIN :( ) and her mother manipulating her and when it seems like they could finally get a chance to maybe start over again Cora died too…
    I also hope there will be more Regina and Emma scenes again in the future. I miss their dynamic. It was so strong in season 1 and in season 2 it almost disappeared completely. This is one of the disappointments of this season for me.

  15. meme says:

    Love this interview, Lana is the only one who knows her character. She’s brilliant.

  16. ihr says:

    Great interview. Lana has such a good insight into her Character.
    My hope is that once Regina hit rock bottom, the only way is up.

  17. Kathy says:

    Thanks Matt for such a great interview – I love reading Lana’s comments and insights into both the Evil Queen character as well as the Regina character. Lana is such a tremendous actress. She is literally the reason why I watch Once Upon a Time.

  18. Lexie says:

    Regina’s my favorite character on the show! I just love to hate her! These days I don’t hate her so much as I’m frustrated with her choices. Poor thing is just lost… Lana’s awesome!

  19. Madi says:

    Great interview! Lana seems like such an amazing woman and she definitely is a wonderful actress. I can’t wait to see the final three episodes of this season. They better be good.

  20. nancy says:

    I really hope that this finale turns out to be as good as how its been promoted so far. I feel that this season the show has lost a bit of the spark it had last year.
    Regina is by far my favorite character. The Evil Queen and Hook are what keep me watching. So excited that they will be working together!! Then again they are the villains so there might be some backstabbing and scheming.
    Loved the interview. Lana’s the best! That moment between her and Barbara was really sweet too.

  21. sofia says:

    Let me guess, when everyone has to come together to rescue Henry from Greg and Tamara and subsequently kill them or beat them or make them go away forever? I’m really curious to see these scenes. Looking forward to the season finale. :)
    Lana is always so fun and humble, she is my favorite actress from the cast. I love that her favorite scenes of season two are the same as mine, of those I’ve watched so far of course. It’s a great interview you’ve got here Matt. :)

  22. Nathy says:

    Thank you, great interview. I love Lana and Regina is my favorite character

  23. Aly says:

    Thanks for the awesome interview, Matt! I always love reading what Lana has to say. Looking forward to the new ep on Sunday.

  24. Lxkerrigan says:

    Thanks for this and I Love it…^_^…loved the snow and regina scene as well…Lana and Ginnifer has marked my couch potato life with that :)…that’s a different side of “evil” that is sooo refreshing to see :P…I always tend to forget that Regina is one of the antagonist of the story because we get to see her soft side…Rumple has that too but he gets a lot of action and (he has yet to reveal what he has in store for Henry) and yes Rumple has redeemed that title, (with cleaning his hands of Cora’s death and with a little encouragement called “Lacey”). This redemption thing is good to watch but was more heartbreaking…and so confusing…its about time we are reminded that Regina is also “the” antagonist (hmmm with little encouragement called “HOOK”???? :P- i was kidding)….This show needs a boost and the new “villains” are not helping…I am not yet buying Greg and Tamara…they are not that convincing for me (i guess for now) and I hope it stops or at least they do something as scary as when Cora called in the “walking dead”…

  25. LadyT says:

    She wants to take Capt. Hook back?….hmmm…for a sex slave a la Graham perhaps?
    Interesting she would choose him. But, then again he’s about the only one who doesn’t have any particular negative feelings toward her.

    Yet, her being attracted to him would be interesting with him being attracted to Emma!