Once Upon a Time: Ginnifer Goodwin Talks Dark Snow vs. Evil Queen, Teases Cruella De Vil's 'Perfect' Introduction

Once Upon a Time SpoilersLove has never, ever come easy for Once Upon a Time‘s Snow White and Prince Charming, whose marriage will again be put to the test this Sunday (ABC, 8/7c) as the Snow Queen’s Spell of Shattered Sight brings out the very worst in everyone — the fairest of them all included.

Here, Ginnifer Goodwin previews the return of “Dark Snow” and her clashes with both David and old-school evil Regina, shares the trick to being “mad” at husband Josh Dallas and teases the introduction of another iconic Disney doyenne.

TVLINE | The Spell of Shattered Sight has just been cast. How would you typify what is going on in Mary Margaret and David’s heads as they let go of each other’s hands? Spell or no spell, what beef could they possibly have?
We know that they both have dark sides that have been addressed in the past, and now that they are seemingly cursed again, that darkness is going to reemerge. It might really be the little things in a relationship, the little annoyances and points of frustration, that are magnified, but those are the very things that can destroy a relationship. Like, how he brushes his teeth can be a “final-straw” thing.

TVLINE | Of course you’re an actor, but when you have to look at Josh in a seething way, is there anything you channel in particular? Like, the time he blew off one of [6-month-old son] Oliver’s middle-of-the-night feedings or something?
[Laughs] To be honest, Josh makes me laugh so much on set that I often have to ask him to, like, step away. When I was in fact looking at him that way, there were takes where I just looked at, frankly, a tape mark that we put on a stand instead of him. And then there were times that I did look at him, but I would crack up after just a couple of seconds. They had very little footage they could use, because he does make me laugh so hard. There isn’t actually anything I can channel from real life, so it becomes a technical thing where I’m, like, tilting my head a certain way and trying to make my eyes do something physically to look angry, because I can’t really be mad at him. But that’s also what’s so fun about “going at each other” — we couldn’t really take ourselves seriously, and somehow that made us actually able to go further.

TVLINE | But based on the promo, it looks like the bigger tussle is between Mary Margaret and Regina (played by Lana Parrilla).LANA PARRILLA, JOSH DALLAS
Oh, yes. It’s really wonderful, because Regina comes back [to the sheriff station] as her full Evil Queen self. But instead of it being that they fall into their old dynamic, it’s more that the Evil Queen battles Dark Snow, from those episodes where Snow White was under dark enchantment. And those two energies together is kind of hilarious. I mean, I kept saying, “I could film this episode every day forever,” because also the dialogue was so meaty. There was just so much to play, because these characters have so much history, and yet so much has changed between them. For her to come back in her Evil Queen regalia is hilarious, because she’s so not that person anymore. And there’s something about being Dark Snow in Storybrooke that we also found very funny, because it’s so not the woman that she has become.

TVLINE | Is it explained why Regina is brandishing a sword instead of just good ol’ fireballs?
Well, Mary Margaret does call her on her B.S. and say, basically, “Of course you’re going to use magic, because you’re afraid to get your hands dirty.” She ribs Regina enough to put down her fireballs and go at it, man-to-man.

TVLINE | Did you give Lana any pointers on swordplay?
I cannot even express the high regard in which we hold our stunt doubles, who do all of the heavy lifting. But I didn’t even think about the fact that Lana has not had experience sword-fighting on our show, so she hasn’t gone through the sword training that the rest of went through the first season. But she very easily picks things up – I mean, Lana’s a pro at everything — so it ended up being seamless. But we did have our stunt doubles in there, a lot, because these women really take out all their frustrations on each other. They beat the s–t out of each other! I think it’s going to be one of my favorite episodes ever. I mean, I could not have had more fun.

TVLINE | I recently wroteOnce_Search_Party about my appreciation for the “quieter” moments on Once Upon a Time, such as when Regina and Mary Margaret had that talk while tracking Emma. And you recently said on set that you relish those moments as well.
They’re my favorite. And I have always written the [series creators] after every episode that’s like that. We had several episodes [this season] in which those heart-to-hearts were cut — and they should have been, because while they were really beautiful scenes, I would see that they were really not right for the momentum of the episode. But they found a wonderful way to mash together all of those conversations that we had missed, in that walking scene. I cherish these scenes, because as an actor of course it is magical to swordfight and horseback ride and fight “curse clouds,” but you really feel like you get in touch with a different creative side of yourself when you have these heart-to-heart scenes, especially when the history between these characters is so complicated.

TVLINE | That said, are you aware that Mary Margaret took some knocks, for basically “endorsing” adultery?
I very wisely, I believe, don’t read my own press, so no, I did not know that. But that was something we actually talked about [while filming] because it was a complicated line for me to say. My character actually was married to David, back when we were cursed the first time, and David wasn’t actually married to anyone else, so the only cheating that actually, OnceUponaTime_MAryMargaret_Davidtechnically occurred was between David and his sick wife [Kathryn]. We must have talked about it for 20 minutes, my making that comment to Regina — “Look, I’ve slept with a married man too” — and we decided that it had to be just a way of my trying to bring her out of her shell, to make her feel safe. It was not to be taken it as literally as it sounded.
     I’m not surprised that we got some s–t for it because good, we should, because these characters are flawed, and they’re real, and they’re, I think, relatable and fleshed out. If we were just the live-action incarnation of the Disney animated features, I wouldn’t watch us. I’d find that terribly boring. Instead, we have this really gray world in which we live.

TVLINE | Before we started recording, you said that you, as a new, first-time mom, were OK with having less to do in this Frozen storyline. But do you know if you’re going to have more to do in Season 4B?
Ohhhhh, yes — and it’s good. And it timed out very well, because I’m just at the point where I’m like, “OK, I’m not losing my mind when I have to leave Oliver with one of his grandparents and go to set for 16 hours.” Like, I can hold it together, where, frankly, even a month ago I couldn’t. I would get really emotional and upset, it was just too much for me. But now I understand that he’s going to be fine and actually benefit from spending time with his grandparents than time on set. And the storyline is really good. I’m really excited about it. I know that I’m not allowed to say what I’m doing, but I can say that it’s worth the wait, for sure!

TVLINE | My only question is: How do you organically bring on Cruella de Vil (played by Dracula‘s Victoria Smurfit)? If only because there’s just the one Dalmatian in town.
It, like everything else on Once Upon a Time, will make sense — to the extent that you’re like, “How was this not incorporated in the animated feature?” She’s a perfect Once family member, absolutely.

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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48 Comments
  1. Bella says:

    I don’t see the issue with the “sleeping with a married man” line at all. Yes, we as the audience knew Mary Margaret is Snow White and David Nolan is Prince Charming and they’re the ones who are married and not David/Charming and Kathryn/Abigail. But the characters didn’t know that.
    So at that time, before the curse got broken, Snow was Mary Margaret and Charming was David because these were the only identities they knew and they didn’t have any memories of them being together in FTL. MM/Snow WAS sleeping with a married man. That was her perspective, her reality back then. It’s not like she knew it’s all totally cool because David is really her husband.
    And I’m sure Snow now, after the curse broke, remembers how she felt back then and the guilt, etc. that came with sleeping David Nolan when she as Mary Margaret knew he was married to Kathryn and by being together behind Kathryn’s back MM and David were committing adultery.
    If they truly are, as season 2 said, both – their FTL selves and their cursed selves – and they didn’t just wipe everything that happened while they were under the curse aside as irrelevant and forget all about it, I don’t find it hard at all to see how Snow, with her memories of her time as MM, would be able to relate a bit to Regina and what she’s going through.

    • Michelle says:

      But there was never any indication during season one that they actually slept together; they just went on a date, kissed, and felt guilty about it.

      And here’s the kicker for me: the fact that Snow/MM was separated from her real husband and had to go through that anguish was entirely Regina’s freaking fault! She designed the curse expressly to ensure Snow’s misery! And there’s the fact that the woman whose husband Regina is sleeping with was willing to DIE (and did die in the original timeline) at Regina’s hands to protect Snow FROM Regina!

      Like I said below, the victim-blaming nonsense with Regina this season is really pushing me away. I need to watch shows that DON’T add to my stress level, haha. :-)

      • Jeri says:

        Yes. Regina did the magical equivalent of drugging someone and having them do things they would not ordinarily do. Then, when she does the same thing–undrugged and of her own free will–the show had her victims use their experience (as her victims) to make her feel safe and exonerate her, because “they did it, too.” What?

        • TQ says:

          Well like someone else said in another comment: Even in FTL Charming was engaged to marry another woman when he fell in love with and started pursuing Snow. Doesn’t matter that there was no love between him and Abigail, it was still an official engagement.
          I’m one of those who don’t see the big deal either. This is a show where murder, torture, lies and deception and manipulation are common occurences. But cheating situations were the characters are honrestly, deeply in love with someone other than their fiance/spouse is what people get all up in arms about? On a show where curses, time travel and the return of people from the dead bring about many of their ‘love triangle’, cheating type of stories? Okay then. Can’t say I can relate to that. But in the case of the last two comments it’s also a Regina vs. Snowing type of thing, I take? That’s something I’ve personally gotten over like three seasons ago so it’s hard for me to relate to that too so maybe I’ll leave you to it, idk. Sorry.

  2. Vari says:

    Ginny is great. Can’t wait to see bad ass Snow.
    I would also like to see Snow and Emma bonding times!!!

    • Daisy says:

      What ireallu want to see is so more of Rumbelle!!!
      They aren’t in the show so often together. Once in a while maybe if I lucky!
      The last episode with both of them together happy was is in the honeymoon which was episode 1!!!
      But I did like episode 6 when Belle was “controlling” him but I don’t like that he didn’t tell her that she had the fake dagger. The longer she has the fake dagger is a lot worst for Rumbelle.I hope that there is an episode where they show Rumbelle toghether happy not under a cures or any other thing that is bad. Speaking of cures I wonder how Rumple is going to get Belle and Henry out of Storubrooke if they both got hit by the cures, and they didn’t get hit then Belle and Henry wouldn’t like to leave town without helping everyone else out of the cures.?
      But come on more Rumbelle scene and/or episodes!!! Hust like how it was in seasons 2 and 3. They were more closer then and they weren’t even married, and now they are married and they don’t even show them that close anymore Rumple is always with Hook or doing something else and Belle is either babysitting or not even in any scenes!!!
      Just please more Rumbeel!!!

  3. Marco says:

    Regina vs Dark Snow? ‘Test your might’! XD

  4. Amy says:

    Thanks for the great interview with Goodwin, I’ve really missed scenes with Snow and Emma. And honestly that’s the only thing I feel is lacking these days, I always loved their onscreen dynamic especially season one. I’m glad she’s gotten some extra time to be a mom though, that’s so much more important and the amount of Emma and Charming scenes have helped make up for it. I’m looking forward to Sunday.

  5. L says:

    I so hope for more Snow*Emma scenes!

  6. Ella says:

    Such a great interview!! Makes me excited for this week’s episode!

  7. Heather says:

    I’m excited to see more kickass Snow. I just wish, like others have said, they would give us more Snow & Emma bonding scenes instead of Snow and Regina all the time. Emma is her daughter!

    • Michelle says:

      Yeah. I find the whole Snow-Regina dynamic to be wildly unbelievable–might Snow forgive Regina? Maybe, because she’s supposed to be impossibly good. But spending all of her free time with the woman who murdered her father, stole her throne, ruined her life and her daughter’s instead of with that daughter? The victim-blaming on this show has gotten really bad lately.

      • John NYC says:

        OTOH facing Emma has to bring on the severe guilts about Snow, through dire necessity but still, having abandoned her to grow up without her parents: and suffer a lot as a consequence. Snow facing that with her daughter is going to be difficult and people, even good ones, avoid the “difficult” at times.

        • Michelle says:

          Fair enough, but I’d think that’s all the more reason not to worry more about Regina than Emma when the former is the one who cast the curse and would’ve murdered newborn Emma if she hadn’t been sent through the wardrobe!

          Honestly, Regina’s hypocritical whining and having all of her victims coddle her (when she literally regrets NONE of her horrendous actions) is making me want to quit watching despite loving almost everything else. It’s just ridiculous.

          • Wow says:

            Ok, but she’s not the only one. At least she answered for some of her crimes. Did Rumple? He created the curse and walked away with clean hands. Rumple is 10x worse than Regina and yet he just gets away with it. Still one of my favourite characters though.

          • Mac says:

            I can buy Snow forgiving Regina and showing her kindness because that’s what Snow’s ALWAYS done. For years when Regina was targeting Snow in FTL, Snow tried to forgive her and bring out the goodness she saw in her. Why? Because Snow remembers who Regina was BEFORE she became the Evil Queen.

            .

            Snow has always seen Regina as more than just evil. She’s always remembered the woman who saved her when she was a child. So now that Regina has actually given up her EQ persona and spent the last few years working with the good guys and trying to do the right thing, of COURSE Snow would be one of her main supporters. All she wanted for years was to see that Regina again and now she finally has.

            .

            That doesn’t mean she’s forgotten all the horrible things Regina has done to her over the years or that she doesn’t still hold some anger toward Regina for destroying her life, but she’s forgiven her and supported her because Regina is finally discovering her good side again.

  8. David Angle says:

    I am VERY excited for Cruella De Vil! I was actually hoping a tease to her actual introduction. I hope she remains a sort of regular. It be horrible to get rid of such a nutty character. Whoever does her outfit and makeup deserve recognition of all kinds. Plus that car is insanely awesome!

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      She gave me a bit more on Cruella that I edited out; we have a long 11-week hiatus to get through, gang.

    • Lisa Benwitz says:

      She is “classic Disney’s” most evil villain, in my mind, because she has no magic, and she tortured innocent animals. Why in the world would they bring this character to Storybrooke? I cannot IMAGINE what she could possibly have to offer. If you’re going to bring a cruel, non-magical human on as a villain, I’d rather see Gaston, who at least would provide some comic relief.

      • David Angle says:

        Gurl. Would you like some cheese with that WHINE? Cruella is perfect for this show. She is absolutely crazy and evil. Most of all, she is PROUD of that. But. Has it ever occurred to you that just maybe they’ll twist her in their own hands like they did to Pan, Zelena, and more? Have the writers disappointed you yet (excluding the Frozen takeover)? No? Okay. Just relax. The writers know what they’re doing.

  9. David Angle says:

    However I do wish the creators would provide more quieter chill moments of dialogue with the cast. With Frozen there’s been SOOOOO little of that. It usually gets deleted for some silly action scene in the past that could have been removed all together. Like I love when Ginny and Lana get to talk one on one.

  10. James23 says:

    I’ve said this before but here’s my take on the Robin/Regina thing:
    Could you call it adultery? Yes and no. Don’t forget that Marian was dead just yesterday part of his vow was broken. Death did them part. Robin spent years attempting to forget Marian and restore his life. He moved on and finally found someone else. Not only did he meet a new woman, but he found his true love which was something he never had and is rare. He found his soulmate and was finally complete as a person. How many people can truly say they encountered their soulmate? All of a sudden after moving on and finding true love his wife, who he finally accepted as dead, is returned. He is then forced to break the bond that he had with his true love/soulmate, and attempt to continue something that he moved on from years ago. Mind you he will always love his wife because she is his first love, but he found something better. Robin wants to be the man that Marian married but he can’t. He loves Regina too much and as much as he is hurting so is Regina. One of the key lines was that he is willing to ruin his life for her. Robin is willing to lose everything as long as he has Regina. Yes, it’s sort of selfish but he no longer wants to deny how he feels. He wants to be honest and the truth is that he loves Regina. It’s also unfair because Marian is frozen so it’s not like he can actually tell her how he feels. Anyway end of rant.

  11. Michelle says:

    Yes, more Snow and Emma scenes! And I would give some good money for a Killian/Snow bonding scene!

    • Christina says:

      I second that, on Killian-Snow scenes. They’ve almost had zero interaction since after Hook’s car accident recovery/Anton the Giant/Dwarf in Storybrooke. I’d look forward to that! :)

    • Vari says:

      I agree a nice Snow and Hook scene would be nice. This man has stood by Emma l, loves her unconditionally and comes back to her always. You know Snow that saying you say happy endings start with hope and when you love then you find them… well here it is Emma/Hook.
      But I have to say Snow was endearing when Emma went on her first date and so giddy lol

  12. Jennifer says:

    The rivalries are going to get quite interesting

  13. Lex says:

    Something really wonderful happens when Lana and Ginny share the screen. I could watch them for days. That relationship between Snow and Regina is so complex and wonderful and it all shines through when Lana & Ginny share scenes. Something amazing clicks and I love it.

    I wish Emma would actually start to deal with her life and what has happened over the last few years. While Jen has been amazing throughout this Frozen arc, I’d like to see Emma actually breathe and deal with herself and what her life has become.

    Thanks Matt!

    • Vari says:

      She is doing that with self acceptance and having home, family and love (Hook)
      Emma’s issues are healing which is great and accepting herself and love…

  14. She said that the only adultry was when David was with Kathryn but that is wrong. She slept with Dr Whale. That was adultry as well, if she thinks that David was commiting adultry with Kathryn. People keep forgetting that. I think she needs to apoligize to David, not for Dr Whale but how he found out. It was brutal. She could say, okay you have let that go as I have let Kathryn but I now realize that I should have been more considerate about how you found out. That has always bugged me.

    • Nick says:

      That’s right I did forget about that! Hmm interesting point. Thinking back on it, I feel like OUAT had a much darker vibe going for it during its first season then it does now. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like they’ve replaced the real world darkness and evil tone with more of a cartoony “take over the world” type of evil.

  15. Lisa Benwitz says:

    “It, like everything else on Once Upon a Time, will make sense “? Oh, Ginnifer… I know you aren’t allowed to badmouth your own show, but REALLY???

    • Jason says:

      Get over yourself. It’s just Cruella De Vil. Who everyone is excited for. Don’t act like you know this is a bad idea when I don’t see your ass in the writers room creating the character or doing anything honorable for the show BESIDES bad mouthing Ginnifer Goodwin and a new unique additional character to the show.

  16. pam says:

    This should be hilarious!

  17. Natalie says:

    I’m all for a morally gray story. But I find OUAT confusing now. If the world of OUAT is morally gray, then what was the point of all that talk back in Season 1 of Good triumphing over evil? Snow in the Pilot episode even said something along the lines of Good will Win to the Evil Queen.
    Season 1 was very clear on the Good versus Evil thing. And while Snow inadvertently caused Daniel’s death, it was due to wanting Regina to still have a mother rather than any malicious intent.
    But it’s only in season 2 where everything starts getting morally gray. Starting with Snow and Charming letting the Evil Queen go back to her comfortable castle instead of executing her or imprisoning her forever (despite the fact that the Evil Queen has said numerous times that she did not regret murdering countless innocent people)
    Having said that, I enjoy Snow under the Shattered Sight spell. And I hope to see more of her outside of 4×10.

  18. Cece says:

    AMAZING interview. I love reading or watching any interview Ginnifer (or any of the incredible cast) does; she’s always so entertaining. The “Like, how he brushes his teeth can be a “final-straw” thing.” cracked me up!

    I loved how they talked about the quieter Snow/Regina moments because those are some of my favorites to watch. Yes, Once is incredibly fun and suspenseful and action-packed, but their excellence in emotional, grounded moments cannot be glossed over.

    I loved her take on the “you may be sleeping with a married man, so have I” line because I think people 1. take a television show far too seriously, 2. took the line too seriously. Both of Snow and Regina’s cases are, like Ginny said, gray areas. The whole show is a gray area! LOL. In what world would a stepmother, who spent decades trying to kill the stepdaughter, be getting love advice from said stepdaughter? LOL. That’s one of the reasons this show is so amazing is because it’s SO out-of-this-world (much like LOST), yet they ground it with these very complex and intriguing characters and emotional moments. Was Snow sleeping with a married man? Yes, she was. It just so happened they were in a “cursed” reality, which, actually didn’t stray too far from the show, considering David was engaged when he fell in love with Snow (despite it being an arranged betrothal). Robin and Regina are not cut and dry either. Marian was dead for many years which Robin had a hard time moving beyond, but was able to, in part, because he found his (unbeknownst to him, at the time!) soulmate and true love, whom he fell in love with. Marian happened to return from the dead. In real life (as unbelievable that this happens in real life, I know. LOL), Robin and Marian would not be legally married anymore, but this is a television show and we need drama, of course! So Robin tried to do what he considered the “right” thing, believing he was still married to Marian and trying to make the relationship work. She was back for a day before she was poisoned (I’m still waiting to see if there’s more to that. Why did the Snow Queen choose Marian, specifically? Anyone know?) and in an endless ice coma. Robin and Regina tried to save her, but considering Robin can’t love Marian the way he used to, considering she’s not his “true love”, it was impossible. Thanks to his talk with Will Scarlett, Robin realized that by denying his love for Regina, by trying to force himself to be a man he isn’t and to feel things he doesn’t feel, he was only hurting everyone. If Marian were awake, walking around, totally fine, he would have told her that THEN gone to Regina, but it’s hard to divorce someone when they’re a block of ice. LOL. It is a difficult situation all around because no one in this “triangle” is perfect (yes, I’m looking at you Marian. Girl, you may not be an Evil Queen, but you left your son and husband to protect a known criminal, no matter how biased the hunt for Snow was) and it’s matter of the heart. I love Robin and Regina as flawed characters who have a very pure love. It also helps that Sean Maguire and Lana Parrilla are incredible actors (as is Christie Laing! Hope we see a little more of her once Marian wakes up!). That’s just my take on it. LOL. I do love Outlaw Queen and have hope, so I believe I owe Snow a quarter, too. LOL.

  19. Rich Abey says:

    I think the Cruella de vil-storyline will be more meaty & better quality-wise than the Frozen one, more along the lines of the Wicked-witch half of S3 (which I enjoyed much more than any other arch on OUAT barring Season 1). The Snow Queen did add some gravitas but the Frozen arch is more suitable for constricted 5-6 eps than for an entire half season,which resulted in a quite diluted uneven S4.

  20. DRush76 says:

    Wow! The hatred toward Regina is amazing! I keep forgetting that we still live in a patriarchal society and that it’s easier to dislike a morally ambiguous female character than it is to hate a morally ambiguous male character. I think many fans are so angry at Regina for her one-night stand with Robin that they have bring up her past and continue to sling mud at her.

    Regina knew she had done wrong in the past. She’s trying to live with it. Just as Snow is trying to live with her mistakes. Both, by the way, are a lot better at owing up to their mistakes than Rumpel and especially Emma.

  21. kookiefool says:

    I loved this episode. I missed the Evil Queen as well! That being said, I cannot believe that in more than one place people are actually debating whether it is okay that Snow White told the Evil Queen she slept with a married man. Are you kidding me??????? People are doing and using magic to do the most horrible things back and forth to each other, that’s okay, but not Snow White sleeping with a married man? And it’s an adult show, so we’re not destroying any innocent minds here But all that being being said, I have to say people, “Grow up and get some common sense!:” Snow White didn’t sleep with anybody IT’S MAKE BELIEVE. Make believe for adults! What makes this show fun is the tongue in cheek delivery. Ginnifer, don’t agonize over this, please. It’ shouldn’t have been a difficult decision. It was ironic humor within a make-believe world and so ludicrous it was entertaining. Your character shacked up with 7 dwarves, for goodness sake, and people haven’t said anything about that yet! Sleeping with Charming was nothing compared to that vertically challenged orgy you lived with. This is a make believe, satirically funny show meant to entertain. This is not a show meant to offer morality lessons. If it were, why isn’t anyone picking on Rumple? Now sexism, that we should discuss, it’s okay for Rumple to be a creep but Snow can’t make a mistake? Sexism!!!! In fairyland, God damn it!!!! I have been morally destroyed!

  22. Stella says:

    Someone called dialog from this show meaty?

    Seriously or as a joke?