Once Upon a Time will cast its spell again this Sunday (8/7c, ABC), and helping deliver the magic is one of our favorite TV scene-stealers, Kristin Bauer van Straten.
The True Blood actress is bringing to life the iconic fairy tale villainess Maleficent in the series’ Enchanted Forest, and while some actresses might voice concerns over one-too-many similar roles, Bauer van Straten does not. In fact, she tells TVLine she loved the part because of its similarities to her Bon Temps badass, Pam De Beaufort.
Here, find out what else Bauer van Straten loved about the character, whether or not she’ll return for another showdown with the Evil Queen, and more.
TVLINE | Talk a little about going from playing the outlandish Pam on True Blood to the evil sorceress Maleficent on Once Upon a Time.
It was really fun! True Blood fans and Once Upon a Time fans are similar because they’re similar types of shows; it’s a fantastical world that we can escape to. Can I just say that my evil-bitch typecasting is the most awesome thing and I hope it lasts forever. [Laughs] I also had so much fun with Lana Parrilla, who plays the Evil Queen. You never know when you go on a new show who you’re going to get along with, but with her it was just game on! We had a blast. I also got to do green screen work to a huge extent (see the photo above) and I can’t wait to see it put together.
TVLINE | Lana Parrilla is so good, especially in the Enchanted Forest scenes where we’ll see the two of you together. There’s got to be tons of fun, bitchy back-and-forth.
Totally! What’s fun about characters like this is playing the different levels and colors of it. With Pam on True Blood — and maybe I’m just losing my mind — I’ve started to see that she’s the only one telling the truth. She has more integrity than most people in Bon Temps. You really start seeing the other side of the coin, which makes it fun to play. But yes, Maleficent and the Evil Queen are frenemies. This is a very longstanding relationship; they both have something that the other one wants and they have to be very crafty and clever in trying to get that thing. It’s a real chess game.
TVLINE | This role was actually offered to you at the last minute. How, if at all, did that time crunch impact your prep in taking on such an iconic character?
It was actually similar to what happened with my True Blood casting, which was also short notice. For me, it’s almost better if I don’t have too much time to think about it; that way I feel like I go with my first instinct. I enjoy playing things a little bit under — I try to find the person behind the evilness. I usually give myself a whole backstory that may or may not be true. [Laughs] But it doesn’t really make a difference because you’re doing something more than playing “evil.” Also, I had a really good helper there with Lana. She’s been doing this for awhile and she knew that world really well… Look, if you play tennis with Roger Federer, you’re just a better tennis player. [Laughs]
TVLINE | What can you tease about what Maleficent has that the Evil Queen so desperately wants?
It’s kinda cute. I think of it like a clothing swap with little girls: One wants the silly pink sweater and one wants the red slippers, but you can’t just come out and say that. [Laughs] Each one of these women has made a scientific discovery that can help them get what they want, and now the other one has to try and figure out how to get it — under the guise of “having tea.” It’s just really good writing. When you get really good writing, you don’t have to play the most obvious thing; you get to play around a bit.
TVLINE | The show’s producers have said that the story is certainly left open for Maleficent to return in the future. If she makes it to Storybrooke next time around, what do you think she would be like?
You know, I was trying to figure that out…. I kept thinking she’d be the town librarian because I want something that’s totally opposite of who she is. I don’t know why we always think the librarian has some sort of opposite personality, because I don’t think they ever do in real life — but there’s actually a librarian who runs one of the True Blood fan sites, so maybe there is some evidence there. [Laughs] Either way, it would need to be something really innocuous.
TVLINE | So, you’re definitely open to reprising this role if your schedule allows?
Yes, it would be so fun!