Lana Parrilla

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - SH­ERYL- LEE KERR

THE face of Dis­ney vil­lainy is curled up in a Cana­dian ho­tel room in a fluffy robe. Lana Parrilla ( pic­tured) has just wo­ken up, her throat is still hoarse from cheer­ing on Barack Obama’s elec­tion win and she re­veals she’s there for a ‘‘ ro­man­tic lit­tle get­away’’ with boyfriend Fred Di Bla­sio.

Wait. Fluffy robe? Once Upon A Time ’ s Evil Queen wears a fluffy robe?

‘‘ It’s cold,’’ she laughs sheep­ishly in a voice so de­void of trade­mark men­ace you won­der that she ever be­liev­ably ripped out hearts and en­acted dark curses on screen.

But wait five min­utes and you hear it. The Brook­lyn- born daugh­ter of a Puerto Ri­can base­ball star and a Si­cil­ian painter has an im­pres­sive ar­se­nal of vo­cal in­flec­tions, courtesy of a decade of voice lessons.

She lit­er­ally cack­les as she re­counts scar­ing a young Cin­derella wit­less on Hal­loween. You can well pic­ture the girl, and ev­ery­one within a 50m ra­dius, backed into a cor­ner, trem­bling.

‘‘ You know I don’t LIKE lit­tle princesses,’’ she sneers men­ac­ingly as she recre­ates the scene, be­fore turn­ing on the honey. ‘‘ But you do make a pretty one.’’ She laughs heartily.

‘‘ Peo­ple are afraid of me, some adults, some chil­dren,’’ Parrilla, 35, says with rel­ish. ‘‘ But I think we’ve seen such a hu­man side to this char­ac­ter, they’re more in­trigued now. They want to get to know who I am out­side of this char­ac­ter, which is kinda cool.’’

The real Parrilla is a born per­former. She’s artis­tic, sporty ‘‘ it’s in my DNA’’ and driven.

As a celebrity, she is one of the new breed – con­nected, ac­ces­si­ble and so­cial- me­dia savvy. In her down­time, Parrilla of­ten can be found tweet­ing her large global band of fol­low­ers, the Evil Re­gals. In past months her tweets have ex­horted them to vote, sup­port gay mar­riage and try the burg­ers at a Van­cou­ver eatery. She says her fans even in­spired her to quit smok­ing.

She also is largely un­fil­tered. Parrilla fa­mously posted to the Evil Re­gals a video of her­self af­ter just wak­ing up, wear­ing no make- up and en­dear­ingly rum­pled. It was wildly pop­u­lar.

But some­how, un­der all that nice­ness, lurks some fairly con­vinc­ing evil. Cer­tainly, it did last sea­son on the fan­tasy drama when Parrilla’s en­raged Evil Queen Regina sent her en­e­mies to Sto­ry­brooke, Maine, stripped of mem­o­ries of their pre­vi­ous fairy­tale lives.

Sea­son two kicked off last week in Aus­tralia with the curse bro­ken and ev­ery­one remembering again.

Snow White ( Gin­nifer Good­win) and daugh­ter Emma ( Jen­nifer Mor­ri­son) have been sucked into an­other realm and meet new characters, in­clud­ing Cap­tain Hook and Mu­lan.

Parrilla plays three Reginas – a sweet younger self; the closed- off, schem­ing Sto­ry­brooke mayor; and the Evil Queen. The hard­est thing has been to make a fa­mously car­toon­ish vil­lain multi- lay­ered.

Parrilla does it by work­ing out what drives Regina. ‘‘ She has evil ten­den­cies but I don’t think she is evil,’’ Parrilla says. ‘‘ She is on the cusp of in­san­ity. I think she’s def­i­nitely mis­un­der­stood on many lev­els.’’

This sea­son Regina’s fo­cus is on re­deem­ing her­self to win back her an­gry adopted son.

‘‘ You’re go­ing to see a very dif­fer­ent Regina,’’ Parrilla says. ‘‘ She’s be­com­ing more rea­son­able and more hu­man. She’s very vul­ner­a­ble.’’

Her big­gest chal­lenge may be more phys­i­cal, specif­i­cally those stun­ning Evil Queen cos­tumes, with plung­ing cleav­age, vo­lu­mi­nous skirts and cinched corsets that she ad­mits, make it very dif­fi­cult to breathe.

Ap­par­ently evil does come with a price. But, when you get to play Dis­ney’s most iconic vil­lain, it’s one Parrilla seems more than happy to pay.

Once Upon A Time,

South­ern Cross, Tue/ Thurs, 7.30pm

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