Ready to cast its spell

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV -

MEET­ING the child you gave up for adop­tion a decade ago would be tough. Hav­ing him tell you he’s ac­tu­ally a fairy­tale char­ac­ter cursed by a wicked queen and forced to live in the real world? That’s even tougher.

That’s the set-up for Seven’s fan­tasy-drama Once Upon a Time.

Emma Swan (Jen­nifer Mor­ri­son), the mother in ques­tion, finds her­self en­tan­gled in the mag­i­cal go­ings-on in the quaint lit­tle town of Sto­ry­brooke when she re­turns her boy Henry to the home of his foster mother Regina – who turns out to be the Evil Queen her­self.

And then there’s the se­cret of Emma’s own parent­age. A hit in the US since it pre­miered last year, Once Upon a Time is now cast­ing a spell on lo­cal au­di­ences.

For­mer House star Mor­ri­son ex­plains why. What’s your take on Emma Swan?

Emma’s had a re­ally rough life – she was saved from the curse as a baby when she passed through into re­al­ity and was found on the side of the road. She ended up go­ing through the foster sys­tem, and not a good ver­sion of it.

She has been in a lot of tough sit­u­a­tions, so she’s re­ally had to be a sur­vivor. When we meet her she’s a bail bondswoman, very scep­ti­cal and closed off. As time goes on you’ll see her child com­ing back into her life is go­ing to af­fect her emo­tion­ally and start to cause her to open up in ways that she never has. How do you bring that to life and cre­ate an emo­tion­ally au­then­tic char­ac­ter?

What you see is what was on the page. It was such a beau­ti­ful script. But we also had lots of con­ver­sa­tions about what Emma’s back­story was, and I spent a lot of time read­ing mem­oirs of peo­ple who were raised in the foster sys­tem – it’s been in­cred­i­bly hum­bling and mostly up­set­ting to read them. It just seems wrong that so many peo­ple have had to deal with these hor­ri­ble cir­cum­stances.

What I did was take bits and pieces from each mem­oir and filled de­tails of each into the fab­ric of Emma’s past. So all the re­search I was do­ing was sort of find­ing the fab­ric of Emma’s dam­age and fig­ur­ing out how to build that.

Time,

Once Upon A Emma is pretty scep­ti­cal of Henry’s claims to be­gin with, isn’t she?

Of course, as any­one would be. If some­one walked up to you and said ‘Oh by the way, you’re the child of Snow White and Prince Charm­ing and you’re go­ing to save all fairy­tales’, it’s like, ‘OK, you’ve lost your mind’. There’s a fair bit of fairy­tale sto­ry­telling go­ing on in

but Emma re­mains firmly in the real world. Ever get jealous you’re not in­vited to the ball, so to speak?

Ob­vi­ously it’s fun to look at all the pic­tures from when they shoot in fairy­tale land, and ev­ery­one looks beau­ti­ful in the gor­geous cos­tumes, but I’m so in love with Emma. I just love play­ing her and I have such a good time play­ing her that I would never wish that away just to have pretty cos­tumes. When they shoot the fairy­tale land stuff, I usu­ally get a day off!

Seven, Prime7

Tues­days, 7.30pm,

Jen­nifer Mor­ri­son as Emma Swan in Once Upon

A Time

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