Ready to cast its spell
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.
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!
Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan in Once Upon