Meet the mother of all evil

Mother is­sues make an evil queen of Bar­bara Her­shey, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - THURSDAY EXTRA -

VIEW­ERS of fairy­tale fan­tasy Once Upon A Time will no doubt be aware Regina (Lana Par­rilla), the show’s evil queen, can be a nasty piece of work. But was it na­ture or nur­ture that led to Regina’s un­pleas­ant per­son­al­ity?

The in­tro­duc­tion of the evil queen’s ‘‘even more evil mother’’ Cora hints it just might be the lat­ter.

How­ever, ac­tress Bar­bara Her­shey, who has taken on the ‘‘de­li­ciously evil’’ role of Cora, be­lieves her char­ac­ter loves her daugh­ter – al­beit in a ‘‘strange way’’.

Her­shey be­lieves the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two re­sem­bles the real-life bond be­tween par­ents and chil­dren.

‘‘What’s in­ter­est­ing to me is it’s like any mother-daugh­ter re­la­tion­ship that’s full of con­flict – the mother wants some­thing the daugh­ter doesn’t want,’’ says Her­shey, who played an­other over­bear­ing mother in the psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller Black Swan.

So while young Regina wanted noth­ing more than the love of a hand­some, hum­ble sta­ble boy, Cora is in­sis­tent her daugh­ter move up in the world by mar­ry­ing into a royal fam­ily.

‘‘There are a lot of moth­ers who want some­thing dif­fer­ent for their daugh­ters,’’ Her­shey says.

‘‘The dif­fer­ence is that my char­ac­ter is evil and she can snap her fin­gers and do magic.’’ Bar­bara, please in­tro­duce us to Cora.

Cora is the evil queen’s even more evil mother and she has great am­bi­tion for her daugh­ter. She wants her daugh­ter to do well and be happy and she’s con­vinced that her hap­pi­ness will come if she mar­ries a king rather than a sta­ble boy. There are hints at what is driv­ing Cora in terms of her own his­tory but it’s not em­bel­lished at this point. It’s the kind of thing a lot of moth­ers would want for their daugh­ters. It’s just that my char­ac­ter is evil and con­sumed by it and can wield very mighty magic, which is very fun to play.

creators Ed­ward Kit­sis and Adam Horowitz have said Cora has a ‘‘spe­cific viewpoint’’ about the world. What do they mean?

Eddie and Adam say that evil is made, not born, and I think that is prob­a­bly true. I don’t know, maybe evil is also born, like you’re miss­ing a limb. In­stead, you’re miss­ing em­pa­thy.

Def­i­nitely there are spe­cific things that turn Cora.

Evil, in and of it­self, when you open the door and in­vite it in, it has a party. It starts tak­ing over.

By the time we meet Cora, she’s been de­voured by evil. Whether she started out like that, I don’t know. I think not. She’s not in the driver’s seat in terms of the way she projects her­self.

You might, you might. The good side to her is her love for her daugh­ter. That is the one area where she’s let her­self feel but be­cause she is so warped with evil, it comes out in very strange ways.

The story has been left open-ended and I’m open to it. I have no idea what they’re plan­ning but that’s the fun of do­ing a TV se­ries – you don’t know what they’ll write for you.

Thursdays and Tuesdays, 7.30pm, Seven, Prime7

Bar­bara Her­shey and Lana Par­rilla. Is there any chance we may see a good side of Cora at some stage?

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