Meet the mother of all evil
Mother issues make an evil queen of Barbara Hershey, writes
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.
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Barbara Hershey and Lana Parrilla. Is there any chance we may see a good side of Cora at some stage?