ABC has another bona fide hit on their hands with the fairy tale series Once Upon a Time, one of the highest-rated new shows last season that returns for Season 2 Sunday, September 30 at 8 PM ET. For those who missed out last year, you can catch up on all 22 episodes of Season 1 with the new Blu-ray and DVD sets that debuted earlier this week. Ginnifer Goodwin stars as school teacher Mary Margaret Blanchard/Snow White in this story that puts a fresh spin on the fairy tales we grew up with.
The actress recently spoke about her experiences in making the first season. Here's what she had to say.
Congratulations on a hugely successful first season, Ginnifer. Why do you think Once Upon A Time has had such an impact on audiences around the world?
Ginnifer Goodwin: I'm incredibly proud of this show and I'm ecstatic that it's done so well. Why is it popular? Well, I think it's down to the fact that we've all grown up loving these fairytales and we can all relate to the characters. Once Upon a Time has taken the fairytale stories from our childhood, filled in the blanks and given the characters some relatable flaws. It's like a fan-fiction mash-up.
What is the atmosphere like on the set in Vancouver?
Ginnifer Goodwin: The atmosphere on set is wonderful. We're like a theater company and every week we get to come and play. It's amazing. I'm having the time of my life on the show and it's incredibly thrilling to work with such a talented cast in such an amazing city. It's truly magical.
What are the benefits of working on a television show compared to a movie?
Ginnifer Goodwin: TV lets you dig your elbows into a character and a story, but movies don't allow that. With a film, you have an hour-and-a-half to tell a story. However, you have many, many hours to tell that story within episodic television. I think there is something really special about growing with a character on a TV show and exploring everything around them. That's something you don't have the luxury of being able to do with a film.
How challenging is it to play two characters - Snow White and Mary Margaret - in Once Upon a Time, even though they are essentially the same person?
Ginnifer Goodwin: It's incredibly challenging and inspiring - and it certainly contributed to my wanting to be a part of the show. However, I don't think about the fact that they are the same person because that is obvious to the audience. They can tell it's essentially the same person because I'm playing both parts.
Do you try to act away the similarities between you and the characters you play in the show?
Ginnifer Goodwin: There are certain things about myself that are undeniable. No matter how hard I try, I will never be able to act them away. That's why I forget about the similarities and focus on where the characters differ.
Is that something you've always done, irrespective of the character you're portraying?
Ginnifer Goodwin: Yes, that's how I work with all of my characters. I don't play the qualities that I already have in common with my characters, because those things are inherent. Instead, I focus on the qualities that I need to add on top.
What physical changes do you undergo to contrast Snow White with Mary Margaret?
Ginnifer Goodwin: We do a lot of costume and makeup work to distinguish the two characters. Some of the work is done in subtle ways and some is really obvious - but I feel like we have altered the characters enough to distinguish between them. Snow White is in full bloom and Mary Margaret has a long way to go to become comfortable in her own skin.
What can you tell us about the curse that has put the fairytale characters into a reality setting?
Ginnifer Goodwin: The nature of the curse is that the characters have been robbed of their happy endings. For Snow White and Prince Charming, that means we don't remember who we are or whom we love. If the curse sustains itself, Snow White will never remember that there was a Prince Charming.
Why is everyone affected?
Ginnifer Goodwin: Everyone was punished in the world, including innocent bystanders, but we learn in the pilot episode that it was all about punishing Snow White. It was all about keeping Snow White from her favorite part of love, which is Prince Charming. It's woven into the fabric of the show to keep these two characters apart - but they are still drawn together.
How did [executive producers and show creators] Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz describe Snow White when you first signed up for the role?
Ginnifer Goodwin: I was delighted when I went into my first meeting with Edward and Adam because they specifically told me that I was not going to look like Walt Disney's animated Snow White. They explained that we were going to do our own thing with her, which was incredibly appealing to me.
Why do you think it's been necessary to update Snow White?
Ginnifer Goodwin: We modernized her in many ways because we wanted to make her relatable. As obsessed as I am with all of Grimm's tales and the Disney princesses, women have evolved so much socially since these characters were created. Women's role in society is very different now. And anyway, I think it's fun to add a new twist to them and to update them.
You have an apple tattoo. Isn't that a little ironic?
Ginnifer Goodwin: I guess so. It's funny because Mary Margaret has a distaste for apples, but she doesn't know why. I wonder if she'll uncover the truth at some point in the season?
Do you show your tattoo in the show?
Ginnifer Goodwin: No, I wish they'd let me show my tattoo in the show - but they don't. To me, apples symbolize wisdom and purity, but I love the thought that the apple is something Snow White uses as a symbol of survival. This is the thing she overcame. It's like a reminder to her.
One final question: What secrets can you share about the first season?
Ginnifer Goodwin: I don't like to give away spoilers to people who haven't seen the show, so that's a tough question for me to answer. Without giving too much away, I will say that you will probably throw things at the screen when you see the season finale because it's so good. I cannot believe where we took the show; it was terribly brave. Everything goes crazy and it's very unexpected. It's shocking, but it's very exciting. I hope you like what you see!
You can watch Ginnifer Goodwin as Mary Margaret Blanchard and Snow White in Once Upon a Time, returning Sunday, September 30 at 8 PM ET. You can also catch up with the show or relive your favorite moments with the Season 1 set on Blu-ray and DVD.