Interview by Ashley Benson - @MitigatedText
Ashley: I’m doing well, how are you?
Giancarlo: I’m doing well, thank you.
Ashley: Is this your first Walker Stalker?
Giancarlo: No, it’s actually my second, I did Atlanta last year.
Ashley: Oh, so you’re a vet, you’re a pro.
Giancarlo: Eh, somewhat of a pro, one under my belt. But these are huge shows with really, really great fans. It's fun to be here.
Ashley: Yeah, no I’m having a ton of fun, I actually managed to catch most of your panel too.
Giancarlo: Oh did you?
Ashley: Oh yeah!
Giancarlo: Oh, awesome Ashley.
Ashley: So, I wanted to ask you a few questions about Sidney Glass and your work on Once Upon a Time. You’ve had such a long distinguished career working with many great actors, what are the actors that influenced you growing up?
Giancarlo: Oh, Sidney Poitier was one of my biggest influences because he was a man who didn’t act from his race but acted completely from his heart. He was a contender for the Academy Award when he won. A very important man because he represented African Americans as a human being. Paul Robeson, a great singer, was a great idol for me, a man who stood up for his politics and also was a humanitarian. So, I loved folks who allowed me to have a vision of myself that was different than what people were taking out of that time. John F Kennedy was a really big influence in my life because he reminded me to be physically fit and he was one of our first Catholic presidents and he was just a man who had a morality, so those are a few folks who really stood out to me and allowed me to dream bigger and be different, Martin Luther King was a very very very strong influence because he adopted a philosophy that I think all people should follow. That theory of non-violence and “ipsa” which comes from Gandhi. I just felt like he was a human being who moved us forward in a different direction as well.
Ashley: That’s excellent. I wanted to ask you, during the panel you mentioned having templates for characters and studying. So, as you’ve played so many different diverse roles, how did you study and how did you prepare for Sidney Glass as opposed to Gilbert from Community or Gus from Breaking Bad?
Giancarlo: Well, Sidney to me was a dual character because he was the man in the mirror as well, and so for Sidney I had to fall in love. So, in a way to prepare for that I would look at the Queen and the relationship between he and the Queen, and he and the Mayor, and Lana. So when I got there I allowed myself to fall in love and to be in a space where I would do anything for someone *drops voice* no matter what they asked of me. And that, to me, was one of my largest preparations. The other one was to think about how to be an investigative reporter, so to speak, or someone who was part detective, part reporter, part guy who would do someone’s dirty work and their bidding and hide their secrets. So that was kind of my preparation for that guy, yeah.
Ashley: That’s fascinating. And when you mention the duality of the character, I know obviously you did some green screen work. How was it playing a character from the neck up, was it a lot like voice work because I know you do a lot of voice work.
Giancarlo: Giancarlo: No, I do. But now because there’s a camera on you, it’s just now you have to put all of your emotion in your face. And for me to be in that mirror was a wonderful thing because the mirror was a little bit different and you find out later on that the mirror was really--once he was out of the mirror--he was really that Arabian guy.
Ashley: With that fantastic turban!
Giancarlo: Giancarlo: Yeah! Who was betrayed by the Queen. But it is different. You put all of your emotions above your chest and don’t use your hands so much and allow yourself to condense some of the things you do.
Ashley: Ok. And you mentioned a lot of scenes with Lana. Did you two work together on anything, any back story or what did you develop together? How did you work together with that relationship?
Giancarlo: Talk a lot about what our back history was. The fact that she had done me wrong and that I would still love her and be on her side. Once we had the back story of the Genie and that happen, that gave us a lot to play because in one way Sidney hates her and on the other hand he loves her.
Ashley: And what do you love most about the role of Sidney? Is it the duality? Is it the relationship with the characters?
Giancarlo: Definitely the duality, Definitely a guy who can be so meek and mild and humbled by the Queen, and yet on the other hand someone who can be vicious and can be strong and can be a guy who finally realizes that she’s never going to love him, and will he never go back to her, I don’t know.
Ashley: And then I don’t want to take up too much more of your time, but besides your return to Once Upon A Time, what other projects are you currently working on or currently are participating in?
Giancarlo: I do have a project now called Allegiance. It's on NBC on Thursday night at ten o’clock. It’s written by George Nolfi, brilliant filmmaker. It is a Russian spy drama about a Russian spy family that really is American. I play a really, really wonderful, nefarious bad guy that comes into the seventh episode. You really should watch the show because it’s really fascinating. It’s about family and loyalty and love and action. And the fans will really enjoy this one. I’m going to be in it for a very short time, so catch up quickly. They're in their third episode airing now. I come in in the sixth episode, but I’ll probably be gone by next season if they have a next season.
Ashley: That’s excellent. Thank you so much for your time!
Ashley is a professional event planner, OUaF Forum Administrator, convention enthusiast, and resident sass master. When she's not tweeting up a storm, Ashley also finds the time to write reviews for Once Upon a Time at SpoilerTV.com. Feel free to contact her at @MitigatedText