By Zach Van Norman
Jane Espenson has just arrived for our interview at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. She looks very much like a modern Cinderella, wearing a metallic blue dress that shimmers in the light as she makes her way down the stairs in the small screening room set aside for us. I hand her a bag of popcorn and compliment her on her dress. “Thank you,” she says as she prepares to sit. “It doesn’t allow for much popcorn but I’m going to eat some anyway.” It’s a humble moment from a television writer whose work is comprised of pop culture staples like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica and Torchwood.
Having cultivated such an impressive portfolio of writing credits, it’s arguable that Jane Espenson can be referred to as an icon. Her aforementioned humility continues as we begin speaking and Jane proves herself oblivious to her status. “I didn’t know I was an icon,” she replies when asked about the topic. “That’s even more disorienting. I’m not primarily a creator. I haven’t really created a lot of things. I co-created, where I co-created Husbands with Brad Bell, but mostly I have been someone who steps into a show and… I get to play in the sandbox that someone else has created, which is the thing I always wanted to do. It’s the best job in the world.”
While it’s true that she hasn’t created many of the characters she’s written for, Jane’s work has shepherded characters through many varying story arcs, filling in the outlines of their humanity with colors of her own choosing and showcasing how life isn’t always black and white. Jane’s stories are a journey to emotional truth, and they have been of such quality and such impact that she is being recognized with the Inspiration Award at Etheria Film Night 2015. Etheria Film Night is an annual event recognizing women for their contributions to the entertainment industry, and includes a showcase of genre films created by women filmmakers. Receiving the Inspiration Award is an honor that Jane describes as “thrilling, overwhelming, really nauseating, because it’s a lot of attention, you know? It feels gratifying, let’s go with that. That’s better than ‘nauseating.’”
Gratifying is the best way to describe Jane’s ascension in the world of television. She grew up in Ames, Iowa and submitted scripts for M*A*S*H* and Star Trek: The Next Generation as a teenager. She went on to join the Disney ABC Writing Program and spent a few years writing on comedy shows including Dinosaurs and Ellen; during this time her desire to write a Star Trek script was fulfilled when she penned an episode for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Interview by Gareth Hughes - @GHughes1803
OUAF Editor Gareth Hughes caught up with writing legend Jane Expenson to discuss this Sunday's pivotal episode, "The Miller's Daughter". It's a fantastic hour of TV that promises to rip your heart out with several game changing moments that will set the course of season two's final run of episodes.
Read on as Jane discusses Rumple's origin story, a new understanding of Cora and the build up to a big season two finale!
Article by Gareth Hughes
The magic of Jane Espenson's writing is back on our screens tonight as the latest episode of Once Upon A Time - "We Are Both" - debuts on the ABC network at 8/7 Central. Jane has been busy doing a marathon whirlwind of interviews and promotion for the episode but was kind enough to answer 5 questions mainly centred around tonight's episode and what we can expect.
We already know that we will get to see the first meeting between Rumple and Regina in flashbacks and sneak peeks have revealed that Emma and Snow are having a tough time of it in the post apocalyptic fairy tale world. We will also learn more about how exactly attempting to leave the town will affect characters in Storybrooke. But what else could we squeeze out of Jane? She was pretty tight lipped but read on to find out.
Interview by Gareth Hughes
Espenson may be an anagram for Openness but in my world, Jane Espenson stands for the ultimate in Cool! Having been a huge fan of her writing since the 90's when I would obsess about every episode of Buffy, the chance to pose questions directly to her sent me on a "Fan Boy" high.
Not only is Jane one of the major players in conceptualising Once Upon A Time, she has also earned herself a unique place in the sci-fi/fantasy pantheon of great writers with production and writing credits on the aforementioned Buffy, Battlestar Galatica, Caprica, Firefly, Warehouse 13, Torchwood, Tru Calling, Game of Thrones, to name but a few. Jane is quite simply a sci-fi geek's ultimate babe!
We chatted about her plans for the second series of Husbands, which premieres August 15th, as well as all things Once Upon A Time. Jane was also kind enough to share some practical advice for all you aspiring writers out there.
Photo Credit: Adam Bouska