Interview by Gareth Hughes
Lana Parrilla is much in demand these days. The Brooklyn raised latinos star is ascending, thanks in no small part to what can arguably be classed as the defining role of her entire career, playing the wickedly delicious Evil Queen on ABC's Once Upon A Time
Lana Parrilla grew up in a family household where pursuing one's dreams was encouraged. Beginning at an early age, Lana was constantly making videos with her family, signaling her desire even then to be an actress. After graduating from high school, Lana moved to Los Angeles and began honing her craft in local theatre productions.
Success came quickly for Lana, snagging roles in US TV shows such as Spin City, Boomtown (for which she earned the Imagen Award for Best Supporting Actress), Six Feet Under and 24. Eagle eyed viewers will also have spotted Lana in Lost during the shows 2-part season three finale. However her most memorable role prior to OUAT was almost certainly that of Trina Decker, one half of a hilarious swinging couple in the CBS drama Swing Town. In January 2011, Lana snagged one of the leading roles on ABC's flagship fairy tale show and the rest, as they say, is history.
Despite her busy schedule, Lana recently took a few minutes out of her own time to answer some questions exclusively for Once Upon A Fan.
What went through your mind when you initially read the pilot script? Was it a project you instantly wanted to be a part of? Was there a point during the very early filming stages of season one when you realised just how big this show would become?
I read the pilot and fell in love with the project instantly. I believed in this show and I was hopeful that others would feel the same, and they did!
The fan community for this show seems to be expanding at a spectacular pace. We notice it in terms of the daily visits to our fan site. How do you feel about the whole “Evil Regal” fandom that has taken a hold and developed so quickly?
I adore the Evil Regals! I communicate with them quite often on twitter and they’ve done so many incredible things. It’s just become this huge cult following, which is amazing! A lot of them have become good friends. When we were on hiatus, they came up with this thing called the Evil Regal “Get Healthy Challenge” and a lot of them have lost weight so I decided I should jump on board and I quit smoking. I see my Evil Regals getting healthy and thought I better do the same thing.
Many fans cite your scenes with Robert Carlyle and Jennifer Morrison as one of the main highlights of the show. You seem to have a fantastic chemistry with both actors. What do you draw upon when filming scenes such as Regina’s confrontations with Gold and Emma.
I would say Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction for sure. My heart breaks for a woman who is that desperate and lonely. Her character was much more complex than that, but she did a very beautiful job and reeled me in. When I was working on Regina, I watched her performance. I don’t know why, but I kept seeing her face in the forefront of my mind and the movie kept flashing before my eyes. I knew my creative source was telling me something, so I started watching the film and drew a lot from Glenn Close's character, Alex.
What do you enjoy most about playing the two characters?
I’m always telling two different stories at the same time.
Do you have any influence in the costumes you wear?
Eduardo Castro does such a fantastic job with our costumes! They definitely feed into my performance. I can feel the character coming alive once I'm in costume!
Below: Eduardo's design for the Evil Queen in 'True North'
Can you describe Regina & The Evil Queen in three words?
The Evil Queen is a very complex, emotional, quick-tempered trickster. Regina is a lonely, sad, convoluted woman with corruptive tendencies.
Can you talk about your choices of voice for each character? Do you ever find yourself blending them?
I wanted to approach each character differently. I wanted the Queen’s voice to have a deep resonance and a freedom in her body. She’s a fierce, bold woman who takes up an entire room upon entry. It was very important to work on the body and voice for the Queen. And with Mayor Regina, well, she's much more calculated. She’s a stoic politician. Therefore, she has to keep her emotions in check - which requires much less body language and a more crafty, intellectual approach to challenging circumstances.
Would you like to see Regina have a friend/ ally in Season 2? If so, who? Do you think she will have to work with Emma against Rumplestiltskin?
At the end of the season we were left with Emma and Regina on the same side, so we’ll see what happens!
As we head into the second season, what are your long term hopes and fears for Regina?
I believe Regina is an “unlucky soul” with a good heart at her core and I would love to see her redeemed at some point - but not too quickly. I’m interested to see how she saves her relationship with Henry, whom she truly loves. I’m sure she’s going to use magic to find a way to get him back and also probably destroy Mr. Gold. I’m very excited to see what happens between Rumplestiltskin and the Evil Queen as I’m sure many people are.
You can follow Lana on Twitter.
Lana is incredibly busy right now working on the 2nd season of Once Upon A Time so a huge thank you to her for taking time out to answer a few of our questions.
Costume designs are reproduced with the permission of Eduardo Castro.