Interview by: Jennifer Phares
Going back in time to last October and yours truly fell in love with the brilliance that is the Once Upon a Time: The Rock Opera. For one reason or another, this fan made parody of ABC’s fairytale show of the same name has taken off. At about an hour long, this rock opera has all the makings of a cult classic. Be its witty and whimsical songs or off the wall humor – this production promises to leave you in stitches.
It has been a tremendous honor and privilege being able to interview the incredibly amazing cast & crew of OUAT: The Rock Opera.
Stay 2uned: What was the inspiration behind taking Once Upon Anonymous from You Tube to the big screen?
Erin Stegeman: “Deﬁnitely ﬁlms like Rocky Horror and Devil’s Carnival. I wanted to take this from the web to an audience experience, and I knew we had a musically gifted cast to pull it off. I have a background in directing theater and being a huge geek, so I love blending the convention world with ﬁlm. The more interactive the better. Basically if I’m standing up introducing the ﬁlm and someone throws a bucket of popcorn at me – I’m in heaven.”
Stay 2uned: How long did it take to make OUAT: The Rock Opera?
E.S: “It took about 5 months to write the script, another 3-4 months to develop the music and record it, and we shot for 9 non consecutive days. We had a short post – only 6 weeks to make our premiere deadline. My editor and producer were literally burning the Blu-Ray the day of the premiere, and didn’t even get a chance to test it. I was panicking.”
Stay 2uned: Did everyone go for their favorite character?
E.S: “I cast everyone so there wasn’t really a choice :). Some of the actors portrayed who they were in the original web series, and some played different characters because we were doing more of a direct parody of the show. Everyone seemed excited to revive their roles. I was prepared to adjust the script for some “no’s” but I didn’t have one. That’s pretty cool.”
Stay 2uned: Will there be a sequel and if so – will we see the Dark Swan make an appearance?
E.S: “There’s a lot of talk about a sequel. It all depends on ﬁnancing and how this ﬁlm does. I’m completely down and have been brainstorming ideas already. How could I NOT do Dark Swan? The hair alone deserves a solo.”
Stay 2uned: Describe the creative process behind the film.
E.S: “Oh man I think it went something like this:
“I need to write this script”. (Walks to Starbucks, orders a green tea and sits. Checks Facebook. Checks Twitter. Makes a meme. Tweets meme. Finally opens computer. Mildly panics. Sets timer for 10 minutes. Spends 8 minutes staring at the screen. Writes for 2 minutes. Timer goes off. Goes to the bathroom and returns to apartment).
I will say the songs, though, came very quickly. I think I wrote 5 in one sitting. Then I started jamming with musicians to get the acoustic scratches, including Katie Coﬁeld who plays Snow White. She and I met in a sketchy park and sang with an ukulele for a few sessions. I had to sing a Capella a lot to present the melody to people, and I really, really hate doing that. My phone is ﬁlled with me singing into the memo app about fairytale characters.”
Stay 2uned: What is your favorite episode of Once Upon a Time?
E.S: “I love the pilot. It’s honestly one of the best TV pilots out there. I was hooked from the ﬁrst episode. I also love “Cricket Game”. I think it’s one of Lana Parrilla’s best performances and you’ve got that great “Taco” scene. I like the episodes that are more grounded in realism and simple. I loved the time the ﬁrst season took with developing everything. The triangle with Katherine, Snow, and David was fascinating. Disney’s Snow White having an affair with Prince Charming – I mean, that’s genius.”
Stay 2uned: How much fund did you have playing the “Evil Queen”?
Amiee Conn: “It was a TOTAL BLAST playing the Evil Queen/Regina role in the #OUATrockopera. It was a dream role come true- to be able to parody your favorite character let alone your favorite actress & have a killer song and music video to go with it all?! Hell yes!”
Stay 2uned: How did you prepare for your role?
A.C: “I’m a huge Dork & have seen every episode of OUAT. Evil characters are always delicious to play and I’ve loved Disney and the Evil Queen on the show since the beginning. I’ve always been inspired by the fabulous actress Lana Parrilla who plays her. It was fun to incorporate certain vocal patterns and mannerisms into the Rock Opera world that Erin was amazing at creating!”
Stay 2uned: What is your favorite episode of Once Upon a Time?
A.C: “I have a LOT of fav episodes, but the most recent was the 100th OUAT episode when Regina re-connects with her father on the other side in the Underworld. It struck a chord with me personally and was incredibly touching. It was so real and true, I cried. And yet you also got a glimpse into the Evil Queen’s evil ﬂashbacks that we’ve all missed and love.”
(This is the part of the interview where we transition to more of the cast members. Joining “Emma” and “Regina” are “Hook” – Ace Marrero – and “Snow”, a.k.a Katie Cofield.)
Stay 2uned: What was your favorite part to film?
ACE: “I have to say my favorite part was probably our ﬁrst take (and I think what we ended up using) of the intro to MAGIC IN ME. I have a line, “we all believe in you miss swan” and then there is a little pause before the meat of the song starts, and we all just started snapping our ﬁngers, and trying not to laugh at how silly it was, and we ended up keeping it!”
AMIEE: “My favorite part to ﬁlm – other than a certain dance later in the ﬁlm … was the ﬁrst day of ﬁlming when we all risked our lives going down a 90-degree angle ravine in the hills, Erin leading the way to ﬁnd the perfect shots for the luscious Evil Queen music video. And you know what… She did! I thought “This Woman ROCKS! She is committed to her project!”
KATIE: “My favorite part to ﬁlm was… well, I’ve gotta say that recording the music BEFORE we started ﬁlming was one of my favorite moments. Getting to hear the track being made with instruments and knowing it was going to become a movie… sort of magical. And during ﬁlming, I think it might have been getting to improvise with Mark all the ways that we could “ﬁnd you” to Emma. #ﬁndyouwewill”
ERIN – “Like Katie, I loved recording the music as well – that was a new experience for me, and I found myself just wanting to be in the studio every day. As far as the actual shoot – the last day we had just about the entire cast on set with these fake foil icicles and ridiculous lines of dialogue. We just had a bunch of fun on set gooﬁng off, and it was also one of our quickest days. Everyone was just so excited we did it – including me. We busted out music and just started dancing when we were done. It was a long, tough shoot, and there were moments I didn’t think it would get done, so that night meant a lot to me.”
Stay 2uned: If there’s a sequel – would you reprise your role?
AMIEE: “Absolutely YAAASSS!!”
KATIE: “YASSSSS KWEEN.”
ERIN: “Well duh. But I’d like to get paid this time.”
ACE: “As much as it is a pain in the ass for me to get in and out of the guyliner (I know; woe is me right? Ladies have it much worse.) I would for sure. It’s been such a fun experience playing HOOK, and being one of the many silly components of this gang. I like how there really isn’t much that is “going too far” for me as HOOK in this. We can get away with a lot, ha-ha.
Stay 2uned: What other character would you like to see in the sequel?
ACE: “I’d like to give EMMA a shot. Get it? Heh, heh….”A… shot.” There’s a HOOK answer for ya. But, I’ve played ALADDIN, BAELFIRE & of course FAKE-BUT-REAL HOOK throughout our sketches and movie, so I’d be open to throwing another in the mix. Open to suggestions.”
KATIE: “I’d love to see Evil Snow and Bandit Regina make an appearance, and I’d love to see a chorus of Dark Ones doing a kick line.”
ERIN – “I’d love to have Granny! We didn’t get to do Robin yet, which at the time he wasn’t as major of a character. Sean Maguire has been so great to us, so I’d love to honor him in that respect. There are a few villain characters I have in mind for a speciﬁc song, so I’ll keep mum for now.”
Behind the Scenes Photos: