Thanks to the amazing folks with People Conventions, Stay 2uned got the chance to catch up with some of the amazing cast from the show that basically started it all for us: Once Upon A Time. On November 22nd and 23rd, we took part in The Happy Ending Convention Online hosted from Paris. That’s right….our first international convention as well! Guests included Lana Parrilla (Regina aka The Evil Queen), Rebecca Mader (Zelena aka The Wicked Witch), Sean Maguire (Robin Hood), Jared Gilmore (Henry), Michael Raymond James (Neal), Karen David (Princess Jasmine), and Robbie Kay (Peter Pan). So, what have some of the actors been up to since the show? How are they spending quarantine? What were some of their most memorable moments from the show and filming? Read on to find out what we learned!
Lana was best known as the character of Regina, The Evil Queen. Sassy and fierce, her character was one that underwent one of the biggest transformations of the entire show. When asked what her biggest takeaway was from playing the role of the Evil Queen, she said it was to not judge a book by it’s cover. Ironically, her character experienced a lot of that throughout the show based on the reputation she made for herself as queen. However, as the character developed over time, there was a lot to be discovered under all that evil. By the end, Regina had grown to become a humble and welcomed ruler. One of Lana’s favorite quotes from the show? “Fillet the bitch!” Let’s be honest….we all loved that quote. Recently, Lana took on a role with the popular new show”Why Women Kill.” A fan asked her if given the opportunity to portray any actress of her choice, she responded with Natalie Wood or Rita Hayworth. Her sweet smile and gracious personality certainly wooed fans during her 30 minute Q&A. Always keeping it Regal.
Rebecca Mader’s panel revealed that she’s definitely my spirit sister. Very funny and outgoing! She’s best known for her role as Zelena, The Wicked Witch of the West and sister to Regina. Despite the show being off the air now, Bex has kept in touch with many of her costars from the show, sharing that many actually attended her baby shower in September 2019. Bex has spent her time in quarantine tending to her one year old little man, Milo. When asked what she’d like to do once the pandemic is over she responded that she’d like to spend time with her family in England just hanging out, laughing and hugging and not worrying about the craziness that has been 2020. Some advice she offered to fans about relationships was to be attentive to your feelings when you’re around others. She said to spend time with those who love you and allow you to always be comfortable enough to just be yourself. Wise words from my favorite Wicked one.
Michael Raymond James
Michael Raymond James, known to fans as Henry’s father Neal and Rumpelstiltskin’s son Baelfire, has spent his time in quarantine homeschooling his 2 precious kiddos and playing guitar. Treating fans to a song, it’s very clear that music has a huge spot in Michael’s heart. When asked by a fan what types of music he likes, he responded with blues, reggae, and even some jazz. He even shared that one of his son’s, Marley Dylan, shares his name with 2 well known Bob’s (Bob Marley and Bob Dylan). One of his most memorable and touching moments from Once Upon A Time? The writers writing in a break for his character so that he could take time off to spend time with his first born and wife. Despite missing the birth by just hours due to his final day of filming before his break, he was moved that they granted him that ability to be home. Just one more story of how close this cast and crew truly were!
Ah, our beloved little Henry isn’t so little anymore! Jared Gilmore, who started the show at the age of 10 and was 18 when the show concluded, shared a lot of his experience growing up on set. He didn’t go to public school, but instead learned onset in between scene takes. He shared that he thought of the cast and crew as one big family. He described it like having a lot of aunts and uncles and people who just really cared about him. Jared is very open about his personal struggles with anxiety and depression, but says that playing the role of Henry taught him a lot about believing in one’s self and overcoming. He did share that he misses Once Upon a Time. One fan asked him who he’d play in Star Wars if given the opportunity and his response was maybe a young Kylo Ren in training. His favorite character is Obi-wan Kenobi, so he’d also like to play a younger version of him or a Mandalorian. He said one of his favorite things to do with fans is fan out on common interests. A few years ago I learned we shared a common interest in the show, Critical Role. If you haven’t seen it….look it up, especially if you’re a D&D fan. You won’t regret it. Jared also shared that he likes to collect figures of his favorite anime characters that he finds a connection with. Despite being all grown up, Jared still wears that Heart of the Truest Believer on his sleeve.
It was pretty exciting getting to sit through the panels and interact virtually with some of my favorite actors and actresses from the show that brought me together with my sister from another mister and remind me of our obsession with the show. Each character was made memorable thanks to the talented folks who took them on. They inspired so many then and still continue to this day through the impressions they left on imaginations writing fan fiction as their characters or the artists still creating drawings of their likeness. A big thank you to People Conventions for giving us this opportunity and allowing us media coverage and to the actors and actresses for taking the time out to share their words with us. Though Once Upon A Time reached its happy ending, it’s adventure lives on in our hearts.