Once Upon a Time Q&A With Belle Herself, Emilie de Ravin

Emilie de Ravin plays perhaps the most beloved of Once Upon a Time's human-incarnated Disney Princesses. Though her version Belle is frequently devoid of memory, locked up, or getting threatening calls from a death's-doorstep Mr. Gold, she retains the essential goodness of the character through it all (which in no small way is just overflow from the residual goodwill Lost fans and others have toward the actress). But in this Sunday's episode, she'll be taking quite a turn as the dark and vaguely trampy Lacey after Regina rewires her memory. She managed to share some of the details in the five minutes we spent talking while I harassed her about Howard Hughes-type germ concerns and questions about ABC #swag.

Who is more fun as a scene partner: Rumplestiltskin with face paint and crimped hair, or Mr. Gold?

I don’t think I can decide, I think they’re both fun in different ways. Bobby’s so amazing, they’re equally as fun because they’re so different.

Have you ever ingested any face paint in your scenes with Rumple?

Ingested?! [beat of horror, laughing] Yeah, but I think we’ve only kissed once in the makeup, haven’t we? Unless I start licking his hand in Season 4. [laughing] I hope not. It’s probably not very good for you.... now I’m thinking about that!

Is it possible for Belle to recover her memory, or when it's gone, it's gone?

Well, this week’s episode, called "Lacey," she’s still in the hospital at the start of the episode. But Regina, to get back at Mr. Gold, plants a fake memory, like she did when everyone else came to Storybrooke. Belle was never given one because she was locked up in a cell and there was no point. But instead of being nice and giving her Belle’s memory back, Regina gives me the memory of Lacey, and Lacey has no clue who Belle is. She’s a whole new person. She spends her time at the Rabbit Hole, she's scantily clad, she’s like playing pool, doing shots, hanging at the bar.  She’s a confident young woman, she doesn’t care what people think of her, she doesn’t dress to be provocative—that’s just her, that’s how she’s happy. She has no reason that she’d want to leave Storybrooke: She doesn’t want to travel, doesn’t like books—like, nothing could be more different than Belle. So that’s pretty fun, and you know, the only way—which seems impossible—for Mr. Gold to get Belle back is to get Lacey to fall in love with him. So that’s an interesting arc, for sure.

You’re doing a lot of heavy lifting. You have like three characters you’re playing already—Fairy-Tale Land Belle, Storybrooke Belle, and Amnesiac Belle—so this is like a fourth. Is it fun to do so many characters or is it confusing?

No, it’s so fun! I mean, as long as I’m adequately prepped and know who I’m doing, it's good. And I wasn’t switching during the same day, thank God, from one to the other, it was scheduled like that which was great. It’s a challenge, sure, it’s like, “Who am I today?” But I love that. The best part is being challenged by a good character and good writing and the great people you work with.

Final question: Do you get in free to Disneyland for life, since you play Belle?

Hmmm! Well… free for life? That’s a bit crazy. I’ll call ABC about that one. I could just get a job there, 'They’ve got a good double for that chick who plays Belle on OUAT!' [laughing] And it would probably work because they’d want the Belle photos. [laugh] I won’t do that.

(Though I sort of really hope she does.)

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8pm on ABC. 

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