Earlier this week I was lucky enough to talk to Jennifer Morrison, who plays Emma Swan, the Sheriff of Storybrooke and long-lost daughter of Snow White, in everyone’s favorite fairy-tale drama thriller, Once Upon a Time. She was so incredibly lovely and insightful and thoughtful over the phone, I’m still shaking guys I’M STILL SHAKING. She also dropped a couple hints that I THINK might be SPOILERS?! Let’s read and discuss!
Does Emma have a jail tatto?
(Laughs) JAIL TATTOOS? No she has a tattoo, but that tattoo she's had since she was probably 14. I think you've seen glimpses of it, it's on her left wrist, it's a flower on her left wrist. It hasn't been featured in any situation yet, you’ll see it more in Episode 6. Just kind of by circumstances, but yeah, it's definitely a youthful decision on her part but ends up being meaningful in the long run.
Is Emma going to accept that Snow White is her mom, or is that something she struggles with?
I think it's something she'll probably struggle with for the rest of her life on some levels. I feel like the writers have done a really great job of writing this reunion and the aftermath of it in a way that’s very realistic. Anyone who’s in a situation where all they’ve known for 28 years is that they were given up and they were abandoned, and is suddenly faced with meeting the people who gave them up and abandoned them—even if they had good reason for it—there’s still complicated emotions to work through in terms of accepting that and understanding that perspective. And so obviously Emma is not very advanced emotionally, because she’s someone who, the only way they survive is to shut down and put up a thick wall of armor to be able to not get hurt over and over again... so her first reaction to something is to not deal with it, to shut down, and her next reaction is to make a joke out of it, and her third reaction is to start to deal with the fact there might be emotions going on and start trying to figure out how to accept them. So she’s definitely got a process that she has to go through to even get to a place where she can start to deal with emotions. So that’s going to complicate the way that reunion goes down—it’s not going to just be happy-go-lucky, there’s a lot to work out.
You obviously have your emotional hands full, but is there a chance Emma’s getting a love interest this season?
Yeah, I mean that’s something I really want to have happen this season for sure. Season 1 for Emma was really about falling in love with Henry and Season 2 is now her reconciling with her parents in some way and opening herself to the possibility of romantic love. That’s a whole new level of adventure for her of course. I feel like it makes sense, in real life we have to deal with our own issues of childhood or our parents and when we put those things in perspective that’s when we become capable of opening ourselves to healthy relationships in our own lives. So I think it makes sense, especially since we’re dealing with fairy-tale-themed situations that they would sort of have those two things coinciding in Emma’s life.
So is Jared Gilmore growing right before your eyes right now?
Yeah! We’re always like, “How tall is he going to be today?” but it’s working. He definitely has grown a bit but he still has that boyish term. I think what’s so great about him in that role is that he’s a real kid. In between he wants to play video games and run around with his sister and have fun back home... I think there’s a real kid element in him that comes through in that character and really serves the storytelling. You don’t feel like you’re watching like, you know, the Olivier of children where he’s like “Iiii’m a great ACTOR!”... you have those kids sometimes who are such actors at that age they don’t seem like kids, and he’s a nice balance of both, so despite the growing his youthful spirit is shining through.
What are the pros and cons of green screen?
(Groans) Well, I have found the green screen gives me nightmares but only because that color does not go well with my personality. That color is highly anxious for me, for some reason. But it gives us the capacity to do some VERY cool things. It’s a Catch-22 with that, because as much as you can get to hour twelve, and your eyes are bugging out of your head and you don’t know what to do with yourself because you’ve been staring at a green, bright green, fluorescent green room for twelve hours, at the end of the day ON SET they’ve already built the place and overlayed it with what you’re shooting. So you have the immediate gratification of seeing what it’s like. It’s AMAZING to be able to see what they’re capable of. I always say we could never shoot this show without green tape, because we reconstruct all the geography on this green room with green tape, and that’s how you know where a wall is or where a pillar is or a window is or a piece of furniture or whatever. I was like, “How would we ever make this show without green tape?" Really, green tape is what holds Once Upon a Time together. It’s definitely an adventure in there but I think a well-worth-it adventure. We’re in a time now where technology is such that we can create anything, and that’s what’s new about television and film these days. These kind of fantasy stories could never have been told in this way 20 years ago. What’s new is we can put fantasy onscreen and make it look real.
Once Upon a Time Season 2 premieres this Sunday, September 30 at 8pm on ABC.