Calgary Expo 2015: Lana Parrilla (and the Queens of Darkness)
Updated: May 15, 2020
I attended the "Once Upon a Time" panel, titled 'Queens of Darkness', and it was instantly clear that they were all fast friends.
I’m going to jot down some of the stories he shared in point form here because my memory is terrible and I need to get this down before I forget ( these are not in chronological order, sorry ):
When Victoria Smurfit was sitting in full Cruella makeup for the first time, in just a skull cap, she had a panic attack. “OMG This isn’t going to work! I look like a man in drag!” But Lana Parrilla jumped in to save the day by saying “Put the wig on! Put the wig on!” and Victoria immediately calmed down because Lana was right: the wig completed the look.
Apparently Cruella DeVil’s driving was so bad that she made Ursula cry. XD
They had a blast in Cruella’s car, rocking out to the Bee Gees at 3am. It must have been a sight to behold!
When shooting scenes in cold Vancouver forests, everyone was jealous of Victoria’s costume, what with it being all warm furs. However, Victoria walked through those forests in heels because “she couldn’t walk like Cruella without them” while the others dressed more comfortably. For example, Merrin Dungey said she was “wearing sweat pants and galoshes under my dress.”. So... It seemed like a wash to me. :P
They all agreed that the costume does influence how an actor portrays a character. The fit of the dresses affected how they walk, trains determined how they move, props could determine certain quirks, etc.
When Kristin Bauer asked if she should use her staff as a walking stick, Merrin apparently said “You’re not Gandalf!” just as the camera rolled, causing Kristin to laugh and ruin the take.
According to the Queens of Darkness, dressing is the easy part ( takes about 20 minutes ). It’s the makeup that takes forever ( about 2.5 hours for the full Queen of Darkness transformation ). O.O
They were asked if they were recognized as their characters outside of the show and Victoria was happy to say that she looks nothing like Cruella off set ( which is good news because apparently her dog almost looks like a Dalmatian ). XD
Victoria challenged "Once Upon a Time" to find a way to write Goofy in. YESSSSSSS!
Lana was apparently still being told ‘how to through a fire ball’ despite being a show veteran. “Excuse me? I’ve been throwing fire balls for four years. I’m the one who came up with this method of throwing a fire ball!”
Kristin was about to watch the new "Maleficient" movie when she got the call that she'd be reprising her role in OUAT. So she opted not to watch it yet as she didn't want to constantly worry whether or not she was channeling Angelina. Though she guessed that her costume had changed because of the movie—she was more than happy to take any Angelina spillover—but she couldn’t confirm that for herself until she FINALLY got to watch the movie which was only just recently ( she loved it, btw ).
When asked what they liked about playing villains, Victoria said it was very therapeutic. When playing a baddie during the day, she was mellow later at home. After playing a good guy all day, "family watch out!" when she gets home. XD
Kristin said that it’s so much fun playing a villain because they are so unapologetic. That good guys, and people in general, are always worried about what others think of them, if not during the interaction then afterward. Villains don’t care what others think. They are what they are and others can take it or leave it. It’s very liberating.
After the panel, my father and I went to Lana Parrilla's Photo Op. Goodness, she was lovely!
“Hi," I said, "I hope you’re enjoying yourself today.”
“Why yes, I am," she replied, her smile was so genuine and happy, "How about you?”
OMG, I was like “Definitely!”
After the flash, I said “Have a great weekend!” and I got a “You too!”. Even though all this happened in seconds, even more rushed than usual because the convention was closing for the day, I was blown away by her... I don't know how to describe it. Poise? Congeniality? Regal? Upon meeting her I immediately felt like she was confident, reliable, strong and trustworthy while at the same time seeming warm, gentle, friendly and kind... I don't know.
All I know for sure is that WOW did she make an impression on me. And though I can't describe what kind of impression it was, specifically, I do know that it was intrinsically good. Yeah. I always knew that she was gorgeous, but now I know it’s DEFINITELY not skin deep.