Friday, March 9, 2012

TV: Interview with Once Upon a Time's Gennifer Goodwin

Ginny Goodwin as Mary Margaret in Once Upon a Time

Great interview from the Los Angeles Times with Once Upon a Time's Gennifer Goodwin on her role of Snow White. A few things I had never thought about before that make me feel a little better about the series (Full Article).


On David and Mary Margaret's relationship:

"[P]eople are forgetting that he’s cursed. The thing is, this couple will always put obstacles in their own way because they are cursed.  That is what makes them different from their fairy-tale counterparts. In fairy-tale land, external things are always the obstacles.  In Storybrook, just like in the modern world, these are people who insist on putting obstacles in their own way. And I think that Mary Margaret is addicted to disappointment so she puts herself in situations that are impossible — and that almost make her happy. Her curse, as inflicted by the Evil Queen, is that just when she’s about to possess her happiness, she finds a way to make things bad for herself and to have those things taken away from her. 
I feel that in many ways, she should have forgiven David and been more empathetic to his situation. He did make a mistake, but he’s a good man and he was trying so hard to keep someone from hurting in not telling his wife about the other woman — even though it’s not really his wife. Snow White’s really his wife, and he doesn’t really have any kind of relationship with this woman because all of his memories of his relationship with Katherine are false. But that’s just another example of Mary Margaret keeping herself from happiness because instead of growing and evolving and compromising in relationships in the way that we should in order to make ourselves happy, she has a knee-jerk reaction, when there’s any sign of conflict, to push people away. And that’s her curse. And David’s curse is that he is insecure and he is paralyzed by guilt; he’s so set in doing the right thing that he actually makes everything far too messy. I feel like he sort of stalls like a car when there’s possibility that he’s hurt someone."
On the fairy tale Snow White:
I found that the things that affected my process the most were these critical analyses of fairy tales.  There are these textbooks that break down what the importance was of each fairy tale in the time they were told.  And I found all of that so fascinating. In reading the breakdowns, I read a lot about Snow White’s own vanity and her competition with her mother — or evil stepmother — and that greatly changed how I saw Snow White and understanding what that story was originally meant to teach. Because then I started seeing Snow White as a bit of a spoiled brat when she was younger and she was someone who did cherish the attention she won from her father over the woman that he married. The Grimms’ version tells of Snow White’s own vanity and her not being able to turn down the beautiful comb that was offered to her by the hag or the laces that the hag offeres her to hang around her neck.  She was wrapped up in her own beauty.  And the message was that her own vanity would kill her. I really liked that idea, and I’ve incorporated it subtly into my characterization.
This really helps to shed some light on the choices they are making in the show. And why Storybrook is so frustrating, No one is allowed to have their happy ending; everyone ends up self-sabotaging.

As for Snow White's vanity, I find that interpretation intriguing. Everyone always sets up Snow White and the Queen as polar opposites. Snow White is always pure and good, goes into the forest, remains pure and good, and then dies and gets the prince. I like the idea that that she was almost as vain as the queen, and the comb and ribbons/ corset were a metaphor about how vanity would kill her. It also gives the opportunity for her time in the forest to change her for the better. Its a much more interesting story that way. I can see hints of it in Once Upon a Time: Mary Margaret having plunging necklines when she is in love, the "scarf/ no scarf" question when she is about to go door to door, the severe shame she feels when the town looks at her as a "harlot." People can be good, and still be vain. I have a feeling that we will see more of that as the "What Snow White did to the Queen to Make Her Evil" is revealed.

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