Highlights from the Raphael Sbarge Panel at Creation NJ.
What is Archie been doing? “What has Archie been doing… What has Archie been doing… a whole bunch of other things. You know he’s got a big client list… and you know he’s not allowed to talk about his clients. Archie’s been doing other things basically. You know I get emailed or tweeted essentially probably 30-40 times a day about where the heck is Archie and I don’t have an answer! I just want to say I love being here. I love being part of the show.”
On being recognized on the street. “I get all sorts of responses….” *followed by him imitating incoherent flailing* “It’s me! Sometimes people just throw their arms around me. Which is weird and random on the subway. I get various responses. Which is lovely. I feel mostly very warm responses. Which is sweet. I’ve mostly gotten used to it. What people do and what people say is how much the character means to them, and how much Jiminy Cricket means to them. And how much they were touched in their heart by this character which means a lot to me.”
(Unheard question). “Yes I kept thinking I had enormous job security as a therapist in Storybrooke.”
“I saw it was Jared’s birthday the other day and I felt sort of amazed. I’ve watched him grow up from the early days of sitting in therapy with Henry.”
“What’s really cool about Pongo is that he’s actually the agility champion of Canada. Which is an enormous distinction. One of the strongest animals besides a horse I’ve ever met. When they yell cut you just go ‘urghg’…” *imitating lurching forward* “I learned to preserve my neck to let go of the leash he’s so strong. He’s a beautiful dog. I think they wanted to create this … he’s so pretty. He’s really a beautiful dog. I’m very proud of Pongo. Though I approach gently…”
Question: One of my favorite parts of the series is when bravery comes in different forms and to me one of the most brave things I saw anyone ever do was Archie go to the Evil Queen in early season 2 and ask her if she wanted to talk about her pain. What were Archie’s motivations for going to this very scary woman who had been part of his life as a very scary person, what made him do that? - “Yeah… the thing that is so thoughtful about this show is the heroes journeys and the call to find the strength. I feel like his entire motive for trying to help Regina was about trying to help Henry. Trying to help her get back to the better angels of her nature so that she would consider those around her and be better. I think he also saw that there was a good person in there. What I think Lana does brilliantly is show that this is a woman who is not just an Evil Queen she’s got so much more. She’s got a kaleidoscope of emotions and feelings. We go from rooting for her and hating her and loving her. That’s what she does. But again I think he was trying to reach to her, to speak to that good part in her and try to elevate that.”
What did you like best about your character? “I loved the therapy. I loved my relationship with Henry. I loved that I was sort of… especially in those early seasons… like a second dad for him even though he has two moms.” An extended talk about how much he loves the cast. “I loved being part of a show with such a big heart. I love that people come up to me and say my whole family watches the show: my grandmother and my kids, my wife and I sit down and we all love the show. That’s an amazing thing to be a part of. I work a lot. I’m on another show now. I do a lot of film and television but this is the story that I feel apart of….”
His Murder in the First character “couldn’t be too much farther from Archie…” but that he has a bit of a conscious and maybe those qualities follow you as an actor.
“When I first read the script [of the pilot] I said this is unbelievable! But oh no they’re going to mess it up. It’s too good how are they going to do this?” But that once they saw the finished pilot it was so much better than he’d imagined. “The amazing thing is that we get messages from all over the world. Some American content does not travel. Meaning that it does not necessarily play well in other countries. I’m astonished, from Russia to Japan to China to Ireland, England, South America, Norway, I mean everywhere this show plays so well. It’s been an incredible ride.”
About playing both Archie and the Cricket: “You know the cricket is actually as you know CGI and done in after effects. I’m essentially a voice actor at that point and that’s fun. But I also like being on set. So it’s just different. I have a career voicing video games, I don’t know if they knew that when they cast me but it’s fun playing a part that also has a voice over aspect to it. I’ve enjoyed that a lot. I know that they’ve flirted with having him in and out and me not voicing it. It’s utterly delightful to go back and forth.”
Is it weird to see yourself as a cricket? “It’s totally weird to see yourself as a cricket.”
About being a child actor on Sesame Street: “I was living on the lower east side back in the late sixties. And one of my mother’s friends said they’re starting this new show and they need kids do you want to be on the show. I don’t remember this because I was four. But apparently they approached my mom. My mother was a costume designer in the theater. She’s done 20 shows on Broadway and been a professor at Yale and is really a very accomplished designer. And we were living in a commune on the lower East Side in the sixties. And I guess kind of on a lark … it was being shot down town and I went over and did a few. And then I did a few more. And then apparently they offered me a contract to do a bunch of them and my mother said no because she didn’t want to be a stage mother and she also felt she wanted it to be my choice later on. It’s a hard road being an actor and she didn’t want to thrust me on that without me being aware of it. And I thought that was thoughtful. And based on someone who was in the business. But I remember distinctly meeting Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch in his trash can and I was amazed because they seemed so real to me. I mean how … wow… the puppeteering was so amazing. And Mr. Hooper… [crowd reacts and claps] … he and I sat on a donkey and he and I talked about the difference between donkeys and horses. So I would give anything to see that again. I guess they have it out now … I guess they’ve released the seasons. A friend of mine is producing a documentary about Sesame Street… and I know now it’s on HBO… it’s such a wonderful thing to remember. I remember vividly being on Sesame Street.”
How did Archie come to marry Rumple and Belle, did Mr. Gold go at him with a cane or did he feel like he owed Belle for saving his life? “It was very powerful being there that day. It was in the middle of this forest, this beautiful rain forest in Vancouver. We have access to these forests that regular people can’t get in. You need special permits … breathtaking. Under this incredible canape of trees… with these lost mine paths… just lit up. The trees all lit up with moonlight. A moonlight serenade. I had very little to do right… so I had to just stand there and bare witness. I remember being off camera crying. I was so touched by their work. It was like being able to go up and watch two stunningly beautiful actors really connect. It was really something.”
He loved that Archie was there (at the Rumbelle wedding) because it seemed that Archie represents hope and trying to do good and trying to do the right thing. “We felt like for that moment everything would really turn out alright.”
On playing a killer on Criminal Minds: “I remember when that came out. It was not long after I’d been on Once Upon a Time and I got a lot of ‘AHHHH ARCHIE’S KILLING PEOPLE!’ Those parts are really fun to do, the juicy bad guys. As Lana will tell you those are the best parts. They’re the best parts.”
About doing research on being a psychiatrist: “I did years and years of research. Years and years and years. I’ve been in therapy and it’s wildly helpful.” Playing a teacher or a therapist is a great honor.
Who needs some therapy with Archie? Fan: A lot of people on the show are really messed up… (he agrees).
Memories of being in Risky Business: He was 18 and just graduated high school. “That guy Tom …. what happened to him?”
“They wrote the most sad backstory in the first season for Jiminy Cricket. He didn’t just wake up one day to be the poster child for Have a Conscious. He actually with the dolls, with his story, he came to his conscious for having done the wrong thing for so long that he finally decided to devote his life to something else. It still moves me.”
What advise would Archie give Henry about being the Author: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
If Archie was talking to Regina now, how would he respond to her growth? “Woo Girl.” [Crowd laughter] “Lana is a rock star. I mean it. And what she gets to do is really … I mean the full spectrum of good and bad and you love her and you hate her and you love to hate her. And you always love her. She makes it looks easy. She’s just a consummate actor. I … it’s a big step to step into a therapists office and to ask advise and to let your guard down and to reach out for help. Maybe at some point that opportunity will come. I would love that.”
Favorite Disney parks attraction: Space Mountain.
Favorite Season: I’m partial to the first season because I had more to do in it.