Highlights from the Eion Bailey, Sinqua Walls, and Robbie Kay Panel (Lee Arenberg moderating) at Creation NJ
Question for Robbie: Was it hard to take yourself seriously playing Robert Carlyle’s dad? “Yeah it was a constant struggle to try to take that seriously. They didn’t actually tell me I was 250 years old in the show and Rumplestiltskin’s father until about three episodes in. About three episodes into filming they were like ‘oh by the way this is happening now and you are part of the ever growing family tree….’ and I was like thanks for telling me now. But yeah it was kind of weird to wrap my head around. We got used to it. But Robert Carlyle is good to be around and he is a professional while we’re working so that made it very easy.”
Question to the Group: Favorite scene:
Sinqua: the first one for his character. The entire first episode with Snow and Charming in 2.03.
Robbie: the end of 3.01 when Pan reveals himself to Henry.
Eion: showing up into town on the motorcycle in 1.09.
A general conversation about the difference between acting in film and tv where you know the entire arc of a character versus being cast and you may not even know who you are playing.
Sinqua: About his casting: “When I went into do it I read for a totally different character. I said I think you made a mistake. No you read for the right character they just never told you the name. It was very covert.”
Lee Arenberg: Now a days they’ll just give you a scene from something to see what you do that isn’t what you are going to play.
Sinqua: “Or they’ll give you a scene from something that doesn’t even exist. They’ll give you something that says like… Rescue Rangers… I don’t know how I’m going to play this but I’ll be the best chipmunk I can be.” Eion: “Did you say chipmunk?” Lee: “I think he said Rescue Rangers.”
Question to the Group: If you could put one episode of Once Upon a Time and put it in a time capsule what would it be:
Robbie: The pilot.
Eion: “I’ll say, when Mars is colonized, you take the box set and send it out on the discovery mission to Mars and it gets planted in that red dirt… When earth is no longer… plants have risen and taken over Manhattan… a new form of dinosaur is roaming the planet… over on Mars some Mars-o-naunt is going to be like terraforming some hydroponic tomatoes or something there is going to be Once Upon a Time the entire series and people are going to be like that’s what it was like there and they’re going to think earth was like Once Upon a Time!”
Sinqua: “I can not… I can not… he goes to Mars-o-nauts …”
Lee: “You are going to play a Mars-o-naut as a chipmunk…”
Sinqua: “I say chipmunk and everyone’s crazy but he goes Mars-o-naut and everything is cool?”
Question to the Group: You all have pretty established fairy tale or legendary characters. How did you go about makign the part your own?
Robbie: Found it freeing to take a character who was generally considered nice and put an entirely new spin on it.
Lee: Complimenting Robbie on the charm to his evil. And on his acting chops.
Eion: When he found out he was playing Pinocchio he had to think “what does Pinocchio want? He wants to be a real boy. So I could translate that to wanting to be authentic and true and the desire to be authentic and true and finding yourself not. We all desire to be more something than we are because there is some aspect of our selves that we respect and appreciate to further and nurture. And that one was something that I could understand too. Like I sometimes catch myself being inauthentic at times when meeting someone and afterwords I think ‘fuck why was I not more real? My true self? Why was I politicking… or presenting an idea that is not truly myself?’ Once I find as an actor that core element is very much like the character and the characters aspirations than it’s a simpler process.”
Lee: “Did you know you were Pinocchio early on?”
Lee: “That was a great mystery on the show even those of us working on the show.”
Eion: “I was reading a scene where I was in the diner talking to Emma telling her a story about having been on these travels in Nepal and in Nepal there is ruins of a monastery and around the monastery there were jumping these lemurs. And I knew lemurs don’t live in Nepal they live in Madagascar. So I wrote to Adam and Eddy.. like could they really have not known that? And I wrote the two writers and said ‘you probably know this but lemurs don’t live in Nepal just thought I’d let you know.’ And they wrote back ‘no, you are not being truthful.’ And there I knew.” [Editor’s note: He’s told this story several times before and he is mismembering, it’s Ruby and it’s the scene at the beginning of 1.15]
Sinqua: “I had the biggest cheat sheet.” Because there were so many people who have played Lancelot he could look at all of these performances.
Question for Robbie: How did you like playing a villain, isn’t it a twist on Peter Pan? “I loved it! I can’t say that enough. I had such a good time shooting Once. Such a good time playing it. You know it’s cool getting to be the hero and being the good guy but being able to walk on set every day and act along side people who just looked like they wanted to kill you all the time. That was an element of satisfaction in that. Having said that it was nice having a respite in the episode when I switch rolls with Henry and actually got to play a role where people didn’t look they wanted to kill me. That was nice too. The cast were all wonderful and I had such a good time shooting the show.”
Question for Robbie: What would have happened if Pan, Felix and Henry united in the underworld? “That’s a good question Where was Felix? Why wasn’t he with me? The fucker.” He said it would have been interesting and to expand what was happening between when Pan died and when we meet him running the Underbrooke pawn shop.
Question for the Group: Favorite costume:
Sinqua: “I was fortunate that the armor was not as uncomfortable as it looked. They found a good little compromise for how to make this metal, chain metal, plastic concoction not completely feel like I was dressed uncomfortably all the time. I could go to the bathroom really easily. I was amazed how quickly I could take the belt off go to the bathroom and put it back on. […] I really loved all of my costumes.”
Eion: “It’s always funny to go into that costume shop because there is Eduardo who comes out in a cape or something and all these people are bent over these tables sewing machines and they look up like… like some sort of sweet shop.”
Robbie: “Like he comes out of a warden’s office… ‘BACK TO WORK YOU… how are you?’ And you are like ‘Are you okay? You get paid right?’
Robbie: One of his favorite costumes was the pied piper costume from 3.04 because it was different from the green Pan costume.
Eion: “All I ever wore was a black leather jacket.” At some point Bailey bought a black leather jacket because he doesn’t want to look like August in the world.
Robbie: “I have the same issue with my costume when I wear it out in the world.”
Question for Robbie: Who in the acting business did you piss off that you keep dying? “I’ll give you a list.”
Eion: “That’s an amazing question. Very bold.”
Robbie: “I came back before maybe I’ll come back again.”
Lee: “I actually think it’s the opposite. Instead of pissing someone off it means they’re really investing in your death it means you are really radical.” That deaths are great moments we remember. “Like Sean’s death on our show.”
Audience: “TOO SOON!”
Question for the Group: Eion speaks a made up langauge he talks to his son. Robbie speaks some french. Sinqua just starts giggling and speaks really bad Spanglish.
Question for the Group: Who would you want to be on the show.
Both praise Robert Carlyle.
Eion: “Back to language for just a moment….” Eion tells people to try and make an effort to learn a little of a language when traveling.
Question for the Group: Favorite fairy tales:
Robbie: My own.
Sinqua: “My favorite fair tale has always been Beauty and the Beast.”
Question for Eion: How did you film the nose torture scene from 4.15? “It’s done after the fact. There is nothing practical there… well what they did do is they made a wooden nose in three different lengths so I could see what they were going to do….” and to set up focal lengths. “It’s just straight up acting like my nose is growing and it’s painful…”
Question for Robbie: Were you nervous to play Peter Pan? “It’s a little daunting to go into a role that is so iconic. Better not mess this up.”
Question for the Group (which only Robbie answered): Most memorable moment:
Robbie: “Trying to go to the loo. There were plenty of wonderful moments for me. Being able to work with a fantastic ensemble cast.” Always laughing. The crew and the cast. “They are very Canadian in their political correctness.”
Question for the Group: Favorite person to work with:
Sinqua: Everyone he worked with on the show. “I can honestly say that Once Upon a Time goes down as my favorite filming experience. The producer are great, the cast is phenomenal, shooting in the city of Vancouver is amazing. Every aspect of it … I didn’t have a favorite because I loved every aspect of the process.”
Eion: After season 1 started airing seeing the 150 or more fans who came from all over the world filming and it turned it into doing live theater.
At this point Sinqua discovered his baggage claim ticket stuck to his jacket. There were a lot of jokes about how he traveled in the luggage compartment.
Sinqua had a traumatic experience going through TSA because he had been doing push ups in grass the day before at a bbq and the fertilizer set off the TSA bomb detection equipment.
Eion: “Word to the wise about TSA. And someone is going to be glad I said this. I went though security just recently and there was something found like a bottle of water and I was like yeah get rid of that and then they swabbed it and they said you are going to have to go further checking. And after they finished with my back I asked what the red flag was and they said the ‘a substance, a residue of something came up in your bag.’ And I was like what are you talking about? And then I realized oh I keep herb in here in this bag. And there it was the tiniest little crystals of green I realized I better not… they patted me down my angles my arm pits my everything. And I realized right there that either I need to get a whole new set of bags or not travel with these. If there are any stoners in the room…”
At this point Robbie Key looked like he wanted to find somewhere else to be…
Question for Eion: Where has August been? “He left Storybrooke and moved to Japan. But he has a special place in his heart for Storybrooke, you never know he might go back at some point. But it’s another realm he crossed that barrier. He crossed the town line… but if the town folks asked him to come back he might just come back…”
Question for Eion: Who would you be shipped with? “I don’t know if you know this but I was always working a little side angle, it was never in the writing, giving a kind of wink to Granny. You know August likes those older ladies. There is so much wisdom in an older woman.” Audience suggests Old Leather as a ship name.
At this point Eion asks the audience to explain shipping. The audience goes crazy.
Robbie: “Don’t ask don’t ask don’t ask… Didn’t you hear the way they responded to that word?” Robbie looks at the audience “Ship” *makes an arms in the air motion* *audience screams* “It’s like if you just mention Lana Parrilla out of the blue.” *audience screams even louder*
Eion: “So there are certain key words that just evoke pandemonium.”
Audience shouts a bunch including ship names.
Robbie: “See what you’ve done?”
Eion: “Swan Queen there is another.”
Audience cheers, other ship names are shouted.
Eion: “Old leather is the best. I kind of have a crush on Beverly Elliott. Is she here?”
Question for the Group: If you could be on another show who would you want to play:
Robbie: “I’d love to play someone like Jon Snow. I love that show. It’s one of my favorite shows on tv right now. I just need to grow my hair out a little bit.”
Eion: Confused Highlander and Outlander. Mostly apparently wants to wear a kilt and fight the English.
Just a few of my pictures from Creation’s OUAT NJ Convention (2016). These and more will be uploaded on my flickr at some point. Pictured: Emilie de Ravin, Rebecca Mader, Lee Arenberg, Sean Maguire, Eion Bailey, Sinqua Walls, Robbie Kay