Skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony… and a heart with a dark mark on it.
When "Once Upon a Time" returns for its third season Sunday, Snow White and her family and foes are on a boat headed for the second star on the right, straight on 'til morning. They're traveling to Neverland to rescue Henry, Snow's grandson, who was pulled into that world by a portal. And what they find there… well, it's not like what the books say!
Ginnifer Goodwin chatted by phone with Yahoo TV about exploring the "sinister" new world — and how Snow gets more "aggressive" this season.
What's the overall theme this season? Last year, everybody was getting pulled apart and trying to find their way back to each other.
We all certainly have our own personal journeys that will be addressed. Snow White's going to have to learn to reconcile the two different parts of herself. The curse was broken the first season. The second season, she would fluctuate between these disparate personalities. Now she's going to have to let go [of] some of Snow White's faults and Mary Margaret's weaknesses. She's sort of two people smushed together right now, and she has to become one congruous person.
The atmosphere on the boat must be pretty tense! You've got Snow, Emma, Rumplestiltskin, Regina…
It's really all about putting our egos aside. You've sort of got this cave of superheroes; we're like our own sort of Avengers. We need to learn what being a team really is. There's always been so much conflict between all of us, and if we're too distracted by those conflicts, we're not going to achieve our goal.
Snow's got that black mark on her heart. Will that change her relationships with David (Josh Dallas) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison)?
It's more of a matter of Snow having to learn to live with it. It can't go anywhere. It's a matter of her overcoming it, assuaging her guilt, letting go of the things that hold her back.
Snow was always so pure and good. Is it nice to play her a bit darker?
Oh my gosh, absolutely! I get a little tired of her goodness. I do think that Snow has always been selfish and a bit impulsive, has struggled with vanity in her own ways, and is self-righteous. I do think there are things about her that are imperfect. That's why I love playing her — she's not the innocent bystander of the animated feature.
But she is someone who always sees the silver lining, and that does get annoying sometimes. And you mix that with Mary Margaret, who was something of a doormat. And most women will give anyone a 400th chance, which I cannot abide. I just find it so intolerable.
So I was ecstatic when Snow/Mary Margaret crossed over to the dark side, and created something of a "Snow Gray." I'd like to go back there more. I'm working on an episode now, and get to play more impatient and aggressive qualities. And it might only last for an episode, but it's such a relief for me to not be sunny.
The show's creators, Adam Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis, like to play with our expectations. What will we learn about Neverland?
We know from the finale last year that Peter Pan is a villain of whom even Rumplestiltskin is afraid. The next step is to realize that Neverland is a more sinister place than we thought. Neverland is going to bring out qualities in everyone that are not necessarily what we expect. That's going to be fun for the audience to figure out what those things will be, based on what they learn about Neverland early on.
I was excited by everything it brought out, because we get to address our own personal journeys, but also how those personal journeys are going to affect each other. It really is a year of self-analysis and character dynamics, and that's what I was ready for after a whole season where there was so much action. There was so much story that we weren't really getting to sit and talk about our relationships. As an audience member and as an actress, that was something that I was keen to have happen.
There are more new characters introduced this season: Ariel, Tinker Bell. Has there ever been a character you thought you might have wanted to play, aside from Snow?
Yeah. There is a character that we have coming on this season, in fact, that I think would've been a lot of fun to explore, but ultimately Snow White was always my favorite. She was my dream princess. But all of us have sat and gone, "I wonder what it would've been like if I'd played Emma, and you had been Rumplestiltskin, and so and so had been Ariel and Robin Hood and Tinker Bell."
As an actor, these writers give us so much juice, there's so much to play, we've certainly all sat around and talked about [it].
Get a sneak peek at the new season of "Once Upon a Time" right here:
"Once Upon a Time" premieres Sunday, September 29 at 8 p.m. on ABC.