Ginnifer Goodwin: A fairy-tale role as Snow White
In this image provided by ABC, Ginnifer Goodwin portrays fairy-tale heroine Snow White in a scene from the ABC series "Once Upon a Time." (AP photo/ABC, Chris Helcermanas-Benge)
NEW YORK (AP) — Once upon a time, a beautiful actress won the role of fairy-tale heroine Snow White in an enchanting new series.
Not only that, but the actress scored a parallel role. She would also play schoolteacher Mary Margaret Blanchard, a present-day transformation of Snow White who, thanks to a curse by the Evil Queen, is trapped in the village of Storybrooke, Maine, with fellow fairy-tale folk — all of whom have forgotten their pasts as storybook characters and, now stranded in the artifice of real life, been denied every fairy-tale character's birthright: the promise of a happy ending.
The actress, of course, is Ginnifer Goodwin, whose series, "Once Upon a Time," has emerged as one of the fall season's biggest hits. It airs its second episode Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC. Also starring on the show are Josh Dallas, Lana Parrilla, Robert Carlyle, Jared Gilmore and Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan, a Boston bail bondswoman who is drawn into the mystery of Storybrooke (and who turns out to be Snow White's long-lost daughter).
"Once" has arrived alongside NBC's "Grimm," which, inspired by Grimm's classic fairy tales, pits a homicide detective against mythological creatures living among humans in his Portland, Ore., hometown. It premieres Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern.
"It seems strange to me that there have been a lot of joint reviews of the two shows," says Goodwin. "The only thing I see we have in common is that we both draw from a certain expansive genre of literature."
She makes a good point. The whimsical abandon of "Once" is its own thing, recalling, if anything, other sui generis shows such as "Pushing Daisies" and "Ugly Betty" and, befitting its creators, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, the myth-entangled "Lost," on which they both were producers.
"I was addicted to 'Lost'! I'm an eekie-geekie fan of theirs!" says Goodwin, by way of explaining why she scarcely paused before joining their new project when she got the invitation.
The 33-year-old Goodwin is best known as the youngest of three sister wives to Bill Paxton on the HBO polygamy drama "Big Love," which concluded its run earlier this year. Her films include "Mona Lisa Smile" and "Walk the Line."
Now she has the dual challenges of playing one role that was created from scratch, Mary Margaret, and one role that everyone has known from infancy: Snow White.
"I thought there might be pressure to live up to such an iconic character as Snow White," she says, but adds emphatically, "There's not. The parts of the story that we're addressing are always things that could have happened off-page. I'm not re-enacting any part of the Snow White story you've read before, or seen in a movie, nor is anybody else re-enacting parts of their stories you're familiar with.
"Besides, we throw all the fairy-tale characters together. Why couldn't Snow White and Cinderella have been friends?
The series opens with Prince Charming awakening the poisoned Snow White with a kiss. That was on last week's premiere (which drew a fantastic 13 million viewers, even up against Fox's World Series and NBC's "Sunday Night Football"). The story goes on from there.
Much to Goodwin's surprise, Mary Margaret (whose pixie haircut is the style Goodwin has sported for years beneath the wigs other characters obliged her to wear) has proved to be far more demanding than Snow White to play.