Everyone knows how the story of Snow White and Prince Charming ends, but actually, this isn't the end... In our story, this is only the beginning. What if Snow White and Prince Charming had a baby girl, Emma, who was the savior against the Evil Queen's curse that she stole from Rumplestiltskin, who is in love with Belle. Who is good friends with Red Riding Hood, who's actually the big bad wolf, who also befriends Snow White while she's on the run from Regina the Evil Queen who casts the dark curse sending everyone except for Pinocchio and baby savior Emma to a small town in Maine. Where 28 years later they all live with no memory of who they really are.
Do you know this man?
So that makes Snow White, Prince Charming, Rumplestiltskin, Red Riding Hood, and everyone else from Belle to the Blue Fairy all related.
Only one thing is certain.
You following so far?
Hope so. Because it's about to get a lot more interesting.
What are you doing?
Tonight, we go behind the scenes and show you how we make it all happen.
Welcome to Once Upon A Time: Secrets of Storybrooke.
The story goes that Charming and snow get married and live, you know, happily ever after.
Except for the two guys you are about to meet, that just wasn't good enough, was it?
And do you, Snow White, promise to take this man to be your husband and love him for all eternity?
For starters, what if, just as snow and Charming finally get everything they want, this happens...
We originally had this idea in 2002, when we were young writers. We were talking about how frustrating it would be to be the Evil Queen.
And we thought, how horrible would it be to be in a place where you never get to win?
I shall destroy your happiness if it is the last thing I do.
And then it kind of morphed into, what if the queen, you know, cast a curse that brought everybody to a place where she could finally win, where happy endings aren't guaranteed.
Well, that would be our world.
And this idea had stuck with us When it came time to cast the pilot.
Snow White we wrote for Ginnifer Goodwin.
We didn't think we would get her, but we were like, she was the model for Snow White.
And, as it happened... she was my favorite princess growing up. I had brown hair.
I could relate. I also had an obsession with Disney princesses and desperately wanted to play one.
What we didn't realize was what a huge Disney geek she was.
I got a phone call from my reps and they said, "we've got one we think might be of interest to you."
They said, "they're asking you to play Snow White."
And I was like, "I'm in!"
My princess costume?
A red leather jacket and a gun. Perfect.
The fairy tales in the past sort of presented this idea that women were damsels in distress and they needed to be saved by this man and that he was gonna sweep her off her feet and make everything okay and she was just gonna be fine.
And I always wondered, like, what are they doing in that castle? That just sounds so boring.
Jennifer Morrison, we had loved from "house" and "how I met your mother." We were literally watching "how I met your mother" and her character was written off the show and we immediately called and we were like, "is she available?
Eddy and Adam are reinventing the idea of fairy tales and the role that female heroes play in these stories. And so Emma is definitely a representation of that.
We wanted a Rumplestiltskin character, and Robert Carlyle was the only one we had in mind for that.
You're my oldest friend.
Well, when I found out that I was gonna be playing Captain Hook, I couldn't, you know, sort of wrap my head around it, really. Because I expected him to be a bit older and have the long hair and the big twirly mustache.
Let my wrath be unleashed.
The Evil Queen was funny because we had never met Lana before and she came in to read for us, and she did one go-through on the scene, and she scared us to death. Like, we were terrified in our seats Sorry I'm late.
And at the end of the reading we were like, "thank you."
She nailed it. And, you know, we went right to the network and said, "we found our Evil Queen."
This is my happy ending.
If I told you how I prepared to play the Evil Queen I'd probably get locked in an insane asylum.
Where are we going?
Somewhere horrible... A place where the only happy ending will be mine.
So where can an Evil Queen catch a break? Apparently, in Maine, in a fictional town the writers called Storybrooke.
Good morning, madam mayor. Beautiful day, isn't it?
In real life, we shoot the Storybrooke scenes in a small town called Steveston, a half-hour drive outside of Vancouver, Canada.
It's about a one-day transformation to make Steveston into Storybrooke.
And we have relationships with a lot of the store vendors where we go in and put our own set decoration in their windows and our own signage. Our clock tower is actually a visual effect because the library doesn't have a big tower on top of it and we made the decision to do it digitally.
And the funny thing is, is that a lot of visitors come to the town of Steveston to see our sets and to see where they shoot the show and they wanna see the clock tower and there is no clock tower there.
Steveston had just kind of the right blend of quaint, small town, not too much modern interference. But there was just enough there that felt like it was a little bit lost in time and that's what our show is really about.
Trapped in Maine, the people of Storybrooke have issues. But they don't know why they're so unhappy.
Happy Valentine's day.
Happy Valentine's day.
And for a long time, we weren't sure either because eddy and Adam also kept the actors in the dark. We found out the same way you did, piece by piece, through those weekly flashbacks.
I love Mary Margaret flashbacks because Mary Margaret was a doormat in many ways.
I will always find you.
Aren't you a real Prince Charming.
The parallel universes on this show are really a way of saying the things that happen in those worlds are real.
They have stakes. They have consequences.
And it turns out their fairytale selves tend to be braver and tougher and, thanks to Eduardo Castro, much better dressed.
Here's the famous bandit costume which has many layers of different types of leather and suede. I would say we've created around the vicinity of 300, 350 custom-made costumes.
So here we have Prince Charming. So it's very royal at the same time and it's very masculine. And very heavy.
And he's worn this... oh my God, he's worn this so many times.
As soon as I put on tight leather, that's when I feel like Prince Charming in the enchanted forest.
Into this town of tortured amnesiacs drives the most unlikely of all fairytale heroes.
Her name... Emma Swan. And next, we've got a lot more magic. When we come back, we'll show you how it's done.
Fairy tales, like the ones in Henry's book, are all about hidden worlds, secret doors, about magic that seeps in through the cracks and time travel that's just a matter of the right fairy dust.
Well, maybe, there's more to it.
Henry, you are going to be late for school. Let's go.
But as usual, Henry is on to something.
Behind the scenes there is a lot more going on.
Because behind the show's fantastic worlds is an army of creative minds. They breath life and magical possibility into every detail.
It's about an attempt to create a universe, to create what hopefully feels like a full world so that you can explore it and hopefully for an hour each week you can live there.
It's a universe where a character like Pinocchio can use secret passageways to travel between magical worlds and the real world.
I think it represents our world, of course, and the imaginary world that kind of lives in all of our heads and that we wish we could go to sometimes.
As the stories expanded, so have the places and the people that we meet that are from these, you know, fantastic worlds. And visual effects is always part of that.
We've created victorian England, the world of "the wizard of oz," the world of "Alice In Wonderland." We've been to present-day Boston and we've been to present-day New York.
Visual effects is a big part of our show to take us to worlds where we otherwise wouldn't be able to go here in a virtual environment and try and make them feel as real as we possibly can.
But on Once Upon A Time sets and stages in and around Vancouver, the making of fairytale worlds looks more like science fiction.
Until powerful computers fill in the green void in real time to let the cast and crew preview the full scene on set.
When it's all put together they're walking around in a virtual set. Which is kind of revolutionary.
I don't know any show on television that does as much of that as our show does.
We give the filmmakers, the directors, and everybody on the set the flexibility that they need to shoot these virtual environments like they were in the real place.
Where is the beast that reigns over this castle?
That would be me.
Every script for Once Upon A Time is unexpected.
So you're always finding something or imagining a giant.
When I was fighting a dragon I had to ride this giant pickle.
I was astride that on my own just in the middle of the green stage with tons of people watching me as it bucked back and forth. As an actor you can use your imagination and that's the best part.
The camera was on this giant crane and the crane just felt like the dragon, you know. It didn't feel outrageous to me to imagine what was going on. It does feel like the ultimate game of pretend on a green screen stage.
And like every great game of pretend, you have to trust in your invisible friend. In this case, the animator.
We have to get to know all the personality details of the character so a lot of times we'll act it out ourselves.
We'll get into it. We'll build some patterns of behavior for them.
We have such an incredible visual effects team and the fact that we have so much faith in them and trust in them, makes it a lot easier for us to really go for it 'cause we know they're gonna build some horrible creature that will make our flailing look like it makes sense.
But it doesn't take too close a look behind the scenes of Once Upon A Time and you'll notice that all the high-tech wizardry relies on age-old tools of stagecraft.
Oh, there we go.
There we are, nighttime.
Set decoration, smoke, even some mobile greenery.
The secret of making it look alive is to basically make it look lived in.
Make sure there's lots of dirt, lots of debris and make sure it's not clean because most life isn't.
And then once it's populated with the people and the effects brings in things like smoke, and then you have animals and things like that, at least on this particular set, then it all starts to come to life.
What I do is essentially covering things, hiding actors behind trees, digging graves, anything. You've gotta know your trees.
You've gotta know your plants. You've gotta know what's gonna happen really quick, fast. Snip, snip, snip.
We learned something when we were shooting the pilot, which was that the worse the weather conditions are here in Vancouver, the better it's gonna look on screen.
It's sort of our favorite thing to do is go into the woods and make it look beautiful. It's going to be wet.
The horses start steaming and the actors' hair looks a little funny, but you know there's always moments of panic and then it kind of all comes together. The fog, the mist, the clouds, that's a particular texture and a particular beauty that you can't get in a man-made environment and you can't get through visual effects and you can't get in L.A.
When we get the concept draft, it's their dream.
There may be two dragons, there may be a battle somewhere, there may be lions and tigers and then from there we budget and we all talk about how can we make that happen.
We do 22 episodes a year, and it is this insane conveyor belt that kind of never stops.
Not only does all magic have a price, but for Once Upon A Time," it needs to be filmed in just eight days.
We're that good.
We have to be. We've got a lot to shoot, like riding a gigantic green pickle.
It's a mad scramble.
It's the most challenging thing about the show, the absolutely short amount of time.
We bring it down to what works and makes the story still real.
That's the challenge of it all. You go, "okay, okay, now it's one dragon. And maybe it's just a cat and not a lion. And maybe it's not a castle but a village."
We need a herd of angry black rhinos.
Just like going right through.
Sometimes Once Upon A Time's success in transporting an audience to fantastic lands week after week after week starts to look a bit like magic itself.
We wanted to write a show for believers.
You know, not everyone believes in magic, but if you do, we're the show for you.
Real page-Turner, right?
And on its 28th birthday, the child will return.
It was our way of trying to create our own fairytale character.
Like a new one.
And the final battle will begin.
We'll tell you all about it.
The curse, I think you broke it!
> The queen has created a powerful curse.
No more happy endings.
What can we do?
That little thing growing inside your belly... like I said, everyone in Storybrooke has a history.
The child will return and the final battle will begin.
This is Emma's.
In a way, it was our way of trying to create our own fairy tale character, like a new one.
And put it in the context of all these stories we grew up with and loved.
Except growing up in 20th century America, this fairytale princess has been a runaway from foster care, gone to prison for theft, had a baby but gave him up for adoption and doesn't know anything about her parents.
Can I help you?
Are you Emma Swan?
Who are you?
My name's Henry.
I'm your son. Ten years ago, did you give up a baby for adoption? That was me.
Emma's always, in a sense, I think, represented the audience a little bit.
Time is frozen here.
The Evil Queen did it with her curse.
She's always been so skeptical about everything and she's always taking in everything for the first time the same way the audience would be watching the show.
The Evil Queen sent a bunch of fairytale characters here?
Yeah, and now they're trapped.
So I've had the pleasure of being able to react to things like, they're crazy.
Then why doesn't everyone just leave?
If they try, bad things happen.
What are you doing here?
Oftentimes we start with a concept. So in the pilot, for example, Emma is coming to town. We want this town to be down on its luck and we want Emma to be the shot of color that comes in and that leads to the yellow bug, and that leads to the red jacket, and all these other kind of ideas.
He doesn't seem cursed to me.
They don't remember who they are.
Convenient. All right. I'll play.
Who's he supposed to be?
Right, the lying thing. I thought your nose grew a little bit.
I'm not Pinocchio.
Of course you're not, because that would be ridiculous.
Of course, this story, like all fairy tales, needed a believer. In this case, Emma's long-lost son, Henry. But when we meet him, he's been living among the fairytale folk of Storybrooke.
Adopted by the mayor, Regina Aka, the Evil Queen.
The missing pages, where are they?
It's an old book, stuff's missing.
What do you care?
I care because you think I'm some Evil Queen.
Jared Gilmore plays Henry, the boy who has found a book of Fairy Tales he believes explains everything.
Okay, this might take a while. Henry is the son of Emma and Neal. And Emma is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. And Neal is the son of Rumplestiltskin. Rumplestiltskin is of course his real grandpa. And Belle is kind of his other grandmother.
You left this in my car.
No one can really imagine what it means to have the responsibility of saving people's happy endings, or being responsible for someone's happiness.
It's an interesting pressure that I think that people put on themselves in real life.
I was hoping when I brought you back things would change here, that the final battle would begin.
I'm not fighting any battles, kid.
Yes, you are.
You're here because it's your destiny.
You're gonna bring back the happy endings.
Come on, cut it with the book crap.
It's enough already.
I don't know that Emma will ever fully embrace the idea of being a savior.
I have to go.
Go, you mean leave Storybrooke?
I spoke to Regina. We made a deal.
I'm still going to be able to see you, just not every day.
No. No, you can't trust her!
Henry, this isn't a story.
Of course, everything changes when Henry eats the poisoned apple turnover.
You can't eat that.
Don't you see the deal? It was all a trick to get you to eat that. To get rid of the savior.
You may not believe in the curse or in me, but I believe in you.
See? Now, do you wanna have some ice cream with that? About... and we can go back to talking about...
The sequence in the hospital where Emma's realizing she needs to do whatever it takes to save her son and then ultimately thinking that there is nothing she can do, and when she goes to kiss him to say good-bye, it totally takes a new turn on true love's kiss.
I love you, Henry.
Forever we've been raised with these ideas of fairy tales where true love's kiss is Snow White and her prince, and Cinderella and her prince, and sleeping beauty and her prince, and this show really is about family.
And this was such a big moment to express to our audience that true love comes in many forms, that Emma's true love's kiss with her son was going to save his life.
I love you too. You saved me.
What's going on?
I think you broke it.
What could possibly go wrong?
What is that?
Wait for it.
The curse... it's broken?
It appears so.
So what do we do now?
At the end of our first season, the curse is broken.
If I were you, your majesty, I'd find a place to hide.
The writers kind of sprung that one us.
I mean, curses do break, but usually that's the end of the story.
That was an unexpected surprise. We thought that the curse would be broken at the end of the entire series.
If the curse is broken, why didn't we go back?
Because there's nothing to go back to.
That land is gone.
And of course the people of Storybrooke can't really go back to who they were before.
A lot happened to those characters when they didn't know who they were. And that changed them.
And someone else had changed. Sure, she's still vengeful and violent...
I should have killed you when I could. And now, I can.
With a nasty penchant for ripping out hearts.
But pure evil is just so middle ages.
Regina is a villain for our times.
Well, there you go.
You see where good gets you?
For us, the Evil Queen wasn't just evil. She was tortured.
Rotten to the core.
And so like a female Tony soprano...
I just wanted to be loved.
I just wanted to win for once!
Over the next three seasons, Regina would become a gangster we all couldn't help but love.
I love it. It's a ton of fun.
It's been a joy to see her progression from being this evil queen to now a semi-hero.
And the transformation of her character is also stitched into her costumes.
Would you like something to drink?
Do I look like I need a drink?
Here is another Evil Queen. This is what we call a "brouse."
It is a combination bra-blouse that goes underneath this.
Now this is Evil Queen going to battle.
We cannot defeat them.
Do not tell me what we can or can't do.
As she started to become this Evil Queen, the costumes got a little more elaborate and they got bigger.
When she's full-on evil, she's just full-on evil. When she's a seductress...
You're a tortured one, aren't you, huntsman?
We gave her form-fitting, velvet dresses, very sexy.
And she wore them very well.
Regina, I'm not afraid of you.
But you really, really should be As Regina started to sort of cross over into this heroic human being, the challenges for her were more like, this doesn't feel comfortable.
It's like she's almost kind of putting on someone else's suit and trying it on for the first time and it's like, it doesn't quite fit.
What the hell am I wearing?
Her initial instinct is to do what she's always done, which is use magic.
I've missed you.
What we like to explore is characters who do the wrong thing, realize they have done the wrong thing and have to figure out how to live with that, how to either try to redeem themselves or try to justify what they've done.
I love you, Henry. More than anything.
I think my heart is the part of me that's in Regina.
I have a big heart. I do.
At least that's what everyone tells me, so I believe them.
My relationship with Jared, when we first met, we actually met in the audition room and I looked at him and I said, "you're gonna play my son." And I just knew that he was gonna get the part, and I didn't even know if I had gotten the part yet, but I knew he was gonna get it.
You said you wanted to change.
To be better.
It's the evolution of these characters that people can relate to and what we've seen with her and this transformation gives a lot of people hope.
That you don't have to stay how you are, that you have a choice.
She saved you. She saved both of you.
This show is about hope. This show is about love.
This show is about family, and everyone can relate to that.
For the Once Upon A Time writers, operation nuanced villain is a success.
And the greatest thing ever for us was season two, all the heroes left to go celebrate Emma and Mary Margaret's return and no one invited the Evil Queen. She had just spent, you know,
30 episodes trying to kill them, cast curses, we saw the horribleness she did and the audience was like, "how they could not invite her?" And we thought, that's the victory. People love the queen.
People want redemption.
Sorry I'm late.
We don't want evil people to just be evil.
It's not interesting. What's interesting for us is the struggle to be good.
We're not gonna let you succeed.
What are you doing?
Heroes don't kill.
So now you're a hero.
Today I am.
It turns out even Evil Queens can be loved, and not just by fans Regina.
I choose you.
What's interesting is, the audience from what I've seen in Twitter or social network, it's amazing that the Evil Queen was such an evil character that killed people and was... you know... the villain.
And people love her so much that they're really following that journey.
I guess I'd be lying if I didn't say I kind of root for Robin and Regina to end up together.
But I didn't say that. >
When we come back, love...
Ah, fairytale romance. You just know from the beginning the prince and the princess were meant to be together.
Well, that's the problem.
Because in this fairytale, it's not like that most of the time.
Come on, the one thing that makes everyone crazy is love.
True. But as they say, before you meet the handsome prince, you've got to kiss a lot of...
Okay I'll bet the rest of you totally saw that coming. But I, honestly, did not.
I put it in my contract. I said must kiss numerous gorgeous men, consistently.
Love is in a lot of ways the franchise of the show because that is what all the characters are looking for.
And it was really important for us to find a way to kind of do a little twist on that.
Those twists start to take shape in the writers' room.
What about Emma and hook. What to do want to do in terms of their relationship?
Please, you couldn't handle it.
Hook sees an element of himself in Emma.
She's lost and she was a thief and, you know, but he has a real connection with her. And that's a huge thing for Captain Hook to lay his cards out on the table emotionally.
Emma is a strong, smart survivor.
Hook's a strong, smart survivor. We're pairing men and women that are a match in that sense and seeing the chemistry and the excitement. And I really appreciate the way the writers have done this.
We take these characters, we bring them in here. We play, we mash them around.
It's also a sense of, you know, what can we get away with?
Hook, we talked Regina.
Let's pair him up with Belle.
And she is trying to make up for not seeing that gold was manipulating everything sooner and they can have a journey together to kind of some closure.
That's good because you have the two people that gold, you know, kind of ruined both their hearts.
Mr. Gold, aka Rumplestiltskin, is definitely the guy that no online algorithm would match with anyone. Well, except the Eddy and Adam algorithm.
For us, what was really fun about this was saying, well, what if the beast from Beauty and The Beast was actually Rumplestiltskin?
The Beast's girlfriend, of course, is Belle.
When we meet her in Storybrooke, she's locked up for insanity.
And yes, she is in love with a conniving, dark lizard man who even scares Regina. But she's not crazy.
Just crazy in love.
Belle, being this incredibly intelligent woman, she's the only one thus far who's able to sort of see beneath the surface and see the real man beneath Rumple. And we're really excited to let the audience see another layer and pull back another layer in that character.
I'll sit down here.
Before shooting a pivotal scene, eddy and Adam like to go through it with the actor. This is Émilie de Ravin, who plays Belle.
She's really, really, trying to get through to him.
That's exactly right, and that's why he doesn't believe that somebody like you would ever love him. And that's what you need to throw in his face.
That is where I am headed and still kind of, obviously, developing for the next, what, three days before I go up there.
Very cool. We're excited to see you bring her to life.
What's happening is, we are turning something from straight fairytale to a little more modern edgy kind of situation.
For us originally, Rumplestiltskin was Mick Jagger and Keith Richards rolled into one. We wanted that great rock star kind of appeal to him, and that danger, that sexiness.
And eddy Kitsis, our producer said, "make him a rock star."
And that's what we did. It was all crocodile skins and quite elaborate and very time-consuming and all of a sudden he became a rock star.
Visual 2 golf take one.
"Skin deep" is quite a special episode for myself and, I think, for Emilie.
So I have had a couple of months to look around, you know, and upstairs there is clothing... small, as if for a child.
Was it yours? Or was there a son?
You really saw another side to Rumplestiltskin... that he was lonely. It was kind of representative of everyone's got a chance at love and no matter how horrible or repugnant they may be, and this was Rumplestiltskin's chance right there.
He caught her from the curtains.
It was that moment of him having this physical intimacy with someone that Belle realized that she is right, there's more in there.
He puts up these faces, these many faces, through his voices and his idiosyncrasies.
And the only person able to break through that was Belle.
How you can see the man behind the monster, I will never know.
I guess what I'm able to bring to gold, particularly, is to make you kind of wonder whether you like this guy or not. And that's hopefully what I've been able to do over the last four years.
Rumple, hey, let's go! This is what he wants.
He has to die, Belle.
No, he doesn't!
There is still good in you. Please show me that I am not wrong I don't think Rumplestiltskin's a bad guy. I think he's struggling.
I think he's like an addict struggling with an addiction.
He's... just got himself in this deep, dark hole of being addicted to power and magic.
But as anyone who's ever loved a fairy tale knows, magic always comes with a price.
Please, put the dagger down and let me explain.
I thought I saw something in you.
Something good. Your true love is your power.
I think there's a lot of strength that's been brought out in Belle. She's always, obviously, been a strong individual but from their relationship, dealing with his sort of ups and downs with the dark side, the light side, the struggles, has even built her into a stronger woman.
Rumplestiltskin, I command you to leave Storybrooke.
Belle, no. Please.
I won't be able to come back.
I don't want to lose you.
You already have.
I'm afraid. Belle!
But don't give up on us. Because you know how it is here.
Nothing ever ends.
So next, let's see if we can shake some secrets out of eddy and Adam about what's coming up.
Will you show Regina's death? Kidding!
By now we know that in Storybrooke, true love's kiss comes with a twist.
And no matter if you're good or evil, it all comes down to family.
At the end of the day, the show is really about this family and them finding love with each other.
What are you doing?
I'm finding my son!
I think because the underlying message is hope and family and what it means to be a family that has hope.
Do you want to meet your new Uncle?
It's nice to see that that's translating to the audience and that they're really taking it to heart and that they're then pouring it back toward us in their excitement over it.
Please! Don't come any closer!
Of course, all families have problems.
For you, maybe it's mortgages or report cards.
For us, it's curses and witches and fairies and that version of things.
Do not wake my baby!
And if you think your family get-togethers are complicated, come by our place.
It's, you know, our own great dysfunctional family.
Look, I know that we were under the Snow Queen's curse.
We are under the curse.
Charming and snow took it one step further.
They fell in love on the set and now have a baby... a family of their own.
Real life, you know... you know, of course, it bleeds over.
He's my best friend.
I wasn't, you know, looking to fall for one of my co-stars and we definitely had those talks early on about like, "but how does this affect work?" We probably annoy everybody to death.
So what would make the perfect day for Prince Charming?
Where he doesn't have to deal with dragons and witches, and curses and spells, where he can live out his life with his family.
You wanna come in and have coffee?
I could write a happy ending for hook, it would be that he could sit at home, with Emma, and drink rum.
But you know that's not gonna happen.
So, eddy and Adam, what you got for us?
There are some new villains who are rearing their heads.
Okay, villains. Something new and different.
Cruella! I thought I caught a whiff of desperation and gin.
Now that we're in season four, we're gonna find out new secrets about Snow White and Charming's past.
And, of course, you know, we're gonna wonder if a villain can get a happy ending.
So, stick around. You're about to find out.
Once Upon A Time.