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'Once Upon a Time' Cast, Creators at PaleyFest

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LAist is checking out a couple of panel discussions at this year’s PaleyFest, which opened on Friday and runs through March 15 at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Yesterday afternoon, we caught the stars of ABC’s Once Upon a Time on the red carpet and got a chance to talk to David/Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), Mary Margaret/Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and the evil queen Regina (Lana Parrilla) before watching the full panel.

For those not familiar with the show, Once Upon a Time is a hard one to explain. Created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (co-executive producers of Lost), the show mixes magic and the modern world, jumping back and forth in time with familiar fairy tale and fantasyland characters in tow: Rumpelstiltskin, Mulan, the Mad Hatter, Little Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio and a litany of others.

At the heart of the show is the rocky road to romance between Charming and Snow White, who are reunited in this world with their now-grown daughter Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison). Yes, it was hard believing the mother-daughter pairing of Goodwin and Morrison at first, but as fans of the show know, some of the mind-bending plot twists requires a “just go with it” mentality—kinda like Kitsis’ and Horowitz’s previous show.

A majority of the cast plays dual roles in the present day and in the land of fairy tales, which definitely keeps things challenging. “Snow White is exactly who I wish I were...there’s nothing like wearing those costumes and horseback riding, shooting arrows and battling ogres,” said Goodwin.

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“Snow White is full of flaws. She’s entitled, and impulsive and selfish, but she wears those qualities on her sleeve, which then to me make them admirable in some strange way.”

“The challenge is playing Mary Margaret (a schoolteacher) and keeping her from being too self-indulgent and keeping her likeable to the audience. I don’t want people to pity her, I want people to relate to her.”

Prince Charming’s alter ego David wasn’t perfect either, said Dallas. “In season one, we set it up to where he had this totally different side. Because of the curse, [David] was weak, he was untruthful, he wasn’t front-footed. He couldn’t do any of those things that Charming could.”

Parrilla, who's played roles on TV shows Boomtown and 24, was a bit more frank in playing her dual roles of the evil queen and her just as mean modern-day Regina: “This is the first time [I’m playing a villain] and I’m having a lot of fun!”

Onstage during the Sunday afternoon panel, joining the creators and Dallas, Goodwin and Parrilla were Emilie de Ravin (Belle), Robert Carlyle (Rumpelstiltskin), Colin O'Donoghue (Hook) and Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan). They discussed the crazy family tree that’s developing on the show, which characters might be back, who might be paired up with whom and addressed whether the show was anti-adoption. (Regina adopted Emma’s son and they’re fighting over him.) “[An anti-adoption stance] was never our intention,” said Kitsis. “Regina’s not a bad mother. She loves Henry...she just does terrible, terrible things.”

The crowd was vociferous in their pleasure and displeasure at the hints about the remaining episodes of the second season—and enthusiastically rushed the stage at the end of the program. (We heard though that The Walking Dead fans were even crazier.)

If you’re a TV fan, seeing PaleyFest live is a must. But if you can’t make it down to the Saban or if your show is sold out, most of the panels are being livestreamed. Two are being screened exclusively in theaters: The Walking Dead on March 7 and The Big Bang Theory on March 13.