EXCLUSIVE: Lana Parrilla Spills on Evil Queen's 'Challenging' Song & Connecting With 'Once Upon a Time' Fans!
By Leanne Aguilera
From Evil Queen to dancing queen!
This Sunday's highly anticipated musical episode of Once Upon a Time features a truly sensational solo from the famed Snow White villain, so we called up the on-screen queen herself Lana Parrilla to get the behind-the-scenes secrets on how she prepared for her "Ziggy Stardust moment" and the challenges that came with it.
"I wish that we would've done more than one musical episode -- that's how great it was!" Parrilla dished to ET over the phone while she was vacationing with her mother, Dolores Dee Azzara, in Spain last month.
"At first, I was nervous because I thought, 'Oh god, I'd better figure out how to really sing.!' I mean, the whole world is going to be watching, so I'm not going to pretend I'm a great singer," she explained. "I'm just going to do the best that I can. I kind of channeled my nerves into excitement, so I got really excited about it and I thought, 'I'm just going to go with this and have a blast!'"
"And being that I'm the Evil Queen, you can almost, like, hide behind her a little bit. I'm like, 'Well, if she doesn't do a good job, it's on her, not me!'" she added with a laugh.
The brunette beauty dished that it was an "interesting challenge" to sing her song, "Love Doesn't Stand a Chance," because Parrilla typically gives the Evil Queen a deeper voice than her own. "The song in itself was quite challenging because it had different tempos. It was fast and then it was slow and I had to sing in a lower register, which is not where I normally would sing, so it was challenging in that regard," she said.
"But overall, it was awesome!" she gushed. "I loved every moment of it! I had a blast and I danced a lot as the queen. There's a whole dance number that I end up doing, which was so much fun, so I really, really enjoyed that." Parrilla revealed that the Evil Queen's costumes are usually very confining and she has a limited range of movement, so Once Upon a Time's head costume designer, Eduardo Castro, altered her gown for the musical so she could fully embrace the choreography.
"I kind of move my arms and throw them down. I get down on the ground and I slam down on the ground and it's very sort of a violent song, which was fun," she said. "I think it had a little bit of Tim Curry in Rocky Horror Picture-show-meets-David Bowie, which I'm a huge fan of, so I was really excited to have my own Ziggy Stardust moment."
The actress said that going through all the different stages of preparing for the musical brought the Once actors even closer together. "It was a different experience than what we're used to doing every day in the last six years on Once, and it was something new and exciting and everyone in the cast is so talented," she said. "Everyone was so supportive of one another and everyone was smiling around the set and people were humming the tunes. I'm still humming Rebecca's song!"
When asked what she thought about the fact that the musical episode would also be featuring Emma and Killian's wedding, Parrilla was quick to sing its praises. "I thought it was awesome! I think everyone has been really excited for that. It's just really beautiful to see a really happy moment because there's typically not a lot of happiness going on in the show, even though everyone is searching for their happy ending," she said with a chuckle.
"There's also a musical number that takes place at the wedding, and for everyone to be a part of that, it's really fun and everyone looked beautiful," she continued. "Just to get kind of dressed up to go to a wedding was really fun, so I thought it was great. I thought it was super appropriate and a great opportunity to tie the two in: the wedding and the musical."
With the fate of the series still up in the air, Parrilla is "open to seeing what happens" if ABC were to greenlight a season seven, but no matter, what she's thankful fans have become so connected to the character of Regina over the past six years.
"I think it's phenomenal that so many people have been inspired and their lives have changed because of Once Upon a Time, and to see how Regina has touched so many lives because of her journey and her own story and her own inner struggles, it's remarkable. I did not expect Regina to have this impact in so many people," she said. "I'm elated because I feel like I have a huge part in it and that's something that I've always wanted to do in my career, which is to be a part of something that has changed lives and inspired people to be better and I've been able to do that with Regina."
While Parrilla loves that her journey as Regina has promoted a message of "self love" and "acceptance" to all the Once Upon a Time audience, she confessed that it makes her "really sad" when she sees fans spreading negativity towards one another on social media.
"Sometimes I see a lot of negativity on social media and I don’t really understand it. I don't support it, and I don’t necessarily engage in it, because if you start paying attention and engaging, it just gets worse," she said. "And so I filter out – not that I physically filter it out, but I mentally filter out – and I just decide that I don’t need to read the negativity and I want other people to do the same thing," she continued.
"I think a lot of our youth kind of focuses too much on the negative things that are being said and you have a choice. You can just look the other way and focus on the positives and only engage in the positive messages and let that be the reality and not engage in the negativity and the bullying," she added. "But I really despise it. I don’t like seeing and I don’t think there's any room for it. There's enough evilness in the world and darkness in the world, let's not be a part of it."
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.