Ginnifer Goodwin Chats ‘Once Upon A Time’ And Modernizing Snow White

Once Upon A Time Season 2 is just a few weeks away! In promotion of the Season 1 DVD release, we had the chance to chat with Ginnifer Goodwin about the series. Why does she think the series has become so popular? What’s it like on set? Read on for the answers…

Why do you think Once Upon A Time has had such an impact on audiences around the world?

Ginnifer Goodwin: I’m incredibly proud of this show and I’m ecstatic that it’s done so well. Why is it popular? Well, I think it’s down to the fact that we’ve all grown up loving these fairytales and we can all relate to the characters. Once Upon A Time has taken the fairytale stories from our childhood, filled in the blanks and given the characters some relatable flaws. It’s like a fan-fiction mash-up.

What is the atmosphere like on the set in Vancouver?

Ginnifer Goodwin: The atmosphere on set is wonderful. We’re like a theater company and every week we get to come and play. It’s amazing. I’m having the time of my life on the show and it’s incredibly thrilling to work with such a talented cast in such an amazing city. It’s truly magical.

What are the benefits of working on a television show compared to a movie?

Ginnifer Goodwin: TV lets you dig your elbows into a character and a story, but movies don’t allow that. With a film, you have an hour-and-a-half to tell a story. However, you have many, many hours to tell that story within episodic television. I think there is something really special about growing with a character on a TV show and exploring everything around them. That’s something you don’t have the luxury of being able to do with a film.

How challenging is it to play two characters – Snow White and Mary Margaret – in Once Upon A Time, even though they are essentially the same person?

Ginnifer Goodwin: It’s incredibly challenging and inspiring – and it certainly contributed to my wanting to be a part of the show. However, I don’t think about the fact that they are the same person because that is obvious to the audience. They can tell it’s essentially the same person because I’m playing both parts.

Do you try to act away the similarities between you and the characters you play in the show?

Ginnifer Goodwin: There are certain things about myself that are undeniable. No matter how hard I try, I will never be able to act them away. That’s why I forget about the similarities and focus on where the characters differ.

Is that something you’ve always done, irrespective of the character you’re portraying?

Ginnifer Goodwin: Yes, that’s how I work with all of my characters. I don’t play the qualities that I already have in common with my characters, because those things are inherent. Instead, I focus on the qualities that I need to add on top.

What physical changes do you undergo to contrast Snow White with Mary Margaret?

Ginnifer Goodwin: We do a lot of costume and makeup work to distinguish the two characters. Some of the work is done in subtle ways and some is really obvious – but I feel like we have altered the characters enough to distinguish between them. Snow White is in full bloom and Mary Margaret has a long way to go to become comfortable in her own skin.

What can you tell us about the curse that has put the fairytale characters into a reality setting?

Ginnifer Goodwin: The nature of the curse is that the characters have been robbed of their happy endings. For Snow White and Prince Charming, that means we don’t remember who we are or whom we love. If the curse sustains itself, Snow White will never remember that there was a Prince Charming.

How did [executive producers and show creators] Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz describe Snow White when you first signed up for the role?

Ginnifer Goodwin: I was delighted when I went into my first meeting with Edward and Adam because they specifically told me that I was not going to look like Walt Disney’s animated Snow White. They explained that we were going to do our own thing with her, which was incredibly appealing to me.

Why do you think it’s been necessary to update Snow White?

Ginnifer Goodwin: We modernized her in many ways because we wanted to make her relatable. As obsessed as I am with all of Grimm’s tales and the Disney princesses, women have evolved so much socially since these characters were created. Women’s role in society is very different now. And anyway, I think it’s fun to add a new twist to them and to update them.

Once Upon A Time: The Complete First Season is now available on DVD and Blu-ray!


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  1. Have you checked it out? I know the fact that it’s about fairytales puts a lot of guys off… but it’s also written by the Lost writers… so it’s got some great stuff in there! 🙂

  2. Actually,You know i have never seen a single episode of ‘Lost’, which must be kinda shocking to hear since its one of the most critically acclaimed show in the US, but i didn’t really had a lot of interest in the tv shows back in the years, Also My English was terrible lol 🙂
    Anyway, the point is that they are premiering the show ‘Once Upon A Time’ here in a week or something so i guess i’ll give it a shot 🙂

  3. Great interview! I love Ginnifer Goodwin and it’s awesome to know how much she loves playing one of my favorite characters on TV. I’m so excited for the second season!

  4. I love Ginnifer Goodwin’s approach to such an iconic character as Snow White. She isn’t just a perfect fairytale princess, she is tough, strong willed, and has flaws. A co-worker at Dish and I agree that she transformed her into someone who was very relatable to the average woman. I am so excited to see her evolve more this season, now that she has knowledge of both lives. With my train ride home coinciding with the premiere, I couldn’t be happier that my Hopper has 2,000 hours of recording space. There will be nothing better than coming home after a long day and getting lost in the world of Storybrooke. It will be interesting to see Snow take on the role of a mother and grandmother this season. I also hope that with the curse broken, she is able to apply the confidence of Snow to Mary Margaret.