Entertainment Magazine

Josh Dallas Casts a Spell on Once Upon a Time

Posted on the 31 October 2012 by Bittersweet1975 @onceupon_fans

From Canada.com:

“They probably wouldn’t believe it was really me, if I went to Halloween as Prince Charming, so I think I may do exactly that,” Josh Dallas says, taking a moment to find shelter from the morning rain on the Steveston, B.C., set of Once Upon a Time. “I can see it now: ‘That’s a really good costume. You really look like that guy!’”

“That guy” is Prince James — also known as Prince Charming — in Once Upon a Time lore. He’s a poor shepherd whose twin brother was given as an heir to King George, part of a deadly deal with the ever-scheming Rumpelstiltskin. Sadly, the real Prince James is killed in battle after agreeing to slay a dragon for king and country, and it falls on Prince Charming to take his brother’s place.

Dallas is not really Prince Charming, he insists. He just plays said prince on TV.

Still, the dashing actor comes by his TV swordplay and Hamlet-inspired inner turmoil (“That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain”) honestly: Though born in Kentucky and raised in Indiana, he studied the performing arts at the Mountview Conservatoire for the Performing Arts in London, England, after being awarded the Sarah Exley scholarship, given every three years to a promising acting student from the U.S. At the callow age of 20, Dallas landed his first professional gig — with the Royal Shakespeare Company. The London stage beckoned and, after that, The Young Vic, New Shakespeare Company and the English National Opera.

Still, never in Dallas’s wildest dreams did he think he would be in Canada one day, playing the dual role of Prince Charming, of Disney fairy-tale lore, and David Nolan, a twentysomething drifter newly awakened from a coma and still suffering occasional bouts of amnesia.

To quote the Bard, from Hamlet: “You were sent for; and there is a kind of confession in your looks which your modesties have not craft enough to color. I know the good king and queen have sent for you …”

Except that, on this cold, wet, rainy late fall morning, the queen is in civilian garb, and she’s not good so much as evil in disguise. And the king — well, he’s nowhere to be found.

Dallas has ducked inside an impromptu animal shelter in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, to snatch a moment away from the cameras and talk about how fate and good fortune have brought him to this moment in time.

“It’s like winning the lottery,” he says, then adds with a droll laugh, “It’s better to be on a hit show than one that’s not. What’s so great about Once Upon a Time is that it’s a show about simplicity and meaning in life. It’s not cynical about love, in the way I think so many shows are. And what that does, I think, is create these big emotional scenes. For me, those are the greatest scenes to play, because they’re real.

“And it’s always great to swordfight.”

Dallas says his fairy-tale moments as Prince Charming touch the inner child in him, and there’s something especially liberating about being able to run a loudmouth through with a sword. It’s not the kind of thing one does in polite company, at least not in the real world.

“It’s the best. A boyhood dream. I get to slay dragons and swordfight palace guards and ride horseback. The physical side is something I love, and to be honest I always feel a bit of a rush every time I see something physical in the script.”

Dallas did not follow fairy tales as a child. He was too busy outside, playing fort in his native Kentucky. He was vaguely aware of the Disney myths and legends, though movies, but it wasn’t until prepping himself for Once Upon a Time that he became immersed. Coming to Disney lore so late in life has only added to the sense of discovery and enjoyment, he says.

The fairy-tale world and present-day scenes each present a unique set of challenges, Dallas admits. Interestingly, he says, this season the two characters have meshed, so they’re more similar than different. David Nolan’s bouts of amnesia are fewer and further between: He now knows who he is, and who he was meant to be, so he’s become more accepting.

As for Prince Charming, Dallas adds, “It’s always great to slay a dragon. Frankly, I love playing both.”

Many of Dallas’s more affecting scenes this season have been with Jared Gilmore, the 12-year-old San Diego native who plays Henry Mills, an abandoned boy whose loneliness and obsession with a centuries-old text kicked off Once Upon a Time‘s story of handsome princes, damsels in distress and wicked stepmothers snared in a timeless spell, like fireflies trapped in amber, that — briefly — made them forget who they were, and their purpose in life.

“Jared is so good and talented, and learning as we go, as we all are,” Dallas says. “As an actor, you come to set and it’s different every day. It’s different whatever project you’re working on; you’re always learning something. Here, on Once Upon a Time, we’re blessed to have actors who are fiercely intelligent, fiercely talented and really, really passionate about the show. To come work every day with people like that is a dream come true.”

Dallas admits he’s approached on the street more than he used to be, but not in the way one might think. The ladies still swoon over Prince Charming, of course, but many of the comments are more serious, and philosophical.

“So many people come up to me now and say how great it is that there’s finally a show on TV that they can watch with their family, as a family. There hasn’t been a show — a scripted drama, anyway — like that in a long time. That’s really special to us. It warms my heart that people are able to connect again with their family around the TV. I think that’s what the show’s about. It’s about connections, about connecting to your family and your loved ones. That’s important in this day and age, especially for people with feelings of abandonment and children who’ve lost their parents. I’ve had so many people come up to me and say, ‘I was a child of adoptive parents, and I understand what Emma is going through.’ It’s wonderful to be part of a show that can touch people in such a deep and personal way.”

Dallas has adjusted to Vancouver like a duck to water, he suggests, looking out the rain-spattered window.

“I feel like I’m almost Canadian, now, we’ve been here so long. We couldn’t shoot this story anywhere else. It’s perfect for the show, in terms of the landscape and everything else. It’s a great city to shoot in. It’s not that far from L.A. It’s only three hours by air, so you can always hop on a plane and go back. Of course, I’m originally from Kentucky, so I do go back there whenever I can. It’s become my second home, for sure, and I’m really fond of it.

“We have the best crew on television, too. I know everybody says that, but it really is true. The best crew — literally — and the best cast. We all have a good time, even though the material is often serious, as you say. It can get very emotional, and so when they call ‘cut,’ you have to get yourself out of it. You have to reset in a way, and so you look for ways to laugh and relax, and then you go back and do it again. And then you bring something new to it, something fresh.”

Dallas has accumulated a lifetime’s worth of treasured memories while filming Once Upon a Time. There’s one memory, though, while filming the pilot episode last year in Golden Ears Provincial Park, that stands out, that “click” moment, when Dallas realized Once Upon a Time could be that once-in-a-lifetime passion project every actor dreams of, but few realize.

“I knew from reading the script that this was something special, but you just never know how these things are going to go. The chances of even getting a pilot made are laughable, most of the time. But I knew the storytelling was special, and as an actor that’s what you’re always looking for. If the storytelling is there, you have something to work with. There’s a foundation, and so you do everything you can to bring it to life.”

In the scene in question, Prince Charming kisses the comatose Snow White — the Sleeping Beauty — and she awakens, and comes to life.

That’s the magic of the story, but the behind-the-scenes reality — lights, cameras, boom mics, crew technicians, makeup artists, grips, electricians, sound mixers and a director anxious to get the shot before he loses the light — is anything but romantic.

“Ginnifer Goodwin and I kind of stopped and thought, we are now filming one of the most iconic scenes in fairy-tale history — Snow White woken up by Prince Charming. We were way out in the middle of the woods, in Golden Ears. It was cold and raining. We showed up at the set, and it was beautiful. There was this glass coffin, and the Seven Dwarves were surrounded by (movie) snow — and then it started to snow. For real. Actual, real snow. I don’t know — we though there was some kind of divine intervention going on. We thought, this is special, this is a real moment.

“Now, looking back, it barely seems real. We’re just so grateful this has struck a chord with people, and that people are tuning in to watch.”

Does Prince Charming believe in magic?

“Yeah. I do believe in magic. I’ve been to magic class in L.A. — I’ve seen magic!”

Read more: http://www.canada.com/Josh+Dallas+casts+spell+Once+Upon+Time/7475789/story.html#ixzz2AuN6SMBj

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