Sunday’s episode of “Once Upon a Time,” “Skin Deep,” introduces us to Belle from the recently ubiquitous tale of Beauty and the Beast. Belle is played by Emilie de Ravin, best known to ABC viewers for her role as Charlie-lover and squirrel baby mother Claire on “Lost.” While the character of Belle is quite a departure from Claire (most notably in the costume department), both roles came with one unfortunate drawback: roaming through damp forests.
We caught up with the Aussie earlier this week to talk about becoming an “Other” (i.e. a guest star amongst an established ensemble cast); what we can expect as she steps up opposite the Beast – in this case, Rumpelstiltskin – in Fairyworld; and how that relationship could translate to an interaction with Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) in Storybrooke.
How is this Belle similar, or different, to what we already know of the character?
Looks-wise, extremely similar. [She has] beautifully made, insanely gorgeous dresses that make you feel princess-y as soon as you but them on — so that’s kind of cool. She’s similar in the sense that she’s always wanted to see the world more and escape the confines of the life she’s living in. She wanted to go outside of the box and be brave. That’s a little bit more of a strength, instead of her being quite whimsical about it. Obviously it’s a different relationship being with Rumpelstiltskin, but it’s still the same dynamic as far as the progression of their relationship and bringing out qualities in each other that they maybe didn’t know they had. I think that Belle always knew that she was a very open, honest, caring, non-judgmental person, but I don’t think that she knew she had the strength to maybe persevere through this lifetime agreement to go and live with this guy and actually change him.
Preview de Ravin as Belle on “Once Upon a Time”:
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Are we going to see Belle in Storybrooke?
We possibly are. I feel like I’m back answering “Lost” questions now. [Laughs] Umm…yeah…I can’t say anything…The weather’s lovely!
Did you give Belle an Australian accent?
[Laughs] Yeah. She’s Australian, but a little more refined and period-esque.
Will you be returning for more episodes?
I have returned and I’d love to do even more. It’s a really fun show and I love all the people, so that’s a plus. I haven’t done anything like this before and it’s always fun for me to do something totally different.
Probably nice to work on dry mainland, too.
[Laughs] Although my first day was kind of rainy in the forest! But it was beautiful. That was probably the most magical scene. It’s the scene that I think is shown in the promo with Lana [Parrilla], aka Miss Evil Queen, and both of us in these incredible outfits and the horses and the hair and the beautiful trees. That was really gorgeous.
Apart from Robert Carlyle, who else did you share scenes with?
I worked a little bit with Lana but mainly I worked with Robert [Carlyle], and I became good friends with quite a few other people. I know that trepidation of, Oh, okay, I’m the new person coming on.
You’re essentially an Other.
I know! I was an Other! But everyone was super welcoming and we all went out to dinner and did stuff like that, so it was lovely.