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Once-upon-a-time

Emilie de Ravin Interview: Belle of the Once Upon a Time Ball

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It's a tale as old as time, but it's one that will be given a special twist on Once Upon a Time this Sunday.

On the episode "Skin Deep," former Lost star Emilie de Ravin will come on board as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. It's an apt role for the gorgeous actress, but you may be shocked to learn who the series has set up as her beastly soulmate:

Rumpelstiltskin.

Emilie de Ravin on Once Upon a Time

"It's beautiful and slow the way they begin to like each other," de Ravin previewed to me over the phone. "She's really scared at first... he's bemused by her demeanor... and they eventually form an intimate relationship where she can see what others don't."

As if often the case when Once Upon a Time tackles a classic fairy tale, viewers shouldn't expect this one to remain true to the animation, de Ravin says, though some basic facts are similar.

And one fact that cannot be denied: Robert Carlyle is incredible in the role of Rumpelstiltskin.

"He's amazing," the actress says. "He gives the character so much power, but in this episode his walls tumble down. It's scary for him. And he plays that so beautifully."

It must be weird to portray such an iconic character, right? One who has been around for so many years, yet one who doesn't actually exist?

Absolutely, de Ravin agreed, although she expressed gratitude that Belle has never been played by an actress before, so there's no performance with which she'll be compared.

"My conversation with [writer Adam Horowitz] was really more about who this person is," de Ravin said. "And we wanted her to be strong, intelligent, brave, passionate and non-judgmental. She can see through people and that's what happens with Rumpelstiltskin."

Watch the ABC preview for "Skin Deep" now and return to TV Fanatic Sunday night for a detailed review of the episode.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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    Where are these nuts popping up from?! How can you compare a real live actress with a cartoon?! I LOVE Disney, but acting is much more than lines alone. It is ALSO the physical way they move their faces, their bodies that makes a character come alive. The animators made the happy smile, the saddened face, the crying, the laughing--- not the person who said those lines! And yes the person who voiced Belle did a good job, the passion behind the character. But you cannot compare a cartoon to a real live actress!!
    P.S I won't even address the theme park Belles, come on!!

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    As someone above posted, I feel the need to address how silly a comment/line that is to say that de Ravin is the first actress to play Belle to have no comparison to. To knock down Paige O'Hara's vocal performance as "not to be compared to" is just a tad bit insulting. Granted she was an animated character, but that wasn't a robot behind a booth spilling out the songs and lines in that classic film. That is an actual actress, who maybe isn't a supermodel or an It Girl, but is talented and should be respected as a performance to be compared to.

    Just like various takes on Macbeth or an archetypal character to fill in the blank, again they are all performances good and bad and thus should all be compared to on the equal level of any role.

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    Umm...what? "Absolutely, de Ravin agreed, although she expressed gratitude that Belle has never been played by an actress before, so there's no performance with which she'll be compared." ...seriously? The role of Beauty has been played by quite a number of actresses in the past. And for Disney's "Belle" alone, there are dozens upon dozens of actresses playing her in the theme parks, not to mention the Broadway show.




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