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Rose McIver Talks Double Duty on Once Upon a Time & Masters Of Sex

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It’s not every actress who can say she's part of two hot shows at the same time - but that’s exactly what’s happening for Rose McIver these days.

The New Zealander appears as Tinker Bell on Once Upon A Time Season 3 and then transports in time to playing a teenager wanting marriage in the 1950s Showtime drama, Masters of Sex.

Ironically, OUAT has its midseason finale this Sunday, just two hours before finale of Masters of Sex Season 1.

I talked with McIver recently about the challenges in both roles, how she feels about literally flying around in her role as Tink and her new movie with Enlisted’s Chris Lowell. 

Using Pixie Dust

TV Fanatic: Between Once Upon A Time and Masters Of Sex, you couldn't pick more different roles.

Rose McIver: I know. It's been kind of a dream. To be able to play that variety has been really great, a fairy and a 1950s devoted [woman]. It's very, very different.

TVF: Let's talk about Masters of Sex first. How do you approach that?

RM: I think it's interesting because [Vivian] seems, at least initially, she tells Ethan that she's such an independent young woman and can’t just have a casual relationship. He's taken by that but she's also just growing up and part of dealing with intimacy the first time is attachment in realizing that it's not necessarily as incidental as she thought it might be. As soon as she shares that with him, she's really ready to settle down.

I think that without being manipulative, it's kind of about being a terrible pairing between the characters. She wants something very long-term and he doesn't seem to. It’s the complexities of any teenager in any period when you reach the age where you're starting to think about partners like that and you start to juggle different ideas of what they mean. It's fun. It's very complicated and interesting to explore.

TVF: How is it having Beau Bridges and Allison Janney as your parents on the show? I know you’ve worked with Allison before.

RM: It's kind of incredible! Yeah. I was bred from good stock. They are just wonderful. I really look up to them both in terms of their work, their performance, and also just as people and how they handle themselves. I turn it back to being able to go to work and really enjoy the family that you're supposed to be spending time with.

TVF: Do we know yet if you're in season two of Masters of Sex?

RM: I don't know yet. Storyline wise, it's not unfeasible but I haven't heard anything.

TVF: With both roles in Masters of Sex and Once Upon A Time, I'm guessing the costumes alone help you get into character. Is that true?

RM: Yeah, very much so. Once Upon A Time is a fantasy but also with everybody portraying very human versions of storybook characters it's stepping into a costume and a world and ensemble where a lot of the creative work is done for you in that you get to stay as real or human and connected as you can in spite of extraordinary circumstances.

Rose McIver on Masters of Sex

TVF: When you're doing Once Upon A Time, I know a lot of green screen and I'm guessing you're up on strings a lot flying around. Are the other actors always right there with you for those scenes?

RM: Even when there's flight involved, the other actors are so generous and the actors you’re sharing the scene with are there with you. I've been really lucky in that the flying is really, really fun at the start. But after a long day in the harness, I really admire the stunt team for their ability to do that all day, every day because it's not that comfortable. [laughs]

TVF:  Moving forward on Once Upon A Time, how important is Tinker Bell going to become in saving Henry?

RM: She said, ‘when you guys have it together, when you’re ready with a solid plan with how to get off the island, I’m here to help.’ She’s the person who has the relationship with Pan and who he trusts so once the ensemble team is ready she’s very fundamental in making it work.

TVF: What did you think of the fact that the show takes a character that we're very familiar with like Peter Pan and turns it on its head?

RM: I think it's great. It keeps it feeling really original and alive. It puts a spin on what we've already come to know and understand of this icon. It helps as well when the villain is being played by somebody who is very endearing to watch. Robbie Kay is just a fantastic Pan. He's mischievous and dishonest. He is not somebody we want to win, but you want to watch and you want to be on a journey and I think that’s really hard to do, to play the villain.

Tinker Bell has always been a three-dimensional character. She's incredibly jealous and vindictive and at the same time she will be really kind and encouraging. I've really tried to play with elements of that and it’s great that she has such a complicated backstory with these characters.

TVF: Could you possible say which of these two roles is more challenging?

RM: Yeah, it's actually scene to scene. There are certain scenes that I've done that have had big turns, big emotional things that can be more challenging in one show. Then in the other one there are physical constraints that have been much more challenging. So I think it's hard to really attribute that to one particular thing. Every different set, every different environment has its own challenges. I just think it’s lucky that the cast and crew are both incredibly welcoming and supportive. In both instances I’ve been very lucky like that.

TVF:  Tell me a little bit about the film, Brightest Star. I know Chris Lowell is in it as is Allison Janney.  

RM: I'm really excited about to see it come to life and get a 15-city release since January. It's a love story and a coming of age story. Chris Lowell is so fantastic in it. He has the hard part. He’s carrying the weight of the film. He does such a great job at being this young man who's very lost and trying to make sense of the relationship and make it work. It's kind of disintegration and recreation of a relationship for these two kids that meet in college. It's beautiful and subtle and thoughtful and a really special piece.

TVF: Would you say it's more comedy, drama or a little bit of both?

RM: It's a little bit of both. I would say it's more drama. With Chris on board, he is a funny man. He kind of finds the humor in everything which makes it all the more endearing to follow him in his journey

TVF: As an actor, which side do you gravitate towards more? Would you like to do more comedy or is drama your niche?

RM:  Growing up, I had always been from a drama background. The last couple of years I've been able to dip my toe into comedy and actually have been really enjoying it. I think any actor really wants to be able to straddle both and a good example that I think of recently is Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen’s latest film. I was just so amazed by her as this incredible dramatic actress, being able to incorporate Woody Allen's style and play with the comedy in that film but still break your heart. Films that can do both are the most powerful and interesting to me.

Once Upon a Time airs on Sundays at 8 p.m. Masters of Sex has its season finale this Sunday at 10 p.m. on Showtime. 

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Once Upon a Time Season 3 Episode 11 Quotes

Your happy ending may not be what you expect. That is what will make it so special.

Mary Margaret

Blue Fairy: Have faith.
Snow: That's easy to say when you have magic wings and a wand.

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