Hot and steamy.
That's how Lana Parilla teases the action ahead for Regina and Robin Hood on Once Upon A Time Season 4 Episode 8 and Once Upon A Time Season 4 Episode 9, the two-hour OUAT extravaganza on tap for this Sunday.
Sure, Regina is still committed to finding a cure for the near-death Marian but - as we saw at the end of Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 7 - Robin Hood can’t help himself around Regina, even planting on her a very sexy kiss.
However, Regina is also determined to find the author who can give her a happy ending. Will she also get pulled into the Snow Queen’s plans? Will Regina help Emma deal with her growing powers? And, since Regina hasn’t fallen back into her dark magic ways, does Parrilla miss that side of her character?
For answers to all that and more,I chatted up Parrilla on the phone this week. Thanks to the help of the Twitter followers and my own curiosity, I had plenty to ask the beloved actress...
TV Fanatic: When we last saw Regina, she was kind of locking lips with Robin Hood which isn’t a bad place, I guess, for her to be in.
Lana Parrilla: Yeah. She’s kind of occupied with a couple of things. One being Robin Hood and two, Operation Mongoose. I watched it again this morning and it’s funny when you’re reading a script because you’re reading it and you’re breaking it down as the actor and playing the character for so many years but it’s different when you’re watching it as a fan and an audience viewer.
I really saw how Regina how torn she is with Robin Hood but also how determined she is to find this author, and I really got that when she keeps flipping through this book trying to figure it out, and we don’t know why and having watched it and playing her for so many years I can see the level of concentration in her eyes and how she’s just so focused and looking at these images and what do they mean to her? That’s kind of the path that we’re heading down more so than anything, it’s who is this author and who is in charge of her destiny?
TVF: Is it safe to say with this next episode she might get some of those answers or we might get some of those answers, the audience?
LP: Yeah. I think this two hour episode that’s coming Sunday, a couple things. Regina is losing faith pretty quickly that she has any control over her destiny, that no matter what she does it doesn’t work out for her, and things just don’t pan out for her, and that’s a hard realization. And, you know, she’s not one who normally has hope, and she’s constantly being reminded by the heroes, Robin Hood being one, Mary Margaret being another, Emma, and so it’s going to take her some time to believe that things can change and to find a way to have hope for herself and her destiny. So we’ll see a little bit of that this weekend.
We’ll also see something that I think the audience has been waiting for between Regina and Robin Hood. Something quite juicy. So I would just say that it may be frozen in Storybrooke but it gets a little hot and steamy in their life.
TVF: Since true love’s kiss doesn’t seem to be happening for Marian is there another plan coming to try and save her?
LP: She definitely wants to save her because she loves Robin and she knows how much it means to him, and I also think there’s this underlying guilt because she has killed Marian and so she lives with that guilt. She’s trying to make amends and she’s made amends with a lot of people, Mary Margaret being one, Emma, she’s stings the town many times and it seems like she’s really trying to make up for things and trying to do the right thing and she’s doing the same with Marian. I don’t think she’s going to give up trying to find some sort of counter-spell or some sort of resolution to bring Marian back. Now what happens thereafter will be, you know, a surprise for many.
TVF: We’ve all been watching the Snow Queen kind of work her magic. Is Regina and the Snow Queen going to have some face time soon? I keep thinking if anyone could stop her it could be Regina.
LP: In regards to the Snow Queen, it’s not Regina’s battle. That is not a battle that she will face. Something happens and it’s quite shattering for everyone. I can’t even say it. I don’t even know how to tease that. I will say it’s just not her battle to fight, however she wants to help find the Snow Queen, but Anna is not a priority for Regina, Anna is more of a priority for Emma and Elsa.
TVF: With Emma reacting to the strength of her powers and distancing herself, is there some crossover with Regina and Emma coming?
LP: I think we saw in episode five where Regina was quite upset with Emma for bringing Marian back and going back in time. One thing that I love about Regina is she’s moving past it and that’s kind of something that we haven’t really seen in her because she really sort of has a hard time letting go of past betrayals and I think in this season we’re seeing a lot of growth in her and she’s learning to forgive and so she forgives Emma especially after that long speech that Emma shared with her in Regina’s vault.
She said, no one really understands me but you and I think Regina really took that to heart and has made amends with Emma and they’re just going to drive forward and continue to work together like they have in past seasons.
TVF: Do you miss some of the Evil Queen stuff that we used to see Regina do?
LP: Of course I miss it. It’s fun and we have a couple of flashbacks coming up where, for me, playing the Evil Queen again…it’s like a breath of fresh air and I used to use that term all the time when Regina was on the road to redemption, but now because she’s been down that path for the last couple seasons it’s kind of refreshing to go back and play this Evil Queen again. As the actor who plays her I love it. I feel so free and I can go anywhere with her and I can be quite theatrical, over the top, and then still, you know, the origin of that performance lies in truth and honest choices. So it’s fun. I want to see more of it and I believe you will be very soon.
It’s funny because Bobby [Carlyle] and I were together just last week and we did this scene of Evil Queen and Rumpelstiltskin, and we were like, “Oh my God, this is our first scene together this entire season. It took eleven episodes but here we are.” And, oh my gosh, we had the best time. We just had the best time, a ton of fun, and you will also see Regina and Gold again and they have a beautiful conversation together in her car. He comes in and they just start chatting it up and there’s a beautiful kinship between them, a friendship, an old sort of familial bond between them that everyone will see shortly.
TVF: Do you think Regina misses her job as mayor at all? I know she has a lot on her plate but do we see that come around at all?
LP: You know, at this point it’s not really obvious. It’s not something that she’s thinking about. I think she has her hands full right now just dealing with this heartbreak and that’s taking some time for her. I mean look how long it took her to get over Daniel!
She’s a slow healer, I will say, but she’s a fast learner, and yeah, she’s more focused on how to deal with the heartbreak but more importantly at the end of the day who is this author? And I think that’s her main focus and obsession. It’s becoming a slight obsession for her and why can’t she find him or her or it or whatever it is, who is this person or creature or entity, and you know, that’s quite time consuming for her. But she’s really wrapped up in those two sort of big elements in her life.
TVF: I admit I’m kind of obsessed over who the whole author of the book is, too! I can’t figure it out.
LP: I know. When I first read it I went ‘oh my God. Genius.’ It’s just genius because it’s almost like it’s biblical or religious in some way because who is in control? Everyone wonders if they’re a God. Is there a God? Is there not a God? If there is a God why is my life turning out this way and what am I doing wrong or what do I have to do? What am I not doing? And these are all the questions that Regina is asking herself, and then also just realizing that, well, even if I try to do good it doesn’t really make any difference, and I guess the question is, well then do I have to be good? I think what we’re going to see over the back end of the season, is which side is Regina going to choose?
TVF: Watching the show, there are so many empowered women. Can you talk about that and it being an important thing for you?
LP: Yeah. I guess if you’re a hero, at least in regards to this show, it seems like the villains get the short end of the stick, but to talk about powerful women, I grew up with a lot of powerful women. I have probably over 18 to 20 female cousins and I grew up with a lot of aunts and female cousins and great aunts and so it’s been fun for me.
But I’ve also been so influenced by all these strong women in my life so it’s really great to portray one as well and also to be one. So I think our show does have that. We have a lot of strong women and we set a great example for our youth. I can tell and I’m sure you can too from all the people that responded [on Twitter] this morning to, “Can you ask her this question?” My fans are female and a lot of what they share with me is how much they’ve learned from me but also mostly from Regina and other women, other female characters on our show. So Once Upon a Time’s women have a great influence on our female audience.
Once Upon A Time Season 4 airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.