Once Upon a Time is set to make Michael Raymond-James a series regular for Season 3, TVLine has learned exclusively.
Series co-creator Adam Horowitz first shared the news with us at ABC’s Upfront party on Tuesday evening.
After making his Once debut as Emma’s ex/Henry’s father Neal Cassidy aka Baelfire in the Emma-centric episode “Tallahassee,” Raymond-James heavily recurred in the last string of Season 2 episodes, as Rumple discovered his son in New York City and circumstances then led them back to Storybrooke.
When last seen, Neal had been shot by Tamara, fallen through a portal and ultimately washed ashore in The Fairytale Land That Is, where he was tended to by Aurora, Mulan and Phillip.
ABC’s Once Upon a Time returns Sunday at 8/7c with the first of Season 2′s final four episodes, kicking off with a tale in which Regina pulls a fast one on longtime foe Mr. Gold by turning his sweet love into a tart. Emilie De Ravin spoke with TVLine about Belle’s racy Lacey reversal, how the May 12 finale tees up an “anything goes” Season 3, and the times she most feels Lost on the set.
TVLINE | Going into “Lacey,” what would you say is Belle’s current view of Mr. Gold? Because he seemed to move her a little bit a few weeks ago with his deathbed phone call. Though she was terribly frightened by him after the accident, is she coming around?
She’s coming around in a respect. As far as the phone call, that was probably the most emotional feeling she’s had since she was shot and forgot her identity. You can’t deny the honesty in his voice and neither can she, yet she can’t remember, so it’s this awful struggle of this man telling you who you are and all these beautiful things about you and that he’s in love with and wanting desperately to believe this. Even though there’s been the cup throwing and some not-so-trusting moments with him, he’s still really the only one who cares about her. She knows that even if she’s confused and pissed off about not remembering [their relationship], it’s pretty obvious that he’s not coming to see her to annoy her.
TVLINE | So then, what brings “Lacey” to Storybrooke?
Oh, the Evil One of course. [Laughs] Belle was never implanted with a Storybrooke memory, since she was locked away for 28 years and it was not necessary to give her one, so to mess with Mr. Gold, as per usual, Regina says she will give me my memory back but gives me “Lacey” instead.
TVLINE | And in what ways is Lacey different from Belle?
The script description is “scantily-clad bar whore,” but not in a provocative way. Yes, it’s in a sexy way, but not because she’s trying to draw attention. She just likes dressing like that! She’s fun. She’s happy where she is. She’s not an adventurer, so the bar (named The Rabbit Hole) is kind of like home. She probably plays pool there every night with the same people and does shots, she’s probably pretty irresponsible with money, a girl who’s just living life….
TVLINE | After more than enough weeks of sitting in that hospital bed, was it fun for you to let loose?
Oh, yeah. But I was not in the bed that long, physically, so it was all right. It was actually quite comfortable! I’d stay there between takes.
TVLINE | Regardless of this identity swap, might the episode offer “Rumbelle” fans some pleasing moments?
It’s going to give the Rumbelle fans some “interesting” moments, good and bad.
TVLINE | Personally, have you been itching for Belle to get her memory back, to resume that storyline with Robert Carlyle?
Oh yes. I’m looking forward to that, but at the same time a challenge is always a lot of fun. Playing, in this episode at least, Belle/Lacey and then Fairytale Belle — where it’s one day doing one, the next the other — is challenging but in a fun way. Lacey’s nice to have around for a bit.
TVLINE | Meanwhile in the Fairytale Land That Was…. What’s going on?
There is a thief (Robin Hood, played by Tom Ellis) who tried to steal something from Rumple — and Rumple of course doesn’t like that. There’s a bit of “torture,” shall we say? But when sweet Belle decides to set the thief free, Rumplestiltskin forces her on this hunt to find him. This Fairytale Land portion in “Lacey” takes place between him kicking me out of the castle and me going to fight the Yaoguai.
TVLINE | How would you tease the Season 2 finale?
It’s going to be big. One of the elements at play is, “Do we go home? Do we not?” There’s arguing about that, because that’s a pretty big decision. There’s also the matter of what’s going to happen to Storybrooke’s existence, seeing as it could be a bit in danger. We also see Hook’s ship again, in a pretty big way.
TVLINE | Is this a finale where lives are left in jeopardy? Or is it more about, “What the hell is Season 3 going to look like?”
I can’t tell you anything on the first [question], but yes, Season 3 could be anything, which is pretty sweet.
TVLINE | With fellow Lost alumni Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz running Once, has there been any one particular moment where you really felt serious déjà vu?
Whenever we see smoke! [Laughs] Or like with the wraith, I’m like, “It’s not the wraith — it’s the Smoke Monster!”
ABC’s Wonderland-based Once Upon a Time spin-off — if it gets ordered to series — may hold a pair of queens in its hand.
On the heels of British beauty Emma Rigby (the UK’s Hollyoaks, inset) being cast as the Red Queen in the four-scene “presentation”, TVLine has learned that Barbara Hershey‘s Cora might also serve as a royal pain – if ABC picks up the limited series to bridge Once’s winter 2013-14 hiatus. (Official talks with Hershey likely won’t take place unless the pilot moves forward.)
Clarifying how Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (as it is currently dubbed) syncs up with Once Upon a Time proper, series cocreator Eddy Kitsis says, ”You will see [Wonderland] both post- and pre-curse. It will be very similar to Once in that there will be flashbacks of these new characters that take us to pre-curse Wonderland.”
Before Regina enacted the Dark Curse, as fans of ABC’s sophomore drama know, Wonderland was lorded over by the Evil Queen’s more evil queen mum Cora. “We can’t imagine visiting that time in Wonderland and not seeing Cora as the Queen of Hearts,” says series cocreator Adam Horowitz.
As previously reported, the prospective spin-off’s Alice (played by Sophie Lowe) is described as having a generous heart scarred by a hard life. Other characters featured in the presentation — which will film in Vancouver this month after Once wraps Season 2 — are Alice’s love interest Cyrus (Peter Gadiot) and the Knave of Hearts (Being Human‘s Michael Socha), a sardonic adventurer.
Once Upon a Time‘s potential Wonderland-set spin-off has found its heroine.
English-born Australian actress Sophie Lowe will play Alice in the project, which is now being called Once: Wonderland.
Alice is described as having a generous heart. She carries the scars of a long hard life.
Lowe joins the recently cast Brit Peter Gadiot as Cyrus, Alice’s love interest who has a mysterious background, and Michael Socha (the UK’s Being Human) as the Knave of Hearts, a sardonic adventurer, man of action, loner and heart-breaker.
The five-scene Wonderland presentation [see glossary] will film in Vancouver after Once wraps Season 2. The prospective spin-off is envisioned as an American Horror Story-style 13-episode standalone that would ostensibly bridge the original series’ wintertime hiatus.
Once creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz will pen the project with input from consulting producer Jane Espenson and Zack Estrin (Prison Break), the latter of whom is expected to run the series with Kitsis and Horowitz if it is greenlit.