Dragon Con hosts panels for all types and levels of interest, including popular motion pictures and television shows. This year Once Upon a Time was again included in the convention’s main programing, with special guests Kristin Bauer van Straten (Maleficent), Merrin Dungey (Ursula), and Victoria Smurfit (Cruella De Vil).
Although Bauer debuted in season one of Once Upon a Time as the closest thing to a friend that Regina had, she did not have a featured role until the latter half of season four. It was at that time that Dungey and Smurfit were incorporated into the story as Ursula and Cruella De Vil. Joining Maleficent, and sometimes Regina, they formed a formidable group known as the “Queens of Darkness.”
Bauer, Dungey, and Smurfit were invited to interact with their fans at Dragon Con in the form of providing autographs and photo opportunities as well as participate in panels that allow attendees to ask them questions. These three amazing women had a chemistry on screen that transcended their work. It was evident in the way they responded to their fans’ questions as well as to each other.
In their first panel, titled “Bad to the Bone,” the trio were asked to share their feelings about taking on the roles of such iconic characters that are so well known. Smurfit was the first to reply. She explained how terrifying it was to be on set with Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, and Robert Carlyle. It was also intimidating for her to take on a role that had previously been performed by Glenn Close. For Dungey, the difficult part was not to play up the character. She had to learn how to tone it down, and to “let the story speak for itself, let the costume speak for you...just play it as if you were playing a scene in CSI.” As a side note, thanks to Smurfit, we might end up with a CSI Storybrooke!
On the topic of tackling these larger than life characters, Bauer clarified that the biggest challenge is to mentally overcome your insecurities, and she compared it to jumping out of a plane. It seems like a bad idea until you jump, then it’s great. As scary as it may have been, all three of them agree that it was an incredible experience, and Dungey in particular loved the magical part of it (the CGI). Of course, they each had a green screen story, but all referenced their scene with the Chernabog.
Top image courtesy of INFphoto.com