Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Emma Rigby on The Red Queen’s “Interesting” Past With Alice — Exclusive
What happened to Will and Anastasia after they jumped through the looking glass? We know Ana somehow ended up ascending the throne in Wonderland, but how did she turn into The Red Queen? We’re about to find out!
On Thursday’s all-new Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (“Heart of Stone”), we finally discover how Anastasia went from a wide-eyed dreamer to a cold-hearted queen when Wonderland takes us back in time to when Will and Ana first arrived in Wonderland. Unfortunately, life in Wonderland wasn’t the glorious escape they had imagined.
Wetpaint Entertainment chatted with Wonderland star Emma Rigby, and she dished on how The Red Queen ascended to royalty status, Will and Ana’s “harsh reality,” and what it’s really like filming in front of a giant blue screen all day.
Wetpaint Entertainment: So this episode is a big one for The Red Queen. We go back in time to when Will and Anastasia jumped through the looking glass. What can you tell us about it?
Emma Rigby: In Episode 5, we see who The Red Queen really is, so it’s a special episode where we discover how Anastasia became the The Red Queen. You really dive into her backstory, and it’s quite surprising.
Tell us about who she was as Anastasia. Because we know her as The Red Queen…
So we briefly saw Anastasia in Episode 3 when she and Will found the looking glass and jumped through it. This is where Episode 5 picks up. We find out that Will and Anastasia jumped through it against her mother’s wishes, and we find them in Wonderland. You get to see Wonderland before The Red Queen took over, so it’s Wonderland years ago, when they were much younger. We find out what Anastasia had to do, and what she was prepared to do, to become Queen.
So we find out how she became The Red Queen?
Well, she definitely has some of those characteristics that we’ve seen in The Red Queen. Anastasia is very much The Red Queen in the making, but we’ll find out what drove her to that decision. And it’s great to see the relationship between Anastasia and Will.
What was Wonderland like before The Red Queen took over?
It was much darker! We discover that Will and Anastasia had all these dreams. They wanted a better life. They wanted to escape their lives and go to Wonderland, where they heard anything was possible. They thought all of their dreams would come true, but then they discover that Wonderland is actually a miserable place. It’s very dark, and they have nothing. So it’s actually quite a sad moment for them. They had all these aspirations, and they realized that the grass isn’t always greener. What they imagined was so much better than the harsh reality of Wonderland. They’re even in a worse situation than they were before!
It’s also going to be juxtaposed with the present-day…
That was so much fun to play! I got to play Anastasia and The Red Queen. So that’s what is so great about the episode. You see the two different sides of her. Last week, The Red Queen basically told Alice that all she needed to do was make these wishes, so in this episode, The Red Queen approaches Alice with a proposition: I can help you get this, if you help me. It’s this new, interesting relationship going on between them. The Red Queen has forced Alice’s hand. She’s the ruler of Wonderland; she has the power. She knows everything that’s occurred there. So Alice needs to follow the Queen. The audience will also discover what it is The Red Queen acquires in this episode. It’s a real twist, and it changes everything!
Let’s talk about the chemistry between you and Michael Socha. You must have had so much fun filming with him!
You know Michael is exactly like his character! He has this amazing Nottinghamshire accent — he’s from a place called Darby — and he’s a real joker. He’s so much like the Knave. He’s just a really lovely person, so he makes my job much easier. We have a lot of fun on set. He’s got great energy. When we were filming our scenes as Will and Anastasia, it was like we were children again! We definitely have loads of chemistry, and I’m happy the viewers can see that as well. It’s so nice to be around him. He’s always making me laugh with all the random and completely bonkers things he says [laughs].
You also have really great chemistry with Naveen Andrews. The Red Queen and Jafar have a very complicated and interesting relationship. What’s coming up with those two?
I love working with Naveen! We have so much fun together. We love being ridiculous. We have these characters that are totally different than the rest of Wonderland. They’re more adult. They’re darker and more sinister. I think we have a little bit of a break coming up. The writers are trying to keep Naveen and I apart [laughs] due to what unfolds in Episode 5. But we’ll be back together soon.
Now, you film a lot of your scenes are on a green screen. How difficult is it for you to film something like that?
It’s completely different! A lot of my scenes are filmed in the blue studio, so I’m basically in a huge blue room all day. It’s all done with special effects. I have a lot of scenes with the rabbit, and that’s special effects, too, so a lot of the people I interact with are never actually there. It’s almost like you’re on a stage performing a live piece of theater. It’s very different from anything that I’ve ever done before, but I like a good challenge. It’s almost like second nature now. I always watch it on TV to see how the effects come together. It’s quite amazing to see how they put it all together.
Seeing how Anastasia is Will’s true love, do you think there’s hope for the Knave and The Red Queen?
You know, that’s why I love doing the Ana and Will scenes because it’s so fun playing two characters, and these two roles contrast dramatically. They’re very much two different people. You’ll find out what motivated her to become who she is now, why she’s this entirely different person. And he’s changed a lot, too! But I don’t think you should ever give up on love. When two people love each other, they always love each other.
What do you think, Wonders? Is there hope for Will and Ana to find each other again? Sound off in the comments!
Catch the episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland on Thursday, November 14 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Crystal Bell is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident fangirl for all things The Vampire Diaries. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!