Going into the fifth season of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, Lana Parrilla is still in love with her charaacter, Regina. Regina’s had one of the more complicated arcs over the seasons, from the Evil Queen to a complex woman who’s one of the strongest defenders of Storybrooke’s colorful residents. Catching up with Parrilla at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con, she talked about how far Regina has come and how playing the character has affected her life.
In season four, Regina was able to find a little of that happiness she had been so desperately searching for. “She did find happiness toward the end. She realized that happiness did not come from a man or a person, woman or a child,” explained Parrilla. “It came from within. It’s a credit to her who has bravery and strength to look within herself and really confront these demons and try to do the right thing, try to change the patterns, which is very courageous. I mean, who in real life can do that? So, I’m proud of Regina.”
In fact, Regina was even able to find a way to accept the news that Zelena is having Robin’s baby. “She’s very handling this very well. There was a slight moment in the second to last episode last season where she could have easily destroyed Zelena and she chose not to. It was remembering that moment when her mother was doing something very similar. Whether her mother was being genuine or not, she doesn’t want to be like that and manipulate situations. I think she’s starting to be really comfortable leaving her destiny in the hands of the universe and letting things unfold as they’re meant to and dealing with the challenges as they arise. And, she’s a pretty awesome character,” said Parrilla. “I never thought she would come this far. She’s an inspiration to many; she’s an inspiration to me. I learned a lot from her. I love her. I’m really excited to see where she goes this season. However, I must say I do really miss the Evil Queen. I do miss her being bad, of course. That’s fun to act.”
Regina’s a fascinating character, but Parrilla does say there are challenges in taking on the Once Upon a Time fan favorite. “I would say making sure I don’t bring her home. Sometimes that’s a challenge. If you think about it, nine months out of the year I’m there anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day. Not always Monday through Friday, but sometimes. And so it’s like I almost live her life more than my own. It’s kind of tricky. You have to hang that hat, but not fully. You can’t put it away. You just kind of hang it, and then just walk home to my three kids and my husband. That’s a challenge sometimes. I had to learn how to sort of compartmentalize, even though I’m a stepmother to three kids and married. I spent 17 years living alone so it was like, ‘Oh my god…’ I had to learn how to sort of, ‘Okay, I don’t have to bring her home.’ There is no room in my house for the Evil Queen anyway,” said Parrilla, laughing.
Watch the full interview with Lana Parrilla on Once Upon a Time season five:
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