‘Once Upon a Time’ Season 7: Lana Parrilla and Gabrielle Anwar Interview on Goodbyes and Welcoming New Cast Members

Gabrielle Anwar and Lana Parrilla
‘Once Upon a Time’ stars Gabrielle Anwar Lana Parrilla at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con (Photo © Richard Chavez / Showbiz Junkies)

ABC’s Once Upon a Time veteran Lana Parrilla was teamed up with series newcomer Gabrielle Anwar for roundtable interviews at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con. Parrilla, who’s one of the few returning Once Upon a Time stars, wouldn’t give away any hints as to what’s in store for Regina in the upcoming seventh season. However, Parrilla did discuss what it was like saying goodbye to Jared Gilmore who played her son, Henry, for six seasons on the popular series. Parrilla and Gabrielle Anwar also talked about the freedom of playing ‘evil.’

What can you tell us about the Regina/The Evil Queen we’re going to see this season? What are you excited about diving into this coming season?

Lana Parrilla: (Laughing) “She shaves her head in the first episode. You know, there isn’t really much I can say other than, ‘Goodbye, pantsuits. Hello, denim.’ Basically, she is a more sort of down-to-earth, more rugged, not as severe looking. She was always very well-coiffed and her hair was always (perfect). She’s a little more relaxed. Her hair’s curly, kind of like when you saw Regina at the bar. She was a little more done up then, but her hair’s more natural, more relaxed. She likes jeans.”

Henry’s been such a crucial part of Regina’s storyline. How is it going forward not having Henry anymore and saying goodbye to Jared Gilmore?

Lana Parrilla: “I cry all the time about Jared, just because I’m so attached to him. You know, we watched the season finale together and he was holding my hand and he would squeeze it every time we were getting closer to the end. I love that kid. He’s become like my son. I’ve seen him grow up before my eyes. And watching the scene that we shot a couple of weeks ago today, it brought tears to my eyes. Not so much because I miss him, because he’ll always be in my life, but just because he’s so big. He just looked like such a young man and it was just so crazy to see. And then to see that flashback of him, the black and white clip that they showed, of him when he was 10 years-old knocking on that door going, ‘I’m your son.’ It’s like, ‘Wow, that’s the same kid!’

Today I looked at Andrew (J. West) and all of a sudden I felt that sort of affinity for him in the same ways that I do feel for Jared. I don’t know what it was…maybe it was just this magical moment, but I looked at Andrew and I thought, ‘This is going to work. This is really going to work.’ I asked him if he was comfortable with me touching his face and kind of doing the things I would do with Jared that I don’t have to ask, you know? I can just touch Jared and kiss him, it’s like not even a question. He kisses me goodbye and makes sure he says bye to me every day, tells me he loves me. So, Andrew has a lot to (live up to). I want to hear, ‘I love you, Lana!’ when he leaves. And, I want big hugs and kisses. But, I think it’s a new relationship and it’s slowly developing. I’m very excited. I think it’s great casting.”

They aged Henry. Are they going to age Regina?

Lana Parrilla: “I don’t know. Maybe I take a potion and I’m younger! We’ll see. We’ll see what they do.”

What can you say about Lady Tremaine?

Gabrielle Anwar: “Lady Tremaine is very unpleasant. I haven’t yet found much of a redeeming quality to her in the first two episodes. So far, she’s been notoriously outrageous and very British. There are plenty of people I can think of to draw from for a character study. I think she resents just about everything. Everybody, everything, every sound, every sniff – you name it. It’s really fun to tap into that side of myself personally, because there’s so much shame around being bad and being dark. It’s in all of us. It’s a beautiful thing to acknowledge and not shy away from. So, it will be very therapeutic for me. It’ll save me a pretty penny in therapy.”

Lana Parrilla: “I used to say that all the time. They used to say, ‘What do you love about her?’ and I said, ‘I love that I can get away with whatever I’m doing.’ Because if I did any of what Regina did in life, I’d be locked up for 120 years.”

Gabrielle Anwar: “It’s true. It’s so true. We get to do something that’s abhorrent.”

Lana Parrilla: “We get to live it out.”

More on Once Upon a Time:
Colin O’Donoghue and Robert Carlyle Season 7 Interview
Recap of the Season 6 Finale

Watch the full Lana Parrilla and Gabrielle Anwar Once Upon a Time interview:

(Interview by Alice Balagia. Article by Rebecca Murray.)