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'Once Upon A Time': Ginnifer Goodwin Exclusive On Snow White, Seven Dwarves, Romance & More

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarves of ABC's
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves of ABC's "Once Upon A Time."

Countless little girls dream of becoming princesses, but for Memphis-born Ginnifer Goodwin, all that wishing on a star during her formative years paid off. On ABC's "Once Upon a Time," she gets to play fairytale royalty every day. As both Snow White and her cursed alter-ego Mary Margaret, Goodwin is arguably the heart of the fantasy drama. Millions of fans tune in each week to watch the iconic love story unfolding between her characters and Prince Charming and his amnesiac real-world counterpart, David Nolan (both played by the dashing Josh Dallas).

The Sunday, Jan 22. episode, "7:15 A.M.," once again centers around Snow and Charming (and Mary Margaret and David) as the couple struggles to reconnect despite countless obstacles conspiring to keep them apart. In Fairytale Land, Charming is set to marry King Midas' daughter to keep his kingdom safe and in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret is trying to stay away from David, who is inconveniently married to someone else. Their happily ever after might be a long time coming, but their star-crossed romance creates pure magic when the two share the screen.

In between scenes on "Once Upon A Time's" chilly Vancouver set, Goodwin took the time to call and share some hints about what fans can expect from this week's episode and beyond, including Snow White's first meeting with seven familiar faces, and whether her Storybrooke character will start to remember her fairytale past anytime soon.

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

This week's episode centers around Prince Charming's impending wedding to another woman. How is Snow White dealing with that and what is her mindset?

Snow isn't dealing with Charming's impending wedding to another woman very well at all! She has ... how do I explain this without getting fired? [Laughs] She is doing all that she can to forget him and she, as she says, just cannot get him out of her head. And so she realizes that she needs a new tactic ... She needs to try new things. That idea is what she's grappling with at the beginning of the episode. And in our parallel world of Storybrooke, Mary Margaret is finding that she is also unable to get David Nolan out of her head. And she's not quite as strong as Snow White, of course. She succumbs to her obsession and as I believe it's revealed in the promos, she becomes something of a stalker, which is great fun. We left David Nolan and Mary Margaret in this place where he rejected her after building up her hopes, but despite that, at every turn, every time she runs into David, she can't help but smile. She can't help but to get lost in him. She can't help but almost forget what he's done to her, despite everything. You know, she's just drawn to him and his very energy makes her so happy and so she doesn't know how he feels about her, but she does know she likes to be in his presence ... So instead of trying to find an active way to forget him as Snow White is doing at the top of the show, Mary Margaret is indulging in the feelings that she gets by being around him.

Of all the characters, I think viewers have latched on to Mary Margaret and David -- and Snow and Charming -- as the show's emotional center, so it's great to see another episode exploring their story. I know those are the scenes that I look forward to most every week.

Oh, that's wonderful to hear! I agree. Whenever I read a script, I have to say I'm most excited by those scenes, because as an audience member, of course, it's their story that I'm attached to. That is why I wanted to play that role -- or roles; it's a love story and I love a good obstacle!

We're also going to see the dwarves properly for the first time this week. Can you tell us about your scenes with them and how they might differ from the dwarves that people picture when they think of Snow White?

It happens somewhat differently than it did in the animated feature and yet, I believe that we justified the Disney animated feature. But we let you know that they had actually met before the moments in which you meet her in the Disney animated feature where she's cleaning their house. We find out that they really can relate to each other, Snow White and the dwarves. They really find that they have a lot in common and they really bring out the best in each other. I really can't say anything about how they meet because it's such a big part of the story; it's such a wonderful, wonderful reveal. Oh my goodness, I have to say I was so -- this is sort of a side note -- but I was actually moved when we shot the "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" scene. You know, the little girl in me was because that relationship is a relationship that we think we know so well. To really explore it was incredibly satisfying to my inner eight-year-old.

In fact ... since it is the first time that we did come together as a group in filming, the actors who played the dwarves -- The Super Seven, Team Seven; they have all kinds of wonderful nicknames, our gang -- they presented me with the most incredible gift. They gave me this wonderful Snow White doll and they also gave me this Snow White journal, and in the journal on a different page, each of them did a self-portrait of himself as that dwarf and wrote me a note about our all coming together to start this journey. It's the most special thing in the world. Those guys all really do take care of me. We’re all freezing, freezing, freezing cold in the Vancouver woods and they're handing me hot chocolate and coffee in the middle of the night. Everybody takes care of each other here; it's such a loving set -- it's like exactly the fairytale you would imagine. Like, it's four in the morning and everyone's got frostbite and everyone is giggling.

Regina has had her sights set on Emma for the past few episodes. Is there anything coming up for Regina with Mary Margaret again in Storybrooke?

We're always tied together. The throughline is always that Regina's going to do everything she can to keep this curse intact. But I feel that in this point in the story, from what I recall, Regina and Emma are more focused on the new stranger who's come to town: Who is he and what is he here to do? Because people are never supposed to come and go unless they are of this place, unless they are of our world. So it is such a major event that he's arrived.

Speaking of which, can you tease anything about his arrival or how that might tie into your story, if at all?

I'm actually not tied into that story yet, but I will say this: I had a million theories about who the stranger was, and they were all wrong! What the creators' intention is with that character is so much better than anything I could have come up with. You know, they don't tell us everything, but they help us with the things that we need to know in order to represent our characters in the way that they need us to; but every once in a while, I kept pestering about who the stranger is and finally, I got some little whispers. Oh my goodness, is it good!

We haven't really seen Mary Margaret have many run-ins with Mr. Gold in Storybrooke. Have you had an opportunity to work with Robert Carlyle further yet in either iteration?

I have. I've had several scenes; not a ton, but I've had several. Oh my gosh, he is such a freaking joy to work with, that man.

He seems like he's having so much fun ...

He is! He is such a terrifying villain and in real life, he is the most generous, fun human being, full of warmth and love. It is so invigorating and inspiring to see him turn on Rumpelstiltskin and Mr. Gold. I have to actually remind myself when we start rolling that I'm afraid of him in both worlds. I think that, in a way, in Fairytale Land, Snow White is afraid of him and yet, she can really hold her own. She's very good at masking her fear. Whereas Mary Margaret cannot hide very much, as meek as she is in some ways, as reserved as she is in some ways. So I have to actually remind myself, as I did yesterday when we were filming a scene together, "Oh no. I'm afraid of this man. He's not Bobby Carlyle. This is an actually a scary, cold human being."

Since Snow is so fearless in the flashbacks we've seen, while Mary Margaret is much more, as you said, reserved and kind of beaten down by the world she's living in, what are the challenges of playing a character within a character?

I think that the biggest challenge is that, while carrying Mary Margaret's insecurities, in real life, I think that I share more of Snow White's energy ... I will go back and forth playing both characters in one day ... You know, there are many ways in which Snow White is different, but once I'm turned into Snow White, I have to then work extra hard to crawl back inside of Mary Margaret and hide within her, because I'm not in the habit of doing that everyday, all day.

The episode on Jan. 29 introduces us to Snow's father, played by the fabulous Richard Schiff ...

Oh yes, my goodness I hope he comes back more. He's perfect as Snow White's father. And you know that Emilie de Ravin is going to guest star as Belle. I think that's in mid-February. Amy Acker from "Angel" is in a story that revolves all around Grumpy, which is also wonderful. We get all the best guest stars.

And it sounds as if it will be blending Snow White's story with a bit of "Aladdin." If I'm not mistaken, I think Snow's father has a run-in with a genie?

We do have a lamp ... I will tell you that there is a lamp in our story, but what I also love about what the creators have done is they have reintroduced characters you thought you knew in very surprising ways. So I will say that there is a lamp in our story, but I would not be able to define the character in a satisfying way verbally.

The Evil Queen has been dropping hints all season about this heinous thing Snow did to betray her. Can you give us a hint as to when we might discover what ruined things between them?

It's not coming up soon-ish. We will continue to unveil different pieces, but I think that that is something that they are saving for a much later date. We will get clues along the way, for sure.

We had that wonderful moment at the end of last week's episode where Mary Margaret admired Emma's baby blanket and kind of had that flash of connection. Are we going to start seeing her memories actually filtering through, or will it just be more of those kind of déjá vu moments?

I actually am not sure, because one thing I do not know is their plan for the merging of the worlds ... I'm not sure how soon they will merge the worlds and I hope that it's not too soon actually because I truly do watch the show every weekend and get swept up in the magic as much as our biggest fans. It is a really incredible thing to be part of something that's beyond the realm of what I can imagine, so when I see it on screen, it really does surprise me every single weekend. As far as Mary Margaret remembering, that's another thing. There are going to be steps in that direction certainly as the season progresses, but there are also going to be setbacks. The Queen is very powerful, and she's going to do everything she can to keep us from remembering ...

"Once Upon a Time" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

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