When Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz created Once Upon A Time for ABC, they didn't want to just bring long-told fairytales to life with new actors in the roles but instead re-imagine who the characters, their relationships, and their experiences were. So it should be no surprise that they have done the same thing with their new ABC fairytale series, Once Upon A Time in Wonderland or that, like Snow White before her, this version of Alice (Sophie Lowe) is a strong woman who isn't afraid to wield a weapon to save herself or the one(s) she loves.
"She's grown up now and she's strong. She's learned how to fight, and she knows how to look after herself, and I think when you grow up you kind of see your family and your parents in a different light, and I feel like she's going through that. When you're little you only see your parents and you think of your parents as God, and then when you grow up you realize that they're just like you and they have fears as well, and so she just kinds of starts to believe herself and stop trying to convince everyone and just kind of follow her heart. So she's a woman now, and she can kick ass," Lowe said when LA TV Insider Examiner visited her on set in Vancouver.
When Wonderland starts, Alice has been locked away in an institution because her stories of a not-quite whimsical land of magic mushrooms and talking White Rabbits and Caterpillars and a long lost love that she is now mourning have made her father fear why she has tucked herself away into such a fantasy. But of course her stories are true, and it is only the adults who are non-believers, so very quickly the Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha) comes to break her out and bring her back to Wonderland.
"When they first arrive back in Wonderland, we haven't been there for awhile so a lot has changed and we never know what to expect, but you know it's Wonderland so something's going to be there," Lowe said.
"We learn the Red Queen has taken over-- she's feared-- and obviously we learn about Jafar as well."
Alice teaming up with the Knave may cause her some additional complications than just her mission to find Cyrus (Peter Gadiot), who she had presumed dead but whom the Knave has found out is not. Working with the Knave, though the two characters "keep backing each other up" as they take the confrontation that comes at them "head on," the Knave has quite a few secrets and problems of his own that Alice may not expect, having just spent so much time away from him.
"When he first got there he thought it was an amazing place...but now when he goes back with Alice he hates the place. And he's made a lot of enemies there; he owes a lot of people a lot of things-- whether it's favors or money; he's really ruined his ties to Wonderland," Socha said.
"He fears the Red Queen and the caterpillar. We don't know about the caterpillar, do we? He's a bit of a b-word."
The two of them embark on a journey together that spans the present day storyline, but like Once before it, Wonderland will also flashback to show characters' lives hundreds of years ago. Socha promised we would see the Knave before he was even the Knave but just one of Robin Hood's maybe not-so merry men ("He's quite a soppy git: he's quite emotional, and he loves his misses, but he's still a thief. He's a good thief; he steals, I think, for the right reasons...I think he's easily manipulated," Socha said). We will also see a younger version of Alice when she first fell into Wonderland-- and yes, she will be clothed in the traditional blue and white dress we all remember from Disney's cartoon!
"You get to figure out lots of things that connect the stories together and how I met Cyrus and all of those exciting things," Lowe said.
"We have a lot of adventures together!"
Once Upon A Time in Wonderland premieres on ABC on October 10 2013 at 8 p.m.
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