Sunday, December 4, 2011

Article: How "Lost" Influenced the Creators of "Once Upon A Time"

Just in time for tonight's next episodic installment of Once Upon A Time, TV Guide has released an interview with the creators, who also wrote for Lost.

Once Upon a Time Bosses on How Lost Influenced Their Fairytale World:

The duo began the groundwork for Once eight years ago, but it took working on Lost to really hone their idea. "We were really young and we didn't understand how to execute the idea we had. We called it our eight-year writer's block," Kitsis says with a laugh.

...Though the series is ripe with mythos springing from the original fairytales and what the Once writers have also created, the producers believe the real strength and appeal of the series lies elsewhere. "We never thought about Lost or Once really as mythology shows, even though mythology obviously is a part of [both]," Horowitz says. "They are character shows to us. That was the greatest lesson on Lost: Really learning how to approach the story through character."
Prince Charming & Snow White in Fairy Tale Land (ABC's Once Upon A Time)
 ...Horowitz and Kitsis have also pieced together their own "bible" to keep track of the Once timelines and character histories, not unlike the one used by the Lost writers. "It's just to keep ourselves straight as to what we're doing," Horowitz says. "But we're allowing ourselves freedom. It's not like we said, 'Here's what all three seasons would be, or five seasons.' We've got some goal posts, but we're allowing ourselves to create a freedom to change our minds."
 I don't know if fairy tale enthusiasts were/are fans of Lost in general but it definitely has a Lost (show) feel to it. I'm hoping having writers and experienced producers like Jane Espenson* of successful myth-based shows on board will keep that mythology strong and, as a result, use the best aspects of Lost and combine them with something truly fantastic.

Not having a solid myth-base was one of the things about Lost that, well, lost me. During the first season it seemed to me that the writers weren't solid on the rules of the world, it's mythology or where the stories were ultimately going (something that the writers have apparently now admitted was the case, since the series finished). As a result it just felt like a prime time soap set in an unusual location (at least to me and others I know). I have much higher hopes for Once Upon A Time and hope it will ultimately resonate with more people than those just wanting character drama (ie. soap) without losing that audience either.

One fun thing to expect for fans of Lost are inside references and jokes in the set and script of Once (I hear there have already been a couple) and for Lost cast members to appear in very difference roles. Eg one very buzzed about appearance is that of Emilie de Ravin as Belle in episode 12. (Yes - it's Disney's Beauty that's being referenced here).
 Details of her role are scarce, but we hear Once's Belle will have a connection to Rumplestiltskin. No word on whether the titular Beast will appear, but Gaston is slated to pop up as well. Source.
I just have to mention a separate little niggle here (yes another one): I really don't like how they're casting and dressing the actors for their various dual life roles. (I could write a whole post on this but it feels too early in the series to do more than mention right now.) Despite trying to echo the "Disney look" the results don't 'feel' like the characters to me but more like a trip to Disneyland gone sideways. For example, I think this look HERE for Emilie de Ravin looks far more like the character of Belle from the fairy tale (albeit a little too sexily dressed) than the above production photo. Then again, her fair hair and skin, although completely gorgeous, don't say "Beauty" (of Beauty and the Beast) to me at all. If I was matching her to a fairy tale I'd go with Sleeping Beauty. But maybe that's just me. :D

You can read the whole article with executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis HERE (it includes hints on what they know they have to achieve over the series and what areas are open to "evolving storylines") .

*Ms. Espenson dealt wonderfully with the many complicated worlds and mythologies created by Joss Whedon. She also wrote the Jiminy Cricket episode "Still Small Voice", which aired last week. To my mind, despite still having criticisms, it seemed more solid than the past fairy tale character-focused episodes.


  1. I have to comment on your mention of costuming for Once. I don't even think that Disney World does such a terrible job! It seems that when they show the characters as their "fairy tale" selves, they look many as though they are going to prom - a terribly unfashionable prom. Why are the creators not trying harder to dress them in more period attire? They live in a castle and ride horses, yet somehow they have rhinestones on their polyester dresses? And that fairy....I can't even try to describe what she's floating around in.

  2. @tasteofwonderland Yes - I'm not sure what the sensibility is behind the Fairy Tale Land costuming! A lot of it feels like it stepped off a stage (you know - like it's meant to be seen in a theater from very far away complete with theatrical lighting etc). Bizarre. The exterior Fairy Tale Land scenes sometimes feel like a bad Ren Faire set-up with the inconsistencies and weird choices (at least to me). The interiors feel better (except what the hey is King Midas' daughter wearing in this last episode??) They should have gone period but with additional fantasy touches as extras.
    And I can't even bring myself to comment on the fairies right now. Oh dear.
    I still have my fingers crossed that this is just a result of rushing into production on a new show and that it will settle down and find its feet/costumes. (Crosses toes too, for extra wishing.)