Once Upon a Time: Emilie de Ravin Talks About Belle & the Beast's "Inner Beauty"
Once Upon a Time fans are well-versed in how this show likes to twist the fairytale stories that we know. In a previous episode it was a Genie who went on to become the Magic Mirror and in another episode Snow White first met one of the dwarfs inside a jail cell. But tonight's episode of Once Upon a Time contains perhaps the biggest twist yet: Rumplestiltskin will step into the Beast's shoes to illustrate the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast.
Emilie de Ravin reconnects with several of her former LOST writers in tonight's episode when she takes on the role of Belle. Once again, Belle's story begins in a slightly different place: her town is suffering due to the Ogre wars in the fairytale land and, as a result, they've sent a summons to an unusual person that they hope can help save them. Rumplestiltskin (who, at this point, has been changed from the poor villager we knew he was), arrives at the castle and offers to help, but he demands his price: he wants Belle. She agrees and goes to live with him. Emilie explained that "Rumple is actually my Beast. And that's probably the biggest twist to the episode as far as mixing it up Once Upon a Time style. She's mainly working with him and we have a lot of really cool stuff in Rumple's creepy castle and the development of their relationship is really great." You can watch their initial meeting and a scene inside the castle by viewing these sneak peeks for the episode.
Is Belle the rather strong-willed woman we know from the fairytale? After all, some of the female characters we've seen on this show in the fairytale world have been empowered women. Perhaps the best characterization of Belle comes from understanding why she agrees to Rumple's deal instead of staying safe in the castle with a man like Gaston (who will also be appearing tonight): "Gaston is Gaston. Tall, charming and gorgeous, but Belle's kind of looking for something a little deeper. Hence the fact that she's able to see a side of the Beast that no one's been able to see since he changed from who he was. I think that the Gaston relationship is a little too simple for her and didn't give her anything to enjoy. She's the kind of girl who's looking to break the mold in fairytale land. [Some women] would accept their fate and she's always really wanted to be brave and escape the confinement of that life there. She doesn't want to lose her father, he's sort of her biggest love, but to see the world and to be able to make a change...she really accomplishes that in this episode."
Emilie had many good things to say about her experience on Once Upon a Time, from praising the writers to complimenting Robert Carlyle (who plays Rumple): "This episode was really beautifully written. Most of my work was with Robert and it was all just very easy. We just played off each other in such an interesting ways. [Belle] is not going to be pushed around by this person and she's going to show that he doesn't need to be hard on himself - he's a beautiful person. She's much more interested in somebody like that then someone who has no opinion or feelings - whether it be rage or anger or intensity. It's much more exciting for her to break into and show that passion and beauty is, of course, on the inside. I love that message."
Will Beauty be able to tame her beast? That's what we'll learn tonight. Also, when we asked Emilie whether she would be appearing in Storybrooke she laughed "you'll just have to watch it", leading us to believe we will see her there. We've also heard that this won't be the last we've seen of Belle on Once Upon a Time.
Don't miss a new episode of Once Upon a Time at 8:00 p.m. EST on ABC tonight. You can watch sneak peeks from the Storybrooke storyline here.