As Belle on “Once Upon A Time,” Emilie de Ravin captured the smart, bookish but good-hearted essence of the familiar Disney character. Since Belle lost her memory, though, the actress gets to stretch a little. This Sunday we’ll get to see more of Belle’s new personality (created by Regina) after she leaves the hospital and is free to pursue her own interests. Her first stop isn’t a library, either. I spoke to de Ravin about Lacey, why this barfly character isn’t bad herself but is drawn to bad boys, and why she never wanted to be a Disney princess as a kid.
So, is Lacey a bad girl?
She’s not bad in any respect. She’s had a loss of memory since she was shocked, just wiped out, at the town line. But she’s been given by Regina a source memory, as Regina did with everyone 28 years ago when she sent them to Storybrooke. She hadn’t given Belle one because she was locked away in a mental hospital, so there was no need to. So Regina decides to give me a memory Mr. Gold won’t like; she makes Lacey a little racy, nothing like Belle at all, because she doesn’t want Mr. Gold to fall in love with her. But now he has to get her to fall in love with him if he wants Belle back.
Tell me a little about Lacey, as we’ve really only seen her in the hospital.
She’s a free spirit, wears what she wants, does what she wants. She’s happy-go-lucky, and the bar is her favorite place to go, not the library. She doesn’t like books or travel, so she’s content as a chick in this little town.
Clearly, she’s nothing like Belle, which must be hard for Mr. Gold.
She has no idea who Belle is. Mr. Gold needs me to fall in love with him, though, so he can figure out a way to get me back. If I fall in love with him, true love’s kiss or whatever magic he’s thinking up will be the way to get Belle back.
Ironically, it seems like the way to Lacey’s heart is for Mr. Gold to give in to the impulses Belle always begged him to avoid.
He doesn’t realize this at the start. He’s sweet, and he’s never been a dater in Storybrooke, after all, never went out pursuing women. He and Lacey have no common interests, so it’s quite funny in that respect. He doesn’t realize that until something happens and he discovers that I like his dark side. He loves Belle because she brings out the good in him, which no one has been able to do, but that we’ve seen in the flashbacks. She’s the only person he can really talk to, and she gives him courage and support, which he really needs right now given all that’s going on. But it’s difficult when Lacey comes around. In one sense she just likes him how he is, this devilish, cruel man. She likes the bad boy, like a lot of women.
Were you a little girl who loved these Disney heroines growing up?
No, but I’m really happy being one now. Who else gets to dress up in these incredible outfits we have for work? I didn’t really watch the Disney cartoons. I sometimes watched the movies, Mary Poppins, Pippi Longstocking; the classic older movies. And some television, Bewitched, for example. I went through a Beatles documentary phase, and I wanted to marry Paul McCartney until my mother explained to me that those movies were from the 60s and he was really a lot older now. I was 9, so it wasn’t too hard to accept.
Was there a learning curve for you coming on to the show, given how many fairy tale and literary characters there are? And new ones just keep coming, like Robin Hood.
There are ones I’ve completely forgotten about, and there’s a lot more coming, true. It’s pretty cool. I have since watched “Beauty and the Beast,” and I’m glad she’s a goldie girl, not just book smart, but she can take care of herself. She’s a role model, and it’s nice to have a few of those.
I know you can’t give much away, but what can we expect Sunday?
There’s a lot of interaction between Lacey and Mr. Gold, and it’s interesting how that develops throughout the show. There’s also a lot with everything else that’s going on; people trying to decide if they want to stay in Storybrooke, for example, Jorge [Garcia, who plays Tiny the giant] is back, whom I love. Hi, Jorge! There’s a lot going on, and some cool stuff happens that fills in some gaps. Oh, and a thief may be involved, too.