Though most people know Jorge Garcia from his role as the mostly lovable lottery winner Hurley on “Lost” (and others might recall him from “Becker” or “Alcatraz,”), the actor is taking a turn for the mean on “Once Upon A Time” (Sun. 8:00 p.m. on ABC). As the giant who lives at the top of the beanstalk, he’ll be facing off against Emma and Captain Hook, who hope to steal a magical compass from him that will transport them to Storybrooke. I talked to Garcia about the role, why he was glad to see Dr. Frankenstein and what he likes about having a full-time job.
So, you’re playing a murderous giant?
They called me murderous? Wow. Okay.
Hey, that’s what the press release said.
Well, I did a looping session for the giant, and it was basically all growls.
But we’ll be seeing you, not just hearing you, right?
It’s me.They CGI most of the set, so I had to work in a studio completely done in green screen and act against little pieces of tape and dowels, but it’s me, you definitely see my face. I don’t look entirely like myself, though; I’m in costume.
Since you’re working against a green screen, I guess that’s to make you look giant-sized?
Yeah. The perspective is different, because they want me to look like I’m six times the size of everyone else.
The creators of “Lost” created the Hurley character just for you. It seems like something similar happened here.
[“Once Upon A Time” creators] Eddie [Kitsis] and Adam [Horowitz], they were always the keepers of the Hurley stories [on “Lost.”]. They wrote most of the scripts about Hurley, so for a while we’ve been talking about working together again, and how they wanted to bring me in for “Once.” I wasn’t available last year because I was working on another show, but they pitched the giant story this year and they gave me a little bit of background about his origin, which will be something to do in a later story.
I guess the murderous giant isn’t getting murdered this week?
I do believe I’ll be returning to the show; they’re looking to bring me back in about a month, so they’re putting a pin in me for that. As to how much they want to use me as the whole storyline continues, it depends how the storylines progress.
Given that you’ve had the grind of working as a series regular, is this ideal for you? Your character is still part of the storyline, but you don’t have to work every day or even every week.
I enjoy the comfort of having somewhere to go every week. There’s a certain piece of mind you have of having a steady job. I’m not concerned about having work, but it’s nice to do things every day. This is good, too, though. I’m just kind of riding the wave and seeing what happens.
Hurley was very reflective of you —
There’s a lot of me in him and him in me.
— but is there any of you in the giant? Or would you even want there to be?
In a way it’s just kind of another derivative away from “Lost,” in that the same writers who’ve written for me for a while before are writing for me again. So they get who I am, but there are sides of this giant that are… let’s just say the giant isn’t a giant Hurley. It’s a different angle, but it’s cool with me.
You’re a singer, having performed as a guest vocalist for Weezer and contributing to a song on the movie “When We Were Pirates.” Any chance you’ll get the giant to fee-fi-fo-fum a tune?
As of yet, there’s no singing required in the role. But if they want to, I’ll do my best.
When you were a kid, was there ever a fairy tale or Disney character you wanted to be?
In the Disney movies, I was always a fan of King Louie and Baloo the Bear from “The Jungle Book.” I don’t know if I wanted to be them, but I definitely sang all those songs a lot.
Your character is following on the heels of Dr. Frankenstein. Were you surprised to see the character appear on the show?
When they were telling me about the show, and I went into the pitch and they told me where I fit in, I said wow, you just blew it wide open with Dr. Frankenstein. it can really be any literary character you can fit into “Once Upon A Time.” Anything’s available to the story, which is amazing.
I know you can’t say too much about what happens with your character, but what can you tell us?
I definitely have direct interactions with Emma and Captain Hook. Definitely.