ONCE UPON A TIME: Michael Raymond-James Previews the End of Season 2
May 5, 2013 by Marisa Roffman
ONCE UPON A TIME is going to Neverland!
As the series concludes its second season, viewers will get a little glimpse into Bae/Neal’s past — and his history with the land that gave us Peter Pan — as things are heating up for Neal (and the people he loves) in present day Storybrooke.
To get a little insight into what goes down in “Second Star from the Right” and “And Straight on ‘Til Morning,” I spoke with ONCE star Michael Raymond-James (Neal) to see what he could share…
We know the final two episodes deal with the backstory of Bae (Neal’s name by birth), specifically with his time in Neverland, but will we also be seeing you in any of these flashbacks?
Michael Raymond-James: It’s mainly going to be my character’s flashback. It will involve Neal — me — in present day Storybrooke, and the backstory of younger Baelfire played by Dylan [Schmid] after my dad let me go for the first time. This is a really difficult show to talk about in terms of giving away spoilers.
Of course, I understand it’s a tricky line to toe. Given all the secrecy and the layers to the show, how was it for you to jump straight into such a major role in the second season?
MRJ: I was familiar with the show, but I hadn’t seen a ton of it. So it’s always a question when you jump on a hit that’s already been established and it’s an ensemble piece, but all those questions get answered fairly quickly when you arrive. And I was so enamored by the pitch from [show co-creators] Adam [Horowitz] and Eddy [Kitsis] about what this character was, and the plans that they had for developing the character and how the story was going to go; I just wanted to be involved. The rest sort of figures itself out. I was incredibly lucky to be able to come on to a show that has such a great cast, a great crew, a great group of people who have been incredibly wonderful to work with, and made some really great friends out of it. Whatever sort of worries I had going into it about how this is going to work were quickly tossed aside because it’s been just an absolute blast to go work with your friends.
That’s good to hear. Right now, the audience knows about Tamara and how deeply she’s betraying Neal, but he’s in the dark. How do you think he’d react if/when he found out about what she’s up to?
MRJ: Well, I think that that isn’t something that would be new for Neal; it happened as a child when his father let him go through this portal, when all he wanted was his dad. He was a little boy and [he] was scared. And I needed my dad and my dad let me go. Because of that, because that happened, I think it’s a little bit difficult for him to anticipate that happening again. How could that possibly happen? And the eye sees what it wants to see and the ear hears what it wants to hear, sometimes. So while Emma is on the case and aware something is going on and she does try to bring it to my attention, it’s hard for me to grasp that something that heavy could happen?
It isn’t a secret at this point that Neal does have some lingering feelings for Emma, but does the fact that they share a child together make him pause and be extra cautious about every romantic move he makes going forward?
MRJ: I think Neal wants to be incredibly cautious with anything involving his son. Until things are on firmer ground, I don’t think he wants to move too quickly with anything. I think the most important thing for Neal is to be a good father. And how he goes about that, is sort of taking things one step at a time. It’s certainly something I think that Neal is, without question, aware of. And I think it’s safe to say he does still have very deep feelings [for Emma], but he wants to make sure he’s doing things cautiously, very appropriately, and so forth.
And how are things going with Neal’s father, Rumple, in these final two episodes?
MRJ: They’ve teased a little scene, and I think that’s a difficult thing, too, for Neal to get his feet planted in. The relationship with my dad is difficult at best; there’s so much unfinished business that it’s hard to just drop all that and act as if it’s not there when it is there. We’re carrying luggage. I’m talking about baggage that could fill an airplane. It’s difficult. It’s fragile.
Absolutely. Is there anything you can tease about what you’re most excited for people to see as we approach the end of the season?
MRJ: There’s so much for the viewers to see. I really can’t wait for these two back-to-back finales to air, because I think they’re so incredibly well done…there’s so much that I think is about to go down, that I’m so excited for people to see.
ONCE UPON A TIME airs Sunday nights at 8 PM on ABC.
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