ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND: Naveen Andrews on Jafar’s Relationships with the Red Queen and Cyrus, Flashbacks, and More

October 17, 2013 by  

ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND kicked off last week, and the show wasted no time in letting us know that Jafar (Naveen Andrews) was holding Alice’s love, Cyrus, hostage.

So what comes next? I spoke with Andrews to see what he could share about Jafar’s plans for Cyrus, whether we’ll be getting flashbacks for him, and more…

We learned at the end of the pilot that Jafar is holding Cyrus prisoner. What can you tease about where the story goes from here?
Naveen Andrews: What I can say is we live in a world today with people obsessed with the acquisition of power, and holding on to it, and exerting it over other people. That is the world we live in, and it seems like a perennial human theme. People from the dawn of time seem to be fascinated by the idea of power, and what it means to hold it over other people. It’s incredible, really. And Jafar is just one more of those people.

Is there anything Cyrus could do to make himself more trouble than he’s worth to Jafar? Or is there nothing Jafar wouldn’t do to keep Cyrus with him?
NA: I think he’d go to any lengths. Any lengths.

That should be fun. What can you tease about Jafar’s ultimate goal for the season?
NA: Ah! I’m not sure if I’m allowed to go there. Without boring you to death, I think what we want to do is confront people with what is so attractive about power? That it makes it irresistible. People today, people’s lives are run by it. And you think, why? Look at our government for Christ’s sake.

Very true. Jafar and the Red Queen have quite the relationship…
NA: It’s deliciously intriguing, isn’t it? More will be revealed, I guess. Obviously the two need each other, in terms of it being dark and twisted and that nature.

The viewers are brought into it after they’ve basically reached an unholy alliance and seem to be just barely tolerating each other. Are there flashbacks that?
NA: In what was filmed so far, you will certainly get hints of it, absolutely.

But no proper flashbacks to their start?
NA: I think the flashbacks apply to the characters as individuals. So without going into detail, you’ll get — the audience should get an idea of what made them. Or at least what engendered certain choices that they made.

Has there been a Jafar flashback in what you’ve filmed so far?
NA: I don’t know if I’m allowed to say it, but I think what’s fair to say is that when [ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND creators] Adam [Horowitz] and Eddy [Kitsis] and I first talked about this character, everybody had a childhood. Everybody. Even people in the Third Reich. Hilter, and his gang had a childhood. Even though these beings seem to have a supernatural eternity in terms of the way they’re remembered — and rightly so — for being utterly evil, they were children at some point. You can’t deny that; they were human beings.

Right.  So far your scenes have been with the Red Queen and Cyrus — will you be sharing screen time with the rest of the cast soon?
NA: A lot of it has been with the Red Queen. And that has changed as we’ve moved further into the season, because of having to make the audience aware of where Jafar has come from. So I’ve worked with a lot of other actors as well. But in terms of the main cast, our regulars, a lot of it has been with the Red Queen.

Do you have a particular episode you’re most excited for people to see?
NA: The most recent one [that we shot]…really surprised me. You get into a groove, and I think it’s only human, to kind of be ready for what’s coming next, to adjust to the rhythm of the writers, and how the writing is going to manifest itself. And then, I don’t know, I went back to LA and I got this episode and it was like, “Whoa!” It’s nice to be genuinely surprised. It wasn’t what I expected!

I think most of the time, I’m not a curmudgeon, but it takes a lot for me to go, “Whoa, this is something.”



ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND: What You Need to Know About the New ABC Series
ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND: Sophie Lowe, Emma Rigby, and Peter Gadiot Preview the New ABC Series
ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND: Naveen Andrews on Reuniting with Former LOST Writers Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis, Plus Creating a New Take on Jafar

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