ONCE UPON A TIME: Co-Creator Eddy Kitsis Teases His Magical New Series - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

ONCE UPON A TIME: Co-Creator Eddy Kitsis Teases His Magical New Series

October 23, 2011 by  

ONCE UPON A TIME premieres tonight on ABC at 8 PM and I adore this show so much that I’m not too proud to beg you to watch this show. (Seriously. Please watch it.) As you may have seen from the first nine minutes of the pilot, the series is absolutely magical, and I have no doubt you’ll be enchanted if you give the series a shot.

In case you need further convincing, I talked with co-creator Eddy Kitsis about balancing the show’s mythology and characters, what LOST lessons they’re applying here, and more…

There seemed to be a lot of technical storytelling questions during the TCA panel about how the show going to work beyond the pilot. Were you surprised by that?
Eddy Kitsis: No, because I think embedded in the pilot are those questions, so what we were thinking is if they weren’t asked, we didn’t do a good job raising them. And for us, all those questions people ask, we want them to, so we can answer them and then have more story. Because if you answer everything in the pilot, why are you coming back? If the first chapter of a book is the ending, why go on? It’s a pamphlet.

Absolutely. And given everything that is raised in the pilot, what do you hope is the biggest question that sticks in the audiences’ mind?
EK: It depends, because I know so much about the show. [Laughs] There are character questions: why does the Evil Queen hate Snow White so much that she’d literally do this nuclear option? Why? You don’t just get born evil, you’re made evil. Why? And I think all the questions about the curse and the aging, I think those are important questions.

You and co-creator Adam Horowitz worked on LOST for several seasons, and obviously, that show was famous for all their mysteries. What lessons did you learn from your time there that you’re using here?
EK: The thing I take most is character comes first. And when you see more ONCE UPON A TIME, you’ll see that mythology is truly secondary to character. And, in fact, in episode 2, a lot of the mythology questions get answered, and then we can move on and start telling you about characters. It’s kind of what we call the BIG philosophy — little Tom Hanks goes and says, ‘”I want to be big” and the next day he’s big, so let’s move on and tell the story.

That’s not to say we don’t have mythology and story questions. But we’re hoping they’re more about character and what makes that tick and in a more self-contained way than every week wanting to know are they going to break the curse.

Speaking of that curse, in the fairy tale land, we see that Snow White and the Prince are destined to be together, but there are fairly different circumstances to their relationship in Storybrooke when they’re Mary Margaret and John. Should we assume things will end up being mirrored or is it possible one or the other might steer in a different direction romantically?
EK: I think that’s exactly the show we want to tell, which is, you’ll realize — the easiest example I can give is Geppetto. You see how lovingly he loves Pinocchio, but in the pilot, he has no child and he never could have one. So there’s a void in his life that needs to be filled. And that to us is more important than anything else. And you’re right, Mary Margaret is a school teacher and maybe she falls in love with someone else. Maybe she doesn’t fall in love at all. Maybe her curse is to never find love.

That would be pretty much the worst thing you can do to someone who was part of an epic love story.
EK: Exactly. And that’s why we chose Snow White for the pilot. We said, if you want to show a happy ending being ripped from someone, show the happiest of them all. True love woke her up with a kiss. And then watch it be taken from her.

Fair enough. Going forward as you balance the two worlds, will it be evenly split between the fairy tale land and Storybrooke? Or will it vary week by week?
EK: Vary. I think it’s story-dependent.

Did you have the first 13 episodes mapped out, or were you more flexible with the evolution?
EK: I wouldn’t say we had it all mapped out in the sense that we’re not allowing ourselves creative freedom. What’s interesting is sometimes we’re like, “We have to get to this! We have to get to this!” And then it’s episode four already and we didn’t have time to get to it, so we have ideas and we’re building towards stuff, but we’re really interested in each episode just taking a character and finding out more about them.

The pilot is just absolutely visually stunning. Is there any worry of not being able to keep that up or thoughts that maybe you need to scale back on certain aspects going forward?
EK: We’re going to try and be as magical and awesome as possible until they cut the purse. I think the great thing about ABC is that [people] say for your very first pilot, don’t have kids and dogs. And we had kids and dogs and dwarfs and elves and curses and dragons and they were like, “Okay.” And they’ve been very much as this is as big as they said, meaning they knew they picked up something unique; they’re letting it be unique. Whether it lives or dies, for us, we need to say, even if it’s only 12 episodes, we did it exactly the way we wanted to, without any compromises. And that’s what we’re laying out there, because that’s the only way I can do this job — to love it and do my vision. And that was the other thing we learned from LOST: [co-creator] Damon [Lindelof] and [executive producer] Carlton [Cuse] said if you have a vision, stick to it. You may spend all your day defending it, but you stick to that vision. That’s what’s up there. And whether people like it or not, all you can do is pray.

Before I let you go, I have to ask: the guys at LOST very famously said they knew what the final shot of the series was going to be from the start. Do you know how this story ends?
EK: You know what? I’m going to be totally honest and say no, because I don’t know if I’m going to have five seasons. All I know is that I’m going to have 12 episodes, and I’m just saying I don’t know if another network will be dumb enough to give me and Adam another hour, so we’re going to take advantage of this con as hard as we can, and make that 12 awesome. And if we’re lucky enough to do more, we’ll have to start figuring those questions out.

ONCE UPON A TIME premieres tonight at 8 PM on ABC. Will you be tuning in?


ONCE UPON A TIME: Watch the First Nine Minutes of the Series Premiere Now!
ONCE UPON A TIME from ABC – First Look

Follow @GiveMeMyRemote and @marisaroffman on Twitter for the latest TV news. Connect with other TV fans on GIVE ME MY REMOTE’s official Facebook page.

And to be the first to see our exclusive videos by subscribing to our YouTube channel at youtube.com/givememyremotetv


2 Responses to “ONCE UPON A TIME: Co-Creator Eddy Kitsis Teases His Magical New Series”

  1. Erica on October 23rd, 2011 3:40 pm

    Can I just say that I have a huge writer crush on Eddy Kitsis.

  2. Jackie on October 23rd, 2011 8:54 pm

    Just watched it! AND I am LOVING this show! I can’t wait to see what happens and even had a little goosebump action going on near the end… 🙂
    Keep on begging people to watch it! 🙂