Rose McIver previews ONCE UPON A TIME and MASTERS OF SEX
Rose McIver is becoming a familiar face to Sunday night TV viewers – bringing her charm to ONCE UPON A TIME as Tinkerbell and MASTERS OF SEX as Vivian Scully, daughter of the Provost (Beau Bridges), owner of a school girl crush on Ethan Haas that finds itself spiraling a little bit out of control! On Sunday’s all new OUAT, the team has finally gotten themselves together enough to present a plan to TinkerBell, while over on MASTERS OF SEX, Vivian and Ethan’s relationship continues to get more murky, while her parents face some trouble at home.
I spent some time chatting with Rose about her shows, her plans, and what comes next!
I looked at your list of things you’ve done or are doing, and you are busy, busy, busy!
[laughs] It’s exciting at the moment. Things have been good for sure!
Jumping right in to talk about ONCE UPON A TIME – TinkerBell – what an iconic character! What’s it like to inhabit this role?
I think what’s really exciting is that ONCE UPON A TIME like to their own spin on all of these characters, and they really make them these three dimensional wonderful human beings as well as the icons that they are. But looking back, when I started to do some research on it – TinkerBell was already written as such a three-dimensional character. She’s not any type of stereotype. She has the ability to be very jealous, and sweet and kind and well-intentioned. I had a lot of fun looking into, one of the things I just noticed recently actually – originally JM Barrie justified her incredible mood swings, because when she’s tiny, when she’s a fairy, she can only fit one feeling in at any particular time, so she either is whole-heartedly jealous or whole-heartedly excitable, so I’ve had fun trying to bring elements of that into this live-action take. She’s a lot of fun, I’ll say that!
What will we see coming up for her?
Well, when we last left her, she had said she wasn’t interested in messing around with them trying to work out a loose plan. She needed them to come back, the whole team to come back to her with an idea of how they are going to get off the island. This week, we’re re-introduced to TinkerBell, and she’s willing to help them now that they’ve kind of got their act together, and they have a plan. From there, the journey only really begins.
With a character like this – it was initially announced that it was a handful of episodes – has that changed, will we continue to see you recur throughout the season?
Yeah, I mean you never really know, do you? It’s the blessing and the curse of being an actor is that you get so much variety but you also really can’t count on anything [laughs]. I’m not really sure what’s coming – they keep writing her in, and we’ve had a lot of fun with it. Hopefully, it’s been a good gig, and I really love the people that I work with.
Were you a fan of OUAT before joining?
For about two years, I actually hadn’t lived in a place with any kind of consistency. I was like, subletting and living in different cities and different countries, so I didn’t really have any television kind of following element to myself, but I had seen a couple of episodes of ONCE and enjoyed it. When I found out that I had booked this role, I spoke to my family back in New Zealand and various people who got so excited and people who had the chance to watch it consistently were big fans. That was really cool. It’s nice to step on board something that you know you’re able to show your family and friends and be really proud of.
One of the biggest reasons I enjoy coming back to OUAT is the fact that a character could appear for 5 minutes, but still feel fleshed out and real –
Yeah, absolutely. Everyone has something to contribute to the team, and it does have a nice ensemble feel, especially in some of those bigger scenes where the different energies all work together really nicely.
Looking back at the TinkerBells we’ve seen played in the past, is there someone or idea that you base it on?
What was great was that when I auditioned for it, they didn’t even tell me I was auditioning for TinkerBell – they just said “a fairy” and I hadn’t put two and two together, and so I really didn’t model it on anybody. They said they wanted a common fairy. I went and played her as kind of a bit of a party girl, and very human [laughs]. So then when I got the phone call from my agent saying “oh you booked the roll of TinkerBell” it was like “What? When did I go out for TinkerBell?” [laughs] In short, I didn’t really base my take on the character on anybody in particular, and I thought it was a refreshing way to go into it. Have my idea, and since I booked the role, I was able to look back at the various incarnations, and there are a lot of different people and ways that she’s played, things that I’ve incorporated.
Switching gears to another Sunday night show – getting rave reviews, everybody loves it, as well – MASTERS OF SEX on Showtime. Talk a little bit about Vivian – she seems like she has a false sense of confidence, but that’s it’s not intentional at the same time.
I feel like it’s a pretty widespread experience, of when you are first trying to be intimate with somebody and you feel like you’re so much older than you are, and you understand the world in this wise way, and I don’t think that she’s doing it to be manipulative. I don’t think she’s trying to take advantage of Ethan. I think she really thinks that she’s going to be very grounded about the experience, but it throws her. It’s just a terrible pairing of people. She really falls for somebody and she wants to be loved by somebody, and he happens to be a playboy [laughs]. It’s a difficult pairing from the output because she’s really well intentioned. Yeah, you hope that it doesn’t come back to bite her terribly.
Will Ethan and Vivian continue the dance – is there a definitive decision about where they’re going to end up.
Oh you have to keep watching [laughs]. This Sunday and next Sunday should be pretty good and interesting for Vivian’s journey and where things go with Ethan. It’s definitely a lot of fun to play somebody – I was so frustrated almost on Ethan’s behalf at her seeming to be one thing and not being it. That’s part of the human growing up experience, and she’s just forging her way through and understanding what it is to be a woman, and we all have a certain amount of dependence that comes with those things.
Looking back at Vivian – did you do research into that world / live, how teenagers were then, how people were then?
Absolutely! It was interesting signing onto a project that was about Masters and Johnson and their research, and actually not having anything to do with their research itself. She wasn’t one of the participants, and so although I did some reading about them, their information isn’t directly relevant to Vivian, it’s more of a time period thing. Especially being told – I booked the job, and they were like “oh you’re going to be playing the virgin” and it was like “well…” I was a little bit cagey about how long that might last on a show called MASTERS OF SEX [laughs]. Listening to music – I have worked on projects in the 50s before, so I have been able to explore some of those things. It helps to be surrounded by a cast that have done all of their research, and can bring all of that stuff as well. You’re sort of sharing and jumping on board with the whole bandwagon.
What else do you have coming up?
The other thing that I have just found out has been bought and distributed, which I’m excited about, is a film called Brightest Star, and stars Allison Janney as well. She plays my mother on the show, obviously, but in this she plays an astronomer, and it’s a really cool story that I think is being released in January. It’ll do a 15 city release. Yeah, I’m really excited about that. We shot it in New York a couple of years ago now, and it’s exciting to see this film kind of take off and have a life of its own. Other than that, I’m working on ONCE UPON A TIME and haven’t had a chance to work on much else, but I hope the next thing is equally as exciting!
When you’re looking for roles – are you drawn to specific themes, characters, what do you look for first?
Personally, I think so much of it is in the writing. If I read something where I think the whole story arc and the context and subject matter is really interesting and relevant, that inevitably brings originality, and the cast who are working on it, the director, everybody who is involved is able to take some creative control and make something really special, so that’s something I’m drawn to. I also love variety, and of course every actor is craving that you don’t play the same character twice. I definitely look for things that challenge me in a new direction or offer me a new world to work in!
Do you get a chance now to spend time catching up on TV?
I really haven’t! I sort of haven’t really been in one area still! I’ve bene in LA and Vancouver, and New Zealand. It’s something where I’m more likely to sit and binge over a weekend and watch a whole show back to back, than to be able to do the weekly follow thing. My next downtime, over the Christmas holidays, I definitely would love to sit and catch up on the things that I hear such great stuff about!
ONCE UPON A TIME airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC. MASTERS OF SEX airs Sundays at 10/9c on Showtime. BRIGHTEST STAR will be released in early 2014.