Sparkling, Passionate, and Embracing Her Full Power, Rena Sofer Talks To Us About Portraying Queen Eva (Snow’s Mother) In Once Upon A Time & Becoming All You Can Be
Interview by Diane J. Reed - @DianeJReed
In Season 2, Emmy-award winning actress Rena Sofer joins the Once Upon a Time cast as Snow White’s mother Queen Eva. I felt so fortunate to chat with Rena prior to the airing of her episode—and her tremendous intelligence, wit, and passion for the acting craft is nothing short of inspirational! In the following interview, Rena discusses the nuances of her character, her unique experiences on the set, and the importance of embracing your full power when it comes to matters of the heart.
Diane: Hi Rena! We were so delighted to learn that you’re going to appear as Queen Eva, Snow White’s mother, in Season 2—have you filmed the episode already?
Rena: Yes, we have!
Diane: You appear in flashbacks in this episode slated for early March. I’ve seen you in a promotional photo with the adorable Bailee Madison where she’s holding your hand and you’re smiling. We’re certified fairy tale geeks here - particularly Teresa Martin, our Origins writer who’s researched oral versions of Snow White in the original German language. So we’re dying to know if you’re playing Snow’s mother according to the traditional Grimm fairy tale where she dies early in the story? Or are you playing the character from the archaic version prior to 1812 who does NOT die and instead becomes Snow’s evil nemesis rather than the stepmother? In other words, is your character a good mother, or does she have secret evil intentions?
Rena: No, I don’t perceive my character as evil. I don’t know the plans of the show in the future, or the ultimate arc of the character. But in my episode, I didn’t play someone dark—she was warm and loving to Snow.
Diane: Do we see you pass away in this episode like in the fairy tale?
Rena: I’m not going to say anything! I can only say I’m Snow White’s mother.
Diane: Well we know Adam Horowitz has said in an earlier interview that you have “a surprising connection to someone else in our world.” I’m hoping that means you’ll be in more episodes then?
Rena: That would be great! But I don’t know quite yet.
Diane: As far as viewers are concerned, we do know you eventually die because Snow White’s father King Leopold marries Regina. But it’s a fairy tale, so I suppose anything can happen.
Rena: Yes, anything is possible! Who knows, I could come back. I just started watching the show with my little girl, and I got to the part where Katherine is found in an alley alive. We’ve spent two episodes thinking she’s dead and that Mary Margaret is responsible, so there you go. I don’t know for certain, but never say never.
Diane: When you were watching episodes with your daughter, did she enjoy them as much as you?
Rena: Oh, she’s enjoying it as much if not more! And you know, she’s seven and not a girly girl. She’s a real tomboy, and she doesn’t like fairy tales or princesses, but she LOVES the show.
Diane: Now what about you—did you enjoy fairy tales as a child?
Rena: I liked them, but I was never very princessy. I enjoyed the animated films—I’m in my forties so I saw them when they were new! That was amazing and exciting for me.
Diane: So what was it like to wear one of Eduardo Castro’s gorgeous gowns? I saw a picture of you in that spectacular red dress. Is there some part of you that enjoys dressing up as if you were in a fairy tale just once in your life—was that really fun?
Rena: Oh it was so much fun! And I wore his outfits more than once—the more elaborate and uncomfortable, the better because they were so extraordinary. Even Bailee Madison had these massive hoop skirts on, so she had to step sideways to go through a door. She never complained for a second because just to wear one of those outfits was a blessing.
Diane: Has anyone ever told you that you resemble Vivian Leigh? In that spectacular red dress by Eduardo Castro with your regal bearing, you really reminded me of her. You have that same kind of wonderful screen presence.
Rena: Thank you so much!