An Interview with Dylan Schmid about Baelfire's Journey & Dreams for the Future by Diane J. Reed
It's such a delight to have the opportunity to catch up with Dylan Schmid about how his character Baelfire has evolved over the past 3 seasons on Once Upon a Time and to hear his insights into his character's motivations and hopes for the future. Aside from being a tremendous young talent, Dylan has the enviable good fortune of working with a host of master actors, and in the following interview he discusses his character's unique journey, what it's like on the set, how he handles being a young star, and what he feels he's learned from the iconic Robert Carlyle.
Diane: Hi Dylan and welcome! Your fans are eager to hear your insights about Season 3, so I'll just jump right in with my first question: Your character Baelfire is the only Lost Boy in Once Upon a Time to have ever succeeded in growing up & leaving Neverland. This shows great fortitude on Baelfire's part that you initially displayed in the series by standing up to Rumpel, even as a young boy. What has it been like to "see yourself" in adult form through the actor Michael Raymond James? Is that a little eerie for you? And have you two ever discussed your character's growth and how Baelfire developed such strength & motivation?
Dylan: Actually, no, we’ve never had the chance to discuss the character together, but it would be great to do this with Michael someday. Although, it’s pretty awesome to imagine myself as Michael Raymond James all grown up because he’s a great actor!
Diane: Did it surprise you that the writers have your adult counterpart Neal working with Rumpel in Season 3 to find Henry? Since Rumpel has confessed that he is willing to DIE to save Henry, do you think there's a place in Baelfire's heart to truly forgive & connect with his dad someday? Or do you feel that street smart Baelfire is being purely mercenary so that he can get Henry back?
Dylan: No, older Baelfire’s actions didn’t really surprise me at all because Baelfire has unconditional love for his papa. Although, Bae found out from Peter Pan how his papa was planning to kill his son Henry, so I’m not sure how this will pan out now. I believe older Baelfire/Neil really does love his son Henry, so I don’t think he wants any harm to come to him (as any parent would feel, I think). I also believe, because Baelfire was homeless and alone at one point in his life, that he is also street smart, so he's aware of the dangers of being alone, cold, and hungry. So I believe Baelfire wants to protect Henry.
Diane: You're in your third season now of working with the brilliant Robert Carlyle in a vital role. Have you two developed a rapport over the years, or is it still a little intimidating to be confronted with Robert Carlyle's talent & experience during scenes?
Dylan: No, I’ve never felt intimidated working beside Robert Carlyle because he is just so open and friendly! He makes acting fun!
Diane: What have you learned from Robert Carlyle about acting or even about life?
Dylan: Actually, a few years back, when I was around 12 years old, there was a time when Robert encouraged me to just change up my acting scenes a bit, so I watched what he was doing and did the same! I just knew Robert really knew what he was doing and I wanted to be like this! One of the Directors later told my mom I was a sponge when it came to learning from Robert.
There was a cool moment in the last episode of Season 2 when we were all wrapped up on set, I observed Robert Carlyle going around to every single person who was working and he began to shake their hand so strongly. He went to every single person in the room from the props people to the camera people; I don’t think he missed one person…This was a real inspiration for me to see, because he is such a legendary actor and he still has so much respect for everyone around him. He’s such a cool dude!
Diane: I'm dying to know how you pass the time on the set when you're waiting to shoot scenes. Do you & Robert Carlyle play cards or joke around, or primarily study your lines? Does anyone have fun hobbies they engage in or play practical jokes to pass the time?
Dylan: Yes we like to goof off and make jokes, but sometimes we do practice lines together. I also like to hang out at the crafty and say hello to everyone. The OUAT team is a pretty awesome bunch and so friendly!
Diane: What would you say is your silliest or most serious moment on the set of OUAT?
Dylan: There was one time in Season 3 when I was trying to push the knife off the table, but for some reason the knife would not slide off because of what it was made of, or perhaps the table was too rough! [Laughs] I really had to push the knife hard, so it took a few camera takes!
I guess the most serious moment was the scene with Hook from Season 2 when I was upset over finding my mom’s picture on the Jolly Roger. I was so intensely involved in this scene that it took me awhile to come out of it! [Laughs] Director Dean White helped me by giving me a moment. It was a real supportive team of people.
Diane: Now that you are 14 and you've been on a hit show for 3 seasons, are more people starting to recognize you at school or on the street? Is that enjoyable, or does it become a strange burden at times? Do you have any fun or peculiar "fan" moments that you can share?
Dylan: No, not really. But I really appreciate that the fans enjoy my work! I guess this is what all actors strive for…..or anyone who does a good job in what they like to do! [Thinking] There’s a great satisfaction when others appreciate your hard work.
Diane: I love the story you've told in past interviews about getting the acting bug at age 5 or 6 and harassing your mother until she took you on an audition (what a great mom to facilitate your dreams!)
Dylan: Thanks, my parents and brother are a huge support for me… I also want to mention my Agent Stacey Ando, teacher Christine Willes, and videographer Doug Fee; they are the back bones of who I’ve become, so I really need to mention them.
Diane: Can you recall what inspired you to love acting so much at that age?
Dylan: I have no idea how I got the acting bug. I guess I was just a pretty imaginative kid who loved watching great movies and playing make believe! My parents have said that when I was really little all they could hear coming from the basement was loud laughter!
Diane: Were there any specific films/tv shows or actors who you were particularly fond of and wanted to emulate?
Dylan: I really enjoyed watching magical stories and super hero movies! Batman, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and the Matrix kind of stuff sticks out for me!
Diane: You've already had a wide range of roles in your career—from characters in Shakespearean plays & The Hobbit to the fairy tale figure of Baelfire & even playing a part in Daniel Radcliffe's darkly comedic film Horns.
Dylan: Yes, when I was about 9 or 10 years old, I gained a huge respect for Shakespearean plays and the Opera because I got to actually participate and observe these actors practice in action in rehearsals. I learned how there is a lot of dedication and hard work that goes into these kinds of performances. Doing the movie Horns was a real "wow" moment for me for sure, but just to clarify: my buddy Mitchell Kummen actually plays Daniel Radcliffe when he is young. I play Daniel's best friend Lee (who is Max Minghella), so I am Young Lee.
Diane: If you could wave a magic wand, what kind of character would you play that no one might guess you could be capable of?
Dylan: [Thinking]…I would really like to play any character that has a good character description and story line—this could be any comedy or drama! My ultimate goal is to be in a big, block-buster feature film!
Diane: Do you have any "dream" roles or directors & actors you'd like to work with?
Dylan: Anyone who is legend …. we learn from all types of different people!
Diane: I've heard you say in prior interviews that you like music, sketching, skateboarding & writing scripts. What type or genre of scripts do you write? Can you tell us about what you're working on right now? Do you see yourself possibly writing or directing in the future?
Dylan: Yes I enjoy writing, but I’m just learning. My brother TJ recently showed me a cool program where I can do scripts on my own, so I’m just playing around with this right now and having fun creating different story lines and characters.
Diane: Both Victoria, British Columbia (where you live) and Vancouver (where you work) are beautiful places. As your career progresses, do you see yourself as moving to Hollywood in the future to pursue more roles, or do you think you might take a break & attend college & explore other interests? What do you see yourself doing in five years?
Dylan: Hopefully I’ll be in bigger roles in future! But I may explore other options…. it’s hard to say at this point. For now, I’m just enjoying the moments as they come.
Diane: Finally, if you could give Baelfire just one magic wish, what would it be?
Dylan: I think I would only have one wish, and that would probably be to change my Papa back to Pre-Dark papa so we could be a family again.
Diane: Aw, that's a wonderful wish! And if you could give yourself a wish, how might it be different or the same?
Dylan: I guess I would wish for the same really, for just my family to be healthy and happy because this is really what all families want: to live healthy and happily.
Thanks Diane and to all the OUAT fans for your questions and spending the time reading my answers!