The Once Upon a Time star talks about her new movie, bringing a Disney princess to life, and almost being Gwen Stacy!
Actress Georgina Haig could be called a bit of a super hero in her own right, playing beloved Disney princess Elsa on ABC’s “Once Upon A Time.”
In the midst of a press tour for her new film “The Mule,” we recently spoke with Haig about the difference between Australian and American cinema, the ways fans react to her when she’s wearing her Frozen costume, how she almost played Gwen Stacy in “The Amazing Spider-Man” and much more!
Marvel.com: First things first, what drew you to wanting to be in “The Mule”?
Georgina Haig: Well, I guess I read the synopsis and thought, “That sounds crazy and awesome!” I just loved it. I read it and went, “I want to see that movie! That is a movie I would really love.” So that made me really want to do it. I liked [character I play], too, as a woman in a man’s world. It’s set in 1982 and she really kind of takes on a lot of the other characters and she’s quite tough. It’s also a bit self-serving. I just like that she had all those elements to her. The whole thing just appealed to me so much. I love black comedy and this is—I mean, I argue with Angus Sampson [writer/director/producer of “The Mule”] all the time—he’s like, “it’s not a black comedy!” I’m like, “Angus. It’s funny! Like, yes it’s a wonderful, suspenseful thriller, but it’s also, to me, a black comedy anyway.” But yeah, we can argue about what genre it is until the cows come home.
Marvel.com: It seems like you can take more chances in Australian films than most American films.
Georgina Haig: Yeah! I know what you mean. I guess as soon as you have to answer to people with money, then, often, you can’t take as many risks. And I think because there was some state funding but there was a lot of private funding for this, they were able to do what they wanted a little bit. I think maybe because a lot of the films that get made in Australia are lower budget, they can take more risks because there’s not as much to lose. I don’t know! I just think a movie like this, I don’t know if it would’ve been made in America because of the subject matter. Yeah. I don’t know.
Marvel.com: I also wanted to congratulate you on “Once Upon a Time.” It seems to be going really great.
Georgina Haig: Thank you! Yeah, it was pretty awesome getting to play Elsa.
Marvel.com: That’s a very beloved character. What kind of an experience has that been for you, playing her?
Georgina Haig: It was amazing. It was a bit overwhelming, just because it all happened really fast. Once I started researching [“Frozen”] and her and the effects it had on all different countries and stuff, I did kind of freak out a little bit, because you have such a responsibility when you’re portraying someone who’s real, or a pre-existing character, because so many people love that character for so many different reasons, and you kind of want to please everybody. Yeah, so it was overwhelming, but then once I got over there, with the hair and makeup and dress and shoes, it sort of came together, and it was just really, really enjoyable. It was very special. I felt very honored to be her, especially on Halloween, when I was the one wearing the amazing Elsa dress, and I was at work, not a party! [Laughs]
Marvel.com: Are you having, like, little girls coming up to you, wide-eyed, just so excited to see you on the street?
Georgina Haig: [Laughs] Well, not really. When I’m dressed as Elsa, for sure. But it’s actually quite a transformation for me; I spend two hours in hair and makeup, and then the dress and everything. But when I’m dressed as her, oh my god. There were often kids around, and I would go up and chat with them. It felt really special to know that they’d remember that moment in their life; they got to have a chat with Elsa on the street while she drank coffee, or whatever. [Laughs] Yeah. It was definitely wonderful. And one of the crew brought their kids to set, and it was just always so, so fun.
Marvel.com: I read somewhere that you auditioned for the role of Gwen Stacy in “The Amazing Spider-Man”…
Georgina Haig: Yeah! I got down to the final few. I ended up testing with [director] Marc Webb. But yeah! That could’ve been cool.
Marvel.com: Did you do any research?
Georgina Haig: I kind of Googled it a little bit, but again, it happened really fast. It was kind of like, “Here’s the script, can you go in tomorrow?” Again, I didn’t really fathom how I kind of got all that. I spoke to people who were fans of the comic and they were like, “Dude. It’s Gwen.” [Laughs] Yeah, but because things do happen so fast often, you have to just go off the page, and make whatever’s on the page really real for you as an actor. And that’s what we did in “Once Upon a Time.” The producers kind of said to me, “We’ve got the dress. You look like her. Make her real now for the situations we’re in.” And hopefully that’s what we did.
Marvel.com: Since you’re basically a Disney super hero, for Marvel fans who are into super heroes, why would they want to see “The Mule”?
Georgina Haig: Well, I think “The Mule” is about beating the bad guys against all odds, and often now, the anti-hero is so much more relatable, and I think films are realizing that people want to see heroes that they can relate to rather than someone who can click their fingers and make something happen. So I think they’ll relate to Ray—he’s the lead in “The Mule”—who is kind of a down-and-out loser sort of character, and he has to overcome his own limitations to beat his body to beat the cops; to beat his bowels. It’s a story of winning against the odds. So I think they’ll relate to that.
Follow Georgina on Twitter at @GeorginaHaig, download “The Mule” on most video providers and catch the winter finale of “Once Upon A Time” this Sunday at 8 PM ET on ABC!