Frazier Moore

A beautiful actress won the role of fairy-tale heroine Snow White in an enchanting new series.

Not only that, but the actress scored a parallel role. She would also play schoolteacher Mary Margaret Blanchard, a present-day transformation of Snow White who, thanks to a curse by the Evil Queen, is trapped in the village of Storybrooke, Maine, with fellow fairy-tale folk – all of whom have forgotten their pasts as storybook characters and, now stranded in the artifice of real life, been denied every fairy-tale character's birthright: a happy ending.

The actress is Ginnifer Goodwin, whose series, Once Upon a Time, which premiered on M-Net Series yesterday at 8.30pm, has emerged as a huge hit. Also starring on the show are Josh Dallas, Lana Parrilla, and Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan, a Boston bail bondswoman who is drawn into the mystery of Storybrooke (and who turns out to be Snow White’s long-lost daughter).

The whimsical abandon of Once is its own thing, recalling shows such as Pushing Daisies and Ugly Betty and, befitting its creators – Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz – the myth-entangled Lost, on which they both were producers.

Now Ginnifer has the dual challenges of playing one role that was created from scratch, Mary Margaret, and one role that everyone has known from infancy: Snow White.

“I thought there might be pressure to live up to such an iconic character as Snow White,” she says, but adds: “The parts of the story that we’re addressing are always things that could have happened off-page. Besides, we throw all the fairy-tale characters together. Why couldn’t Snow White and Cinderella have been friends?”

The series opens with Prince Charming awakening the poisoned Snow White with a kiss. The story goes on from there.

Much to Ginnifer’s surprise, Mary Margaret has proved to be far more demanding than Snow White to play.

“I’m used to building a character based on that character’s life experiences,” she says. But Mary Margaret’s life as Snow White is stripped from her memory, replaced by the curse of the Evil Queen, who, in effect, has reimagined her.

“What would the Evil Queen want Snow White to become? If she is vivacious and confident in her Snow White form, then, in Mary Margaret form, the Evil Queen would want her to be subservient.”

On a future episode, Mary Margaret confides that she wants marriage, kids and true love, but she sighs: “If true love was easy, we’d all have it.”

Once Upon a Time has been loads of fun for Ginnifer, including the action scenes she plays as Snow White – a first for her.

“My favourite day thus far was the day I ended up in the emergency room getting stitches in my face,” she reports. That was during production of the third episode.

The scene in question was part of a suspenseful rescue sequence in a forest near Vancouver, British Columbia (where the series is filmed), complete with swordplay and horses. Ginnifer collided with a horse, while on foot.

After being treated at a hospital, she listened to phone messages from alarmed network and studio executives thousands of kilometres away in Los Angeles. She smiles.

“I told them: ‘I only got like three stitches and I’m headed back to work, and I’m stopping by Starbucks on the way.’”

As real life goes, that’s a storybook ending. – AP/ ABC.com

l Once Upon A Time screens Saturdays on M-Net Series at 8.30pm. Missed the first episode? Don’t fret, catch the repeat today at 8.30am and 2.30pm.