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Lana Parrilla in ‘Once Upon a Time’

Road to the Emmys 2012: The Supporting Actor & Actress

She may play Evil Queen-turned-Storybrooke mayor on “Once Upon a Time,” but Lana Parrilla is also a fan of the ABC show.

“I find myself rooting for Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) so often, even against my own character,” Parrilla says. “Sometimes you do want good to win.”

That may explain why Parrilla’s a bit surprised at how warmly her character’s been received.

“Even from the second episode where she rips her father’s heart out, I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God. Everyone’s going to hate her. How could this woman kill her own father?’ ”

Instead of spilling the Evil Queen’s motives then, producers waited for the 18th episode, “The Stable Boy,” to reveal why she hates Snow White enough to commit patricide and cast unwary fairytale characters into an un-magical life in Storybrooke, Maine.

“That allowed the audience to like Regina and understand her conflicts, her relationships with others, her love of (adopted son) Henry, her fears and the threat Emma brings,” she says. “When we finally saw her backstory, it was like we’d earned it.”

Parrilla loves both sides of her character.

“My heart breaks for (modern day) Regina on so many levels, but from a theatrical standpoint, you can go anywhere with the queen. She’s such a bold character I take a lot more risks when I play her.”

Now that the show is a hit, Parrilla is eager to get back to work.

“I’m really compelled by what happens in Storybrooke now that there’s magic, and how Regina’s going to use magic to get Henry back.”

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