Exclusive interview with Raphael Sbarge
June 5, 2012 | "Once Upon a Time" is airing in the USA since October 2011 and Raphael Sbarge is one of the main cast members. Shortly after the show got a second season at the Upfronts in May, we were able to ask Raphael a few questions about his character Archie/Jiminy Cricket. In addition he talks about the beginnings of his career as an actor and about his work with Simon Baker on "The Guardian".
1. Because your parents have been working in show business, do you think you were born into the world of acting? When did you know, that this is the right path for you?
Ha! Yes, in a way I was. "Born in a Trunk", as they say. My father and mother met at the Yale Drama School; father a playwrighter, mother a costume designer. At 4, by chance, I fell into a job on "Sesame Street", in its first year, looking for kids and then up until I was 13, did plays when they needed younger actors at theaters where my mother was designing. At 13 I decided this was what I wanted to do and living in NYC made use of the public transportation (and my bike, I was a big biker!), to get an agent, and go to auditions on my own. I was on Broadway the first time at 16, and kept working through high school, did the movie "Risky Business" right after graduation. I never went to college — just kept working. I was a very determined and precocious kid. My mother stood by and encouraged me, but always said that if I did it, I would have to do it on my own, because it is such a difficult road. Now after over 40 years as an actor, while I have been incredibly fortunate and had a wonderful career, I can say: "Yes. Boy oh boy that is true."
2. Do your children love that you are playing a famous fairytale character on "Once Upon a Time"?
My kids are 7 and 9, and LOVE the show. Every Sunday night when it is on, we sit together on the couch and watch it together; such a wonderful thing for me as a dad. I don't know if they get the "famous fairytale character part" yet. From their point of view, I think they just love the stories and hey, isn't it fun to have Dad be a part of it. I tell them stories from the set, and they really enjoy them. I know recently I introduced my son, Djano (7) to Lana Parrilla (Evil Queen) at a cast event. She was so sweet to him and he turned BRIGHT red. That was a wonderful moment to see. Ha!
3. Your character Archie doesn't seem to have a clue that he really came from a different world. Do you think he suspects that something isn't how it's supposed to be?
Archie is completely wrapped up in the curse and has no idea. He is working with Henry to try to get him to come to grips with his difficult family life — two mothers, one nice, one not so nice and no real father figure. I truly believe, until we find out otherwise, that Archie is oblivious to the "other world". But, let's see how long that lasts...
4. Assuming Archie would have a choice between the fairytale world and staying in Storybrooke, what do you think he would do? Would he prefer to stay human?
Oh, boy. That's a very interesting question and I am going to take a wild stab at an answer: I think Archie has a genuine desire to do good things. If he could be most effective as a cricket/conscience in Fairy Tale World, then he would do that and vice versa. But, personally, as an actor, I love being in Story Tale world. Love the costumes... But that of course is in my blood... :)
5. "Once Upon a Time" will hopefully get a second season. What would you like to see in season 2?
We are definitely getting a second season! We are set to go back to work on July 16th, so hold on to your hats! It's coming! I am interested in seeing what Archie's love life might be like, what he does in his private moments out of the office and expanding his client base to include some folks who clearly "need help", like The Mayor/Evil Queen and Mr.Gold/Rumplestilskin.
6. How much of yourself do you find in Archie?
That is a hard question to answer, since it's so hard to see yourself. But I can say that I've been told I'm a good listener. I have personally been down some difficult roads that have made me very sensitive to others struggles. And I do care, deeply, about doing the right thing, although I slip sometimes, being human (and not fully Cricket). So I aim for persistence, not perfection.
7. "Once upon a time" is going to air on German television. If you were asked to explain to a potential viewer why they should tune in, what would you say?
My elevator pitch is still something I am working on, due to the complexity of the story, but I would say, if you are a fan of the movies "Harry Potter", or "The Princess Bride", this show is for you. If you ever read the book "Wicked", or saw the musical, and enjoyed it, this show is for you. If you were a fan of the show "Lost", this show is for you (creators of the show Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz are from "Lost"). And if you are between the ages of 8 and 80, this show is for you. But, in the end, best thing would be to say, watch the first episode, see if you don't get hooked. Everyone I have spoken to has said: "Oh, gosh. I am so addicted to your show!"
8. On DVDs you sometimes find bloopers from the shooting. What moments would you put in a "Once upon a time" gag reel?
We do have a gag reel, and it is going on the DVD release. Which is due out in August!
9. You were on several shows that were or are very popular over here, "24", "Prison Break" and "Dexter". Which one of these characters was most interesting for you to play?
Hard to say "favorite". I loved each of those shows you mentioned for different reasons — the writing and the stories were so dynamic and exciting. Of course the actors I got to work with were amazing as well.
10. You worked with Simon Baker on "The Guardian" for 3 years. What was working with him like and do you still keep in touch or follow eachother's work?
Simon is a good man, and we had 3 great years on that show. I did a small stint on his new(er) show, "The Mentalist", and we got to catch up — about our kids and families (you share a lot in 3 years of working closely together), but needless to say, he and I are incredibly busy and don't have a lot of time to hang out together. We do have very warm feelings for one another, and I am always happy to see him.
11. You're involved in a non-profit organization called Green Wish. Can you tell us a little bit what this is about?
Green Wish is a non-profit I founded to support environmental issues. It was inspired by the birth of my daughter, wanting to do something to try to make a difference with the world she is going to inherit. It is essentially a non-profit that raises money for other non-profits, on a hyper-local level. We collect money at retailers, and funnel it out to not one, but nine local groups that are focused on earth, air, water and sustainability education. Noted environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr. is the face of the organization and on the board. We are currently in the Los Angeles area, and now expanding to a national level. It is certainly something that could be recreated in Germany, but to find out more about it, you can go to www.Greenwish.com. We are also about to launch a web series with the Begley's builing a LEED platinum green, sustainable home. It is a very fun show and more info on that can be found at www.onBegleystreet.com.
12. If you could spend a day with any living or dead person, who would it be and what would you do?
I would love to spend the day with Barak Obama with Marlon Brando and with Albert Einstein. I would want to just follow them around, hear them speak, and ask them questions. I would want nothing more than the experience of a day with them to see how they think, and try to understand more how they look at the world.
13. myFanbase is an online magazine about TV shows, do you have one or more favorite show(s)?
I love "Mad Men". I love "True Blood". I love "Downton Abbey". And then honestly, I am a news junkie... So, I watch a lot of news shows. Probably should watch more TV, but sometimes I'm too busy making it.
Thank you, Raphael, we wish you all the best for your future!
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