How the hell do you even describe Rose McGowan? She’s the girl you want to hang out with, even though you know she’s trouble. She’s mean and moody and almost certainly carrying a concealed weapon of some sort, but when she likes you, she makes you feel like the only other person in the world. “I guess I always thought of my characters as these little tough things who seemed strong, but if you pushed them, they would crack,” she says. This statement, it seems, describes McGowan herself as much as it does her roles.
Her big break came as a troubled teen on an inadvertent killing spree in Gregg Araki’s cult classic, The Doom Generation. Since then, she has suffered death by garage door in Scream, and taught a jock how to go down on a popsicle in Jawbreaker. She was a good witch onCharmed, and an evil queen in Conan The Barbarian. That’s to say nothing of the time she played a stripper with a machine gun leg in the splatter-fest that was Planet Terror.
Ahead of her appearance at the Supanova pop culture convention, we spoke to McGowan about these various iconic roles. We discussed her predilection for playing weirdos and outsiders, and the “trial by fire” that was her first big acting job. Most surprising of all was the revelation that, after two decades in the business, McGowan may be ready to give up acting all together.
Junkee: The characters you play are often dark, and even a little bit evil. What is it that draws you to those sorts of roles?
Rose McGowan: Well, I like things that are funny, actually, and I think I excel at comedy in a lot of ways. When you play evil, you often have the exact same beats as you would play in a comedy. When I’m doing a very over-the-top, evil character, I will often start laughing as soon as the director says ‘cut’, just laughing at myself.
There’s something really joyous about the idea of just being really, really evil.
Sometimes it’s so absurd, it’s hilarious. In Conan The Barbarian, I have these long, claw things, and I’m trying to find a virgin so I can slit her throat or something with these crazy nails. When I hear ‘cut’ in that situation, I just immediately start laughing because it’s ridiculous!
So I was a huge fan of The Doom Generation growing up…
The trailer for John La Tier’s The Tell-Tale Heart, starring Rose McGowan, Patrick John Flueger and Peter Bogdanovich, has just been released. It looks very atmospheric, visually arresting and promises a great role for Rose. I, for one, cannot wait to see this one!
So, how did you ladies & gents enjoy Rose’s Once Upon a Time episode?
Personally, I had never watched the show before but I really enjoyed it, especially Rose’s performance as younger Cora. She more than held her own opposite the great Robert Carlyle, which really says a lot! It was such a treat for us fans. I really hope we’ll see more of young Cora in future episodes!
I have uploaded 900+ high definition screencaptures from The Miller’s Daughter in our gallery. I hope you like them! In addition, I added a bunch of high quality stills and behind the scenes images from the episode during the weekend but didn’t have a chance to update about them until now. Many thanks to Storybrooke for these beautiful images!
Rose McGowan is coming to Once Upon a Time this Sunday, March 10, as the young Cora in Fairytale Land, the titular “Miller’s Daughter.” She tells Zap2it that it was a joy to work on the OUAT set and that she loved being part of an origin story.
First off, we tell McGowan that we’ve seen the episode and we must commend her on how much she looks and sounds like Barbara Hershey, who plays the older Cora. So, did Rose study Barbara’s clips from the show?
“No. I watched like three or four clips and then I forgot all about it,” says McGowan. “I realized that this is an origin story. I already look very similar to her, and in real life, I have a voice that’s pretty deep, so it matches pretty well. So that took care of that.”
“The rest of the story is very different in how she’s ended up, so I have actually an open palette to play with. I approached it that way,” she continues. “I wasn’t try to imitate her in any way because the physical aspect was already taken care of.”
“That’s the cool thing about being an origin story and not a later story, you get to create what the person was before.”
And what Cora was before is not that dissimilar to what we’ve seen of older Cora. She may not have been evil, but she was definitely always ambitious.
“I think she started out as somebody with a lot of burning intensity to be more than she is,” McGowan observes. “She hated being looked down upon by the swells, so to speak. All the swanky people looking down on her while she’s laying in the dirt did not work well for her. She knew she was meant for greater things.”
Once Upon a Time had a game-changing episode Sunday night (March 10), in more ways than one. Don’t keep reading if you haven’t watched the episode yet.