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Once Upon a Time's Adelaide Kane talks millennial meanie Drizella

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ABC

Once Upon a Time is undergoing a major overhaul heading into season 7, which means new characters, new locales, and even a new curse. To keep track of all the big changes, EW will bring you interviews with the cast — new and old — along with executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis over the next two weeks until the ABC fairy-tale drama’s return.

Lady Tremaine isn’t the only new baddie coming to Once Upon a Time.

True to her moniker, Lady Tremaine’s (Gabrielle Anwar) daughter Drizella (Adelaide Kane) really is a wicked stepsister.

We’ll first meet Drizella during the OUAT premiere in Hyperion Heights, where her cursed counterpart is Ivy Belfrey, a millennial who works for her nefarious mother, a powerful developer trying to gentrify the neighborhood and push the fairy-tale characters out of town. But Drizella (and Ivy) is not to be underestimated. As the OUAT bosses have teased, she has taken a lot of abuse from mommy dearest, but that might not last much longer. EW caught up with Kane to get the scoop on her new character:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your first day like on set? Were you nervous at all to come on this established show going through a reboot?
ADELAIDE KANE: A little. Coming onto a new show is always a little nerve-racking, especially one so well established and with a mix of new people and people who had been with the show since day 1, so you’re always a little bit nervous, like, “What’s the dynamic going to be like, what is the director going to be like?” You don’t know a lot about your character, so you’ve got to build this character and hopefully do something cool and something fun. So it was a little nerve-racking, but everyone was so incredibly lovely and wonderful to work with. Lana [Parrilla] has been an absolute joy and incredibly kind, and all of the new cast members are just lovely and so happy to be there and it’s exciting. I know that the reboot is really exciting for everybody to try out some new things, shaking it up a bit. So it’s been brilliant.

Had you watched the show or did you go back after you were cast and catch up?
I have watched. It’s very difficult to not watch the show. I mean, it’s so massive, like so many viewers in 190 countries, it’s kind of hard to miss it, but I’d watched a couple of episodes before and I went and revisited it when I got the audition. It’s just such a cute concept. So many of us grew up on Disney, and I really like how they’ve been including the new Disney story lines, like the Frozen story lines and the Princess and the Frog one. That’s super cool.

Tell us about Drizella as a character.
Oh, God. Drizella, Drizzy. Evil stepsister, wicked stepsister. I don’t know if she’s evil, but she’s been a lot of fun to play. I’m in really, really cute clothes. My slogan for her is buttoned-up and bitchy. She seems like a very high-strung, slightly ditzy young woman and she’s just very petty. She’s kind of like that awful bully in high school except that she doesn’t know how to win people to her side so she’s just alone, snappy, snarky, sarcastic, and miserable all the time. It’s been a lot of fun. I get some really fun lines where I can just snap back at people. I’ve been having a great time. She’s very funny. She’s the worst in a hilarious way.

What kind of dynamic does she have with her mother?
Her mother thinks she’s useless. Her mother thinks she’s absolutely useless, runs roughshod over her, treats her like a slave, but at least she’s a slave in Christian Dior and Alexander Wang, so it’s somehow brainwashed Drizella into believing that she has to stay in this role, like a ground-down lackey. But in Drizella’s mind, at least that’s still better than being Cinderella. At least she has beautiful clothes, a beautiful place to hang out, a paycheck and a job that affords her a reasonable amount of power so she can boss other people around in the same way that her mother bosses her around. But her mother is just eternally disappointed by Drizella, and very, very controlling, almost like a stage mom a little bit, but Drizella just never manages — no matter how hard she tries — to meet her mother’s expectations.

How does that manifest for Ivy, the Hyperion Heights counterpart to Drizella?
Same thing, different reality. To make it worse, she works for her mother, so not only is she incompetent as a daughter, but she’s incompetent as an assistant, like as a professional woman. She’s under her mother’s boot heel all day, not just at work, but at home as well. She can’t really escape her, and her mother has become her own world, not through her choice, but through how incredibly controlling her mother is.

How do you think this curse is different from what we’ve seen on the show before?
There are higher stakes for this curse. I can’t go into detail, but it seems like the new baddies have taken some lessons from the curses that have come before them and they’ve built on that to make this the most dangerous curse this universe that ABC has created has seen yet. The stakes are incredibly high and there’s a lot of manipulation. There are many layers to this particular curse and the consequences of it breaking are not all sunshine and rainbows.

Let’s talk about Hyperion Heights. Is Roni’s basically the neighborhood bar where everyone goes and hangs out?
Yeah, it’s everybody’s local bar. It seems to be the only one that does any business in town, which makes sense because I feel like even this version of Regina, she’s still a really savvy businesswoman, she’s still a smart woman. None of that has changed, so it doesn’t surprise me that she has the most successful bar in town. [Laughs]

What kind of dynamic does Ivy have with characters like Roni, Rogers, and whoever Gold is now?
She comes into contact with a lot of these characters through her mother, like doing her mother’s dirty work, running errands, and generally being left to clean up her mother’s messes, deliver bad news, being the messenger girl du jour, but every damn day, she doesn’t get a break. So her rivalry with Jacinda is very interesting, because while she pities Jacinda and her whole situation, I think she’s also a little bit envious of her. It’s very difficult that Jacinda is struggling to make ends meet, but a lot of that hatred and a lot of that rivalry comes from Ivy seeing Jacinda as being free in a way, and she’s not. She’s not a blood relative, whereas Ivy can’t ever really truly escape her.

From everything you’ve said, Drizella doesn’t sound like the type of person I’d hang out with.
She’s very prickly. Deep deep down, she’s been emotionally abused for years by an uncaring, negligent, controlling, obsessive mother. There’s no softness to her. She’s mostly just a bastard little girl in a grown woman’s body just lashing out at everybody who comes close to her, because she has no faith or trust in anything anymore and her whole world has just become keeping her mother happy, so her life doesn’t get any harder than it is.

Once Upon a Time returns Friday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Read our primer of the new season here, our full Q&A with executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis here, our interview with Lana Parrilla here, our interview with Andrew J. West here, our interview with Dania Ramirez here, and our interview with Gabrielle Anwar here. Check back Wednesday for our interview with Mekia Cox.