“A Game of Hide and Seek by the Well” – An Interview with Once Upon A Time’s Tim Phillipps
On a recent trip to Los Angeles, Tim Phillipps kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down with me for what turned into a rather long discussion. A rather long, awesomely random, enjoyable discussion about the “Acting Olympics,” Australia, our Moms, video games, horror movies, his future interests and… a game of hide and seek by the well.
Hide and seek you ask? Read on to find out:
Phillipps: Yeah! Been really busy, I feel that I’ve improved on my acting a lot. You’re constantly going out for different roles, different age brackets, different types of characters and it’s been really good. I really love that intense period when you’re going out for all these different things in such a close proximity to each other. Sort of like, kind of like the “Acting Olympics,” you’ve all of a sudden got so many events that pop up. So, I’ve really been enjoying it. Haven’t left with a job so far but, that’s ok, that’s a part of the process. Great way to kick the year off because I’m warmed up and ready to go. Very excited about 2013.
PSP: I like that it’s the Olympics!
Phillipps: I mean you have to look at it like it’s a game, it’s a job, but it’s very fun. The knockback’s tough to deal with sometimes, it’s hard for that feeling to stick around though because you’re on to the next one.
PSP: Are you allowed to say what type of characters you’ve auditioned for this season?
Phillipps: There was a great one; there was a son of a family. Which I really liked, I come from a family home, so it felt like playing myself that one. One of the more recent ones I just went in for that I’m still waiting to hear on, was the bad guy!
PSP: Thinking back to the audition, was there a specific scene they had you perform?
Phillipps: Yeah, we did a couple scenes from that episode; one was when I find out that the deal was to trade the firstborn.
PSP: Your family is mainly in Australia, how’d you break it to them that you had landed the role? How does one even say, “I’m going to play a Prince! and no ordinary prince, but Cinderella’s Prince!”? – Seems like an awesome conversation to have!
Phillipps: Well, I was actually on Skype with my brother when I found out. It all happened the same day: went in for an audition in the morning, in the afternoon I found out there was a strong chance that I was being considered for it, around 9pm on Skype, we were just chatting away. Since I have really bad reception, I saw that I had a voicemail from my manager after hours saying, “Can you call me?” And so I said to my brother Josh, “You’re going to have to wait a minute” – because I needed to go outside for good reception so I could hear the phone call. So I went outside and spoke to my manager, and she told me the good news. I went back inside and called my brother back and said: “got it.”
PSP: Then what?
Phillipps: We were chatting for a while and we both looked it up. This show was new; we didn’t actually know what it was! I knew I was going to be a part of this program but didn’t know anything about it. We watched the preview that was available for the pilot…and I couldn’t believe that was the show I was going to be a part of.
PSP: Super exciting!
Phillipps: Telling my parents that I’ll be playing a Prince, my Mum said, “Well, I’m not surprised.” It was great, that’s what Mums are there for right?
PSP: Aw! Definitely!
Phillipps: Yeah, pretty exciting, I grew up watching Disney things. Lion King is my favorite. We always had them on VHS and the shows on TV. So then to be a part of the Cinderella story arc was exciting, I knew that character! Normally when you get a role, it’s brand new or a real person. To play a more or less existing character was pretty fun! Especially a fairytale character! That’s different!
PSP: Cartoon to actual real life, sounds fun!
Phillipps: Cinderella is with a Prince Charming, but he’s already on the show, so Prince Thomas is I guess new. He’s Prince Thomas; he’s not actually anyone, but still a prince. It’s interesting
PSP: Definitely! How was Vancouver? You’ve filmed a couple shows there.
Phillipps: I love my Vancouver life up there; I was living a part of the time in LA and the other part in Vancouver. I became friends with cast and crew from LA as well as the people that lived and worked there. I miss that part of my life. Hoping to get back one day I can see more of the great people there.
PSP: I hope so too! Which character on OUAT is your favorite? Why do you like him/her?
Phillipps: It has to be Rumpelstiltskin. I mean, Rumpel’s so cool.
PSP: Did you get to work with him?
Phillipps: Only very briefly, when we were in the palace dancing, he came through. Robert (Carlyle) was really really nice, he said hello a few times and he was always very welcoming. Made us feel really comfortable on set. I think that’s so important on set, for the people that are regulars, for the greater good of their own show it’s important to make everyone feel welcome and having a good time, so that the project turns out well. He definitely made sure of that I felt welcome and whenever I was there, that my job was just as important as everybody else’s. I really respect him for doing that. I hope to be that accommodating to guest stars when I’m a regular on a show.
PSP: That’s so great to hear!
Phillipps: He’s great.
PSP: What projects have you been a part of since your time on OUAT?
Phillipps: Straight after that was The Secret Circle, which I loved, I got to play an Australian. It was a good chance to do American TV but in my own accent. It was a shame that the show got cancelled because neither I nor the fans of the show had a clue whether my character was good or bad. I don’t know where they were taking me; I’m not even quite sure where I was taking it. I was definitely leaving it ambiguous, so that it could be either. Whichever way it goes, it would have turned out to be a twist. I was kind of hoping it was bad.
PSP: That would have been interesting! Evil Tim Phillipps!
Phillipps: Yeah! It’s a shame that we’ll never find out. Had a great time though, great experience. Then I did a found footage Horror movie that was shot here in LA. It was shot really well, got amazing coverage. The coverage they got along with the storyline I think it’s going to be quite believable that it’s found footage. Then I did a Horror movie back in Australia.
PSP: Sweet! Love horror movies!
Phillipps: They’re talking to a sales agent in the States so hopefully it’ll be coming later on in the year. The guys that made it raised money to film it and now it has gained even more momentum, they’ve raised more money to do an additional 3 weeks of pick-up shots to enhance the movie even more. I’m quite excited about this project; I think it’s one of those little films that has kept on growing and growing. I hope it’s going to be a big one.
PSP: If Veronica Mars is any clue, right?
Phillipps: Yes! Kickstarter is the way to go!
PSP: A video game, hit TV shows and films, what’s the next area you want to venture into?
Phillipps: Producing. I had a little taste of it recently on something very small, I loved the effect of being in charge of making sure something gets made and done. I grew up in a family business environment; my dad has owned his own company for 17 years. Our day to day conversations and chats at the dinner table were always about running a company, dealing with staff, looking for opportunities, developing a business. I think a film is a business, so I already have a great understanding and great background in business. So, if I use what I’ve learned from my acting alongside the business sense and knowledge I’ve picked up growing up, the most logical thing to combine the two is producing. It’s something I’d love to do more of.
PSP: That’ll be quite cool! If OUAT asked you to reprise your role as Prince Thomas, would you be interested? We sure hope you’re back on soon! We’d love to see more of the Princes and Princesses hanging out!
Phillipps: Thank you! It’s nice to hear you guys would want to see more. Naturally I’d definitely love to be back on the show, it’s a good quality drama. I loved working on it; it was a big scale production, a very exciting set to be a part of. I loved working with Jessy (Schram, Cinderella), if we got a chance to work together that’d be fantastic. I think you’ve hit a good point, to see the Princesses and Princes hanging out! You’re right. It would be cool to see more everyday life, not necessarily big drama, baby stealing things going on…but just what happened. I think it’d be cool to see Sean and Ella are going with having a baby. They’re a young couple; it’d be really interesting to see to show a struggle. Sean’s a pretty low budget and a lot of American families would be able to relate.
PSP: Because the cartoon movie had the carriage going away and “The End” coming up on the screen.
Phillipps: Yeah, “Happily Ever After.”
PSP: We already see what happens after “Happily Ever After” for many characters, we hope to see more of Thomas and Cinderella’s story too.
Phillipps: A question I always get asked on Twitter is “What happened to Prince Thomas at well?” He just disappeared at the well – my answer is I dunno. I’m not sure. I’m fascinated myself.
PSP: We should have an episode devoted to just seeing what you did.
Phillipps: Maybe like a really intense game of hide and seek!
PSP: Just not with Prince Charming, because he always finds people.
Huge thank you to Tim for allowing this to all come together! Definitely had a lot of fun! Couldn’t have asked for anything more!