Australian film and television actress Georgina Haig will be in Washington, DC, for Awesome Con this week. She is known for her roles on Fringe and Once Upon a Time.
What led you to your decision to pursue acting?
I was a dancer growing up and I always loved performing. Then in high school I had a really great drama teacher, who got me interested in all sorts of different plays like Chekhov. I started getting serious about it, but I was also interested in lots of other areas. So I thought, I’m going to go travel for a year. If I still keep thinking about acting, I’ll know it’s definitely what I have to do.
I actually went to Vietnam and I was teaching English there. I traveled around Southeast Asia and Europe and the whole time, I was loving the traveling but I was thinking about [acting] all the time. I thought, “No, I definitely can’t shake this! [Laughs] I have to at least go to drama school and see what it’s all about.” I knew from the first day when we sat there and started talking about the characters that I wanted to do it all the time. I was hooked.
Tell me what you loved most about playing Elsa on the hit series, Once Upon a Time.
Everything! It was just so much fun. It was such a great challenge because she’s an iconic character, loved by so many people. She’s such an important character to so many people because she’s one of the first Disney queens that’s so complex, I think. [There’s] her emotion of fear as the villain within the movie but she’s essentially the good guy that everyone is rooting for. She had be vulnerable. She had to be strong and you had to make her relatable even though she is this heightened Disney queen. You know, bringing the humanity to a character like that is so much fun.
And I was in hair and makeup a couple of hours each day. Obviously, it was all very elaborate. It really helped [me] find her and gave me her walk and her stance. It was just delightful to play with all those elements to find her.
What was it like to work on that set?
I definitely think seeing the way other actors interact and act on really great sets like Once Upon a Time is inspiring. You can learn so much from people who have been doing it a long time, like Ginny Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, and Robert Carlyle. They just go about it in such a way that they’re great to work with. They create an environment where even though the guest stars coming into it might be a bit nervous about not knowing anyone, they make it very welcoming.
That’s the way it always should be. The days are long and everyone is working really hard. At the end of the day, if it’s a good environment, people can get through those conditions and do better work. I learned a lot being on that set and watching them.
Frozen is still huge and Frozen 2 is in development. Would you reprise the role of Elsa if they asked you to come back to Once Upon a Time?
Of course, if they asked me! I’m not sure they could do a dual story line. Maybe after Frozen 2 comes out, then they might have some more freedom with those characters. Of course, I would love to. The last time I got to wear her costume, I was so sad. Taking off the blue cape for the last time was hard!
What is it about the script that jumps out to you when it’s a production you want to get involved with?
I like it when dramas, sci-fi, or whatever genre are written with lots of layers. There’s humor involved and the characters are interesting and specific. I think that’s what a lot of actors are looking for. It’s always hard to tell how something is going to turn out. You’ve got to like the script. So much happens after that to dictate whether it becomes a good show or not.
With reading scripts, you’re looking for complex characters, really great drama, interesting writing, [and] women written well. I like it when there’s nuance and quirkiness as well, because those are the types of shows I like to watch. Even when there’s high drama, there’s comedy. I like black comedy a lot, too. That always appeals to me when I read the scripts.
Will this be your first time in Washington, DC? What are you looking forward to?
Yes! It’s my first time coming to DC. I’m really excited because I’ve heard it’s a wonderful city. It’s an iconic place. Hopefully, a lot of people will travel in from the surrounding areas and it’ll be a really diverse group. I’m looking forward to seeing what the fans are like and what they have to say about the show. It’s always a pleasure to meet them. We only get to do what we do because of the fans. It’s always very humbling.