We spoke with Joana Metrass to learn what we can expect this season on “Once Upon A Time.” Learn what Joana has to say about Queen Guinevere, who inspires her, what shows she loves most, and how she got her start in acting. Click play to listen to the interview, or read the transcript below.CTV: Thank you so much for joining me today. How is your day going so far?
Joana: Good. It’s still morning here. Where are you?
CTV: I’m in Salt Lake City, Utah, right now. Where are you?
Joana: In Vancouver. Is the time different there?
CTV: Just an hour later. Not bad. I know that you are already very well known in Portugal for your work. You’ve been acting for quite a while, is that right?
Joana: Yes, yes. Let me think. When did I start? I think my first movie, I was maybe 20, 21. That was 6 years ago. Ever since, I’ve always worked. I was still in drama school when I did that first movie, but I continued. My last year of drama school, I was already working. Now as soon as I finished, the day after, I was already in the theater working. It’s good. I was very lucky.
CTV: What made you want to pursue professional acting?
Joana: I wanted to be a zillion things growing up. For a long time, I wanted to be a lawyer and then I found out what I really liked about the lawyer thing was the theatrical part of it. Then more than anything, I wanted to be a lot of things in my life. I wanted to live a lot of things in my life including things that was not possible to live anymore because it was in different periods. I realized that there was so much emotion and so many things inside of me. I wanted to have experiences that was not possible to live in just one life. I realized the only way to do it, to live everything I wanted to live, was to be an actress. I needed to be an actress. It was like, “How do I solve this need?” Acting was the thing I needed to do.
CTV: Once you realized that, was there anything in particular that really inspired you? What inspires you now that you are in this professional acting world?
Joana: Answering the first part of the question, there was one particular person that was … I feel that she was very important. She was my best friend in high school. Because I had this need, I would do it in my personal life. I would go to stores and pretend I was someone else. I just would do it a lot in my real life. One day, I would decide I was another character. I don’t know. We were kids. She was the one that started saying, “You have to be an actress. You don’t realize how good you are at this, but people really believe you,” when I would just … I don’t know. She was very, very important. It was like, “Really? Could I really like it? Can this be my job?” “Yes, this can totally be your job.” She was really, really persistent on that. She was very important for sure.
Now, people that inspire me? I have actors that I admire a lot. I think my favorite one is … There’s some that I think are inevitably amazing like Meryl Streep, but I think the one whose path I admire the most and I really like is Marion Cotillard. I love all the projects she chooses to do and the way she has conducted her career and how she does more mainstream things in America, but then goes back and does some smaller European films that are strong to me. I really like her job. I think she’s absolutely amazing.
CTV: What are some films that you like most of hers?
Joana: That’s a very tricky one because there’s lots of films that I love and I would put one on a list, but it depends on what list we’re talking about. Films whose female performances I think were brilliant and I would love to be in, I love … I tend to like everything Natalie Portman does for a long time. She would choose exactly the films that I would love to be able to choose in my career, every single part. I love Black Swan.
There’s one that is one of the most brilliant female performances I ever seen. It’s called Vincere. It was an Italian film. It was about the supposed wife of Mussolini. She was absolutely brilliant and has probably the most brilliant 10 minutes that I’ve ever seen. That’s on my top one for that. There’s the films of my life. Probably the film I’ve watched the most ever is Dirty Dancing. I grew up with Dirty Dancing. My sister became a dancer because of Dirty Dancing. At the time, I used to dance as well. I started off in ballet. It was a very important film for me. Maybe I don’t think it’s the greatest film of all, but it’s definitely a very important film in my life.
CTV: You’ve mentioned a few films. You specifically said where there’s this strong female lead. I read when I was reading more about your character on Once Upon A Time that when they were casting for the character, they were looking for someone to play a “headstrong queen.” On Twitter, I know you mentioned you’re a bit of a feminist. Do you think that Queen Guinevere has some feminist qualities to her?
Joana: Yes, for sure. I think the whole show has. It’s a show that I’m very proud to be on. On season 1, I was still in Portugal and it immediately caught my intention because I think it’s really, really good. Everything in the world is changing a lot about how we raise our kids and I think it’s very good that there is a show that is telling all the princess’ stories that we all know through a different perspective where they’re strong, independent women. For Snow White to have a sword … I think the whole show has a very feminist side to it, being women are equal and so princesses and queens are equal to their kings and princes. They can fight side by side to them and make decisions side by side to them. Definitely, definitely Guinevere is like that. She is a queen right next to her king. She is not one step behind him at all. Even Lancelot just said she is the true leader of Camelot.
CTV: Is that what drew you to the character? I imagine that you are deliberate in the roles that you play?
Joana: Yes, yes. Definitely. The audition scene was immediately a very strong scene. It was not a fight scene, but she was coming from a fight scene. Yeah, definitely, for sure I immediately fell in love. I already knew the story of Guinevere. Guinevere is always known for being a strong queen and a warrior.
CTV: For people who maybe haven’t caught up yet with season 5, where are we at right now with the show?
Joana: Regarding Guinevere and Arthur, we all knew that there is a famous love story with Lancelot. At some point, we find out that that story really existed, but it might not be like we know it because Guinevere and Arthur are still together and very strong and united. She doesn’t seem to think about going back to Lancelot and then last episode, we just heard more about what is her story, where she comes from and her relationship with Arthur and what truly happened in that love story with Lancelot.
We found out that at some point … More than because of the story with Lancelot, but a lot because … I guess it happens in any couple. I think that’s what’s great about the show is that it turns things it’s not just about the fairy tales. It’s everything, real life relationships. They were having problems in their marriage apart from Lancelot. Arthur just finds a very sneaky way to keep her with him.
CTV: If you had to describe her in three words, what three words would you choose to describe Queen Guinevere?
Joana: Honor, leader. I can’t help but say woman probably because it’s with everything that includes a woman. She can be a leader and she’s strong, but at the same time she is sensitive and loving and caring. Very feminine at the same time.
CTV: If anyone who is watching this and learning more about this show, but they haven’t quite checked it out yet, what would you say might be the number one reason or a reason why they should definitely check it out?
Joana: It will surprise you every day.
CTV: You mentioned a few films, but if you could guest star on any TV show on right now, you can name a couple if you like, which would you choose?
Joana: I love all the shows there are written by Shonda Rhimes. I love the words and I think that woman uses words. Anything written by Shonda Rhimes, I’d love to be in. I don’t even know if it’s still on the air, but I love Shameless.
CTV: Which shows would you watch if you had a chance to binge watch?
Joana: When I think about it, there’s so many. I love House of Cards. It’s so brilliant. True Detective because everyone is so amazing in it.
CTV: Yeah, we ask that because we’re an entertainment blog so we talk about all kinds of shows. This is helpful. You’re on Twitter …
Joana:Twitter, and I’m on Instagram and on Facebook. I’m on everything and trying to be better at being on it. I’m learning still the whole thing around social media.
CTV: Thank you. Have a great rest of your day. Are you guys still filming?
Joana: Yes, yes. I’m still filming.
CTV: Enjoy and you have a great rest of your day.
Joana: Thank you. You too. Bye.
Sarah is a writing teacher and pop culture addict. Her current TV obsessions include "The Mindy Project" and "Girls" (and endless reruns of "Sex and the City"). She also enjoys following far too many celebrities than she should on Instagram.