Exclusive Interview! Raphael Sbarge (Archie/Jiminy Cricket) from Once Upon a Time is greener than you know| October 21, 2012 at 4:01 PM EDT
Raphael Sbarge is delightfully charming. You may have suspected it already, but I’m here to confirm it.
On Once Upon a Time he’s not Prince Charming (that’s Josh Dallas‘ role) but, instead, the endearing Dr. Archie Hopper & Jiminy Cricket. When not explaining why fairytales are such a gratifying subject matter to work with, or talking fondly of his kids, he’s passionately explaining his environmental concerns. But there’s no doom and gloom handed to you in the discussion. Rather, our favorite TV conscience is full of hope. (Insert your favorite “wish upon a star” pun here!)
As founder of the non-profit organization Green Wish, and Executive Producer for On Begley Street, Sbarge is actively helping our environment. And he’s hopeful you’ll want to help, too. (If not you, who?)
I caught up with Raphael Sbarge to talk about Once Upon a Time Season 2, his charitable work, and plenty more.
Raphael Sbarge Interview – Once Upon a Time Season 2
Small Screen Scoop: The question is seasonally appropriate… What is the essential prop someone needs if they want to dress up like Archie for Halloween?
Raphael Sbarge: (Laughs) Probably the glasses. And the vest… Something natty is probably the way to go. It’s so sweet – I met a girl the other day who said she was going to dress up as Red. I said ‘Send me a picture, I’ll show it to Meghan (Ory).’ It seems that we’ve penetrated the holidays.
Speaking of Ruby or Red, there are fans who really want Archie with her. What do you think about that pairing? (Editor’s Note: It’s called Red Cricket.)
You know, I blush every time I think about it. I’ve gotten a lot – a lot – of people who’ve said that. It’s well above my pay grade to make a decision like that… I’m really interested in seeing where things go with Archie and his love life. The thought is that they are going to explore this for sure. I certainly think the Red/Archie pairing would be a trip. But there may be some other folks as well… it’ll be interesting to see who they decide upon.
Who would be the strangest pairing for Archie?
The obvious contenders are Red or the Blue Fairy. But that’d be a tragic love story… There could be someone introduced from his past. I think it’s fertile ground for a story.
Can you say, roughly, how many episodes you will be in for Once Upon a Time season 2?
I’m in the first three… I’ll be in at least two or three more coming up. I’m going out to do two more in a couple days. This year, what they’ve done, is … they came to all of us, and explained this to us… there’s going to be a ton of new characters. Mulan, Lancelot, Jack and the Beanstock, Captain Hook… The canvas is expanding. I understand they’re taking a play from the Lost handbook. I think they’ll eventually bring the core group back to the foreground. But you’ll see a ton of new characters first.
Do you think we could see Figaro and Cleo from Pinocchio? The cat and the fish?
I haven’t heard them mention that, but that may be in the cards. It’s a really cool thing what they’ve done, right? They can kinda go anywhere. The sky’s the limit. And when you think about how many legal or medical shows there are… to actually have a show where you’re doing something entirely different is pretty exciting.
Archie is such a good guy who we all love, but what do you think his flaws are? He’s gotta have a couple!
What they did is created a story that involved his conscience that is really kind of sad. He didn’t just become the good guy because he did all the right things. He clearly suffered and went through a heartrending journey. And from that enormous pain came this caution. And it seems authentic, because it’s born of that. He is a wounded healer, trying to do the right thing … from having doing the wrong thing. So, I would imagine there’s a lot of hypersensitivity about what happened and/or wanting to continue and do the right thing.
I’ll be interested to see what Archie’s crisis of conscience might be. We all have our dark moments, even if you’re really a good guy. It’ll be interesting to see what his crisis of conscience is and how he’ll struggle an find his way back. It’ll also be interesting to see what life is like outside the office, and how that impacts what he goes through. He clearly is very committed to doing the right thing.
He’s reached out the the Queen, he’s trying to get her into therapy and have her consider another path. He’s also spoken with Rumpelstiltskin, and he’s been Henry’s advocate… talked with Emma.. he’s made the rounds trying to help other people. It’ll be interesting to see… when he falls apart, who does he go to? When he’s feeling frightened or unsupported in the world, where does he turn?
Did they ever address the cast to say how the names would work now? We know him as Archie, but technically his name (that he remembers) is Jiminy. What do we call him?
I think they’re keeping people’s names the same in Storybrooke. They are occasionally using Snow, or Granny, or Mom and Grandpa… I haven’t seen them deal with it. It’s funny when you, as a fan and someone writing about the show… when you ask these questions they go out into the fan post boards… I know that Ed (Kitsis) and Adam (Horowitz) read the stuff and they actually take it in. They’re always curious and interested to see what kinds of questions the fans have. And that’s one of them… It’ll be, “Is he man, or is he cricket?” (Laughs)
You’re doing great things with Green Wish and On Begley Street. But how do we stay positive about the environment without getting overwhelmed and disheartened?
That’s such a great question and I’m so glad you asked it. For me, it was the inspiration for why I started Green Wish, actually. The first thing was my kids. I looked around thinking that I hope to try and leave this place a little better than how I found it. But I also feel what you’re speaking to…where you get this kind of apathy… like, why even try? It can feel like quicksand. But Green Wish has been designed as an endless open source charitable giving concept. I derive no money from it, it’s all designed as a self-contained non-profit. It is is distinct in the non-profit world in that it is a non-profit that raises money for other non-profits.
It started in L.A. and we’ve now expanded out to cities around the country. If, for example, any readers in Ohio are interested we’d love for them to reach out and have a conversation with us. If you’re an interested party, what you do is form a board in your region. Then, they identify right in that community five or six or nine groups right across the green spectrum that are doing good work right in that community. Instead of buy local, think global… this is buy local, give local.
With so much bad news, if you can somehow connect yourself with what’s being done right around you it’s an opportunity where you can not only take the idea of the planet and make it a little bit more scalable… But what you can also do is start to get a little bit of hope that something good is going on, and you can actually see it.
There’s a non-profit called Friends of the L.A. River and what they’re doing is restoring the river to its natural habitat in huge areas. That’s the kind of thing where you might not know about it, but not even know that is going on right around you.
So the idea is that we come into the community and bring attention to, and be sort of a fire hose of funding, to these groups going on in your neighborhood.
The idea of a charity helping other charities is simple and brilliant.
In this case, we’re helping earth, air, water, sustainable education… There’s a new group that we’ve just taken on called Food Forward, and what they do is pick fruit off of government lands and they give it to the homeless, or sell it and give money to the hungry… it’s a sustainable idea. And thousands of volunteers come out and pick fruit.
We work with retailers. The wonderful thing about the retailer is that they get a tax deductible letter for all the money they raise. So they win. And then they also feel good. Everyone wins. And most importantly, these small, and really important groups right in your neighborhood get a bunch of attention.
It’s exciting to see it grow. People are reaching out to us from around the country, wanting to start chapters.
Ed Begley Jr. is the face of the organization. And, Ed, other than Al Gore, is probably the most identifiable face when it comes to the environmental conversation. When I came to him with the idea he loved it and was so excited to have an umbrella to help multiple groups.
With a big election coming up, what are the environmental questions we should be asking of President Obama and Governor Romney?
I’m really excited that there’s been more talk of the environment. I don’t wanna get too political because I think it can get polarized pretty quickly. I certainly would be interested in trying to advance the climate change conversation in a more substantial way. We’re one of the only industrialized countries in the world who have not even accepted it as a reality. I don’t know what the temperature’s been like for [you], but it’s sure been warm here.
It’s honestly been usual in that it’s been much warmer in the winter.
The last thirteen years have been thirteen hottest years on record, since they’ve been keeping records. There’s a climatological on the board of Green Wish, and he says, “I’m not a Republican, I’m not a Democrat, I’m a Father.” And he’ll say, “What we’re seeing is that life is going to be very different for my children. I don’t know how, and I don’t know what that means yet. But life is definitely going to change, dramatically based upon all of the trending that we see.”
As the largest creator of synthetic gasses, it would behoove us as a country to have a national dialogue about what this means. The perception that it’s still a hoax is …is shameful, when you have so much scientific data.
Right. And whichever party wins the election, it’s really just something we need to mark as being important and on the agenda.
It’s sort of urgent. But not urgent, because the sky’s going to fall… there have been things we have done. The ozone layer is smaller than it was. We have affected that. There’s not lead in gas anymore. There’s a lot of things that we’ve done to help the conversation. We’re using less gasoline… the only good news about five dollar gas is that people consider what kind of car they’re buying. (Laughs.)
I’d say that having a clear and scientific dialogue it would be important. I think we can affect change. I think we can make a difference. I think we just need to try.
That’s excellently put. Switching gears, I know you have a couple amazing kids. Do they have a favorite fairy tale?
I know they love the show, and we get to watch it together. I do a lot of TV and sometimes I play creepy crawly guys … or the subject matter isn’t necessarily… not what I’d want them to see. But I know that they’re enthralled by all of it. They love Jared’s (Gilmore) character and we’ve all hung out and gone to Disney Land. My kids and he and his sister – which was fun.
My daughter read all of the Harry Potter books starting in first grade – she’s one of those crazy readers. I know that she loves fairytales and magic. These kinds of stories are so exciting for her. I have to go back and ask them if they have a favorite, but I do know that they are absolutely captivated by what’s going on with the storytelling in the show. They’re 8 and 10 so that’s a perfect age.
Have they visited the set?
Oh, yes. They were there and met the whole cast… in that first episode when everyone got back together on the street. So they were there that day on the street … Grumpy was there, Prince Charming and Emma, Snow White. It was really fun for them. But they aren’t star struck, they’re like ‘oh yea, that’s the thing Dad’s doing.’ But I know that it’s fun for them to meet everyone.
It sounds like a real fairytale.
It is. I also wanted to mention the On Begley Street project. It’s an internet series that we’ll release in early 2013. And PBS has picked it up as a show that they want for 2013 as well. The internet series will air OnBegleyStreet.com. And that will drive, as it were, traffic to what will be the show.
Are you getting good sponsors?
Yes, we’re in conversations with a bunch of them. People are really interested. So we’re gathering up all of our forces.
See, guys? Whether it’s fairy dust magic or the environment, it’s all about gathering forces! (But not mobs, mobs are bad!)
- Watch On Begley Street.
- Visit GreenWish.com to learn what you might be able to do.
- Always, always, always recycle. Never litter. Minimize plastic bag use. Utilize these small changes in your life to help make a big impact world-wide.
- Watch OUAT Season 2.
- Think about dressing up as a Disney or Once Upon a Time character for Halloween. (You know you’d rock Emma Swan’s red jacket and boots ensemble. Then again, is it ever a bad time to dress up like Cinderella?)
- Comment here and let Adam Horowitz and Ed Kitsis know who you hope will share romance with Archie!
Smallscreenscoop.com recaps Once Upon a Time every Sunday night, LIVE, as it airs during the EST broadcast.
Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
You can find Jessica Rae on Twitter @ThisJessicaRae.