“I’d be hanging out with friends and we’d throw out ideas like, ‘The Pied Piper!’ Then ‘Captain Hook! Oh, they found one,’ he relates. “But [Once creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis] are good idea men, so I wasn’t worried. When they finally pitched the role to me, it seemed like an inspired way to bring me on the show.”
In the end, Horowitz and Kitsis — Lost vets themselves — cast Garcia as the burly giant residing at the top of the towering beanstalk that Captain Hook has led Emma and Snow to, in the name of procuring an enchanted compass needed to navigate any portal back to Storybrooke.
Emma and Hook, however, aren’t nearly as nimble as the fabled Jack, in their quest to pinch the compass. “On a scale of 1 to 10, they’re like at a 1, for sure. They’re not very stealthy at all,” Garcia previews. And that’s quite the liability when invading the lair of a not-at-all-gentle giant who looms about six times as tall as his trespassers.
“He’s mad…. Almost cartoonishly unlike [Lost's] Hurley,” Garcia shares. “In fact, when I did my looping session it was almost 100-percent grunts and growls. He doesn’t take kindly to intruders!”
Why is this giant not jolly? “They gave me the gist of an origin story, and a seed for that comes out during the episode. But that might be a story to tell for a later date,” says Garcia, who’s already due back for at least one encore.
As seen in the photo above, Garcia filmed his scenes exclusively on Once Upon a Time‘s famous “green stage,” where ornate sets and backgrounds are digitally added in post production. The actor says it was “definitely a learning experience,” though he got a lot of help from his scene partners. For example, to establish a proper eyeline in one scene, “Jennifer Morrison was essentially just laying on the ground so that he face was next to the camera for me,” he says. “Everyone was supportive.”
For the Losties out there looking for a nod pegged to Garcia’s visit, he vaguely recalls reading something in this week’s script — from a scene he himself is not in — “Where I was going, ‘Oh look at that wink,’” though he could not offer details. So keep your eyes and ears open!
In his time since bidding that ABC drama adieu, Garcia has guested on shows such as Fringe and Mr. Sunshine as well as co-headlined Fox’s Alcatraz (a show he says was “still forming itself” at the end of its first and only season. “It’s a shame we didn’t get to fully explore its potential.”) All told, he describes his recent run of roles as “fun,” but appreciates that they kept him busy but never “too busy.”
After six years of Lost, a brief break and then a season of Alcatraz, “This is the first time I’ve been in my house for an extended period of time,” he shares, “so I’ve been able to do stuff like install solar panels, things you can only do being home.”