‘Once Upon a Time’: Colin O’Donoghue on making Hook a ‘bad boy’

“Once Upon a Time” returns Sunday night, and Colin O’Donoghue’s Captain Hook looks to play his part in helping overthrow the newest villain to threaten the Enchanted Forest.

At the midseason finale, Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) was vanquished by Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle), at the cost of his own life (for now). Pan’s machinations led to all of the characters from the Enchanted Forest having to return, while Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) and her son Henry (Jared Gilmore), had their memories wiped and settled down in New York. It’s here where Hook comes in. Show Tracker caught up to O’Donoghue and asked him about the coming season, about playing a lovable scoundrel and about the translation of Captain Hook by “OUAT.”

What were your impressions of the show in general coming in?


When you hear fairy tales, people automatically assume it’s for kids. This isn’t. Obviously it covers the whole family, but it can be quite dark at times. The fact that Eddie (Kitsis) and Adam (Horowitz) can create this world where Captain Hook can interact with Rumpelstiltskin or Snow White, and they all exist in the same world and are tied into the same story -- the guys have done really well because to even think about that is insane.

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In terms of the interpretation of Hook, when you first read for it, you probably had preconceived notions. Was there something that you wanted to add to Hook that was not there in the beginning?

I had a good idea definitely who I wanted Hook to be and then speaking to Eddie and Adam about it, I knew what they were looking for with the character. He’s fun to play, but it’s a difficult one there. You kind of have the pressure of knowing that people grew up with Hook. The idea is that he’s a slightly older gentleman and a bit of a buffoon, but completely evil. When I came on that was something that I was aware of because he is a lot different than the traditional Hook. How I wanted him to be was slightly more of a bad boy, and I wanted people to feel slightly guilty for rooting for him. Hopefully I’ve achieved that. People seem to have taken him to heart, which was great because there was a bit of pressure coming on that I felt myself.

People have also taken to the relationship with Emma.

Emma and Hook, from the moment they met each other, they’re similar. They both were abandoned people, lost. They definitely see an element of themselves in each other and that has driven the spark or relationship that they have. Now at this point, Hook, towards the end of the first half of this season, is willing to let go his past love and his quest for revenge to find a new love -- and he believes that can be Emma. His feelings for her are very genuine.

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Going back to the beginning of the season, what were your impressions of Neverland?

When I heard that we were going back to Neverland, I was happy ‘cause I knew that I’d be in the season. I was excited to see what the guys -- Eddie and Adam -- were going to do in that world and with such beloved characters like Peter Pan and Tinker Bell. It’s never crystal clear on this show -- the characters are not quite what we’ve grown up knowing. Robbie did an incredible job with Pan in making him a malevolent character, which I thought was a great spin on him. This kid who really was completely evil and nasty -- you really need a strong performance for that.

On Hook’s background -- his military life, his brother, and how he got to Neverland -- how did you feel that turned out? Did you have much forewarning?

Nope. I wasn’t sure of his back story at all. That’s part of the fun, too, for us. We’re waiting to see the scripts to know where your character is going. Of course you know enough to create a character and bring it to life, but it’s an evolving thing. I was very happy, though to view Hook’s back story.

What can we expect from Hook in the coming half season?

You will get to see him interacting a bit with Blackbeard, which I think people will be looking forward to, and also a bit with Ariel. He’ll be up to shenanigans with everyone.

Is Hook going to ever get a crew again?

He might. You might see more of a bit of their past and see some of the interaction between Hook and Smee. You’ll be up to seeing more swashbuckling pirate action.


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