One on One: ‘Once Upon a Time’s’ Raphael Sbarge On Last Night’s Big Episode

Jimini Cricket Once Upon a Time ABC You might see Raphael Sbarge, who plays Jiminy Cricket on ABC’s Once Upon A Time and say, “Yeah I know that guy, he looks familiar.” What probably slips your subconcious is “that guy” is a crazy accomplished actor who not only had arcs on CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, ER and Dexter but even co-starred in the iconic Risky Business with the one and only Tom Cruise. Don’t fret, if this information is buried deep in your brain, Sbarge plays a shrink on Once and will have you right as rain in no time…that is if the Evil Queen allows it. In the mean time, check out our interview with the actor in which he discusses last night’s big episode, focusing on Jiminy’s backstory and how he came to be our favorite little green man. No, we are not talking about the Geico Gecko.

“That Still Small Voice” airs this Sunday, what can you tell us about the episode?

What they do is take these stories and sort of reinvent them in a fresh and imaginative way, how it is that Jiminy Cricket came to be. In Pinocchio, he attends to Pinocchio but we don’t necessarily know what his backstory is. In this epsiode, there is a sinkhole that happens and Henry runs off to the sinkhole, where Archie (Jiminy) attends him and they sort of fall down the rabbit hole and we get this whole back story…It’s sort of their imaginative of what Jiminy Cricket’s struggle was. You see a younger Jiminy Cricket and his parents…what they’ve done in just such a clever way to define Jiminy and how he came to have this sense of right and wrong…what we know of Jiminy from the movie is that he represents conscious…What they show in this episode is he’s not just, “Hey, do the right thing!” but that it came out of a struggle.

The show will delve into Jiminy’s family business, what will that entail? There is even a mention of Jiminy as a young pickpocket?

I’m not allowed to say what the family business is but I can say it’s through the journey of that business we get to see him finding a difference between right and wrong…But with this show, they are taking these stories like Snow White and even the Evil Queen and you’re like, “Wow! What a cool backstory, you know where she ends up but what a cool way to get there.”

There are different versions of Jiminy we will see, for those that don’t know, is he originally a crickett or does he turn into one?

He’s not originally a crickett.

How did Archie Hopper aka Jiminy come under the thumb of the Evil Queen aka the Mayor?

In the second episode where I gave the file away to Emma, the next day I got a huge amount of emails and phone calls abut how upset everyone was. What you will see in this episode is a larger context of what that relationship is between Archie and the Mayor.

The sinkhole is reminiscent of Lost, what is it like to work with those writers?

The whole freaking crew, we get the script and we race to the corner and can’t wait to read it. It’s like “Wow, what are they going to do now?” Lost was obviously a great show and addicitive…What they are also doing is tapping into these myths and stories that are iconic and reinventing them either for my kids, who are seven and nine, and even my mother who is 80…They are trying to do it in a smart and authentic way rather than do just a sweet version.

You play a shrink, in your professional opinion, how do you see Rumple – good or bad?

He is obviously one of the characters in town everyone is real frightened of. He holds a lot of power…you go to him when you need something…I think Robert [Carlyle] is just killing it. It seems so real and not slick but dangerous. The Rumplstilskin out of Grimm’s was a really scary character. I actually had some parents say to me, “I’m a little nervous about my kids in first or second grade,” because it’s a little scary. I love that they are going darker with it.

Once Upon a Time airs 8 p.m. ET/PT Sundays on ABC.

You can follow Michael Rothman on Twitter at @TheRealRothman.