Once Upon a Time‘s Rumpelstiltskin is arguably broadcast TV’s most extreme character, a devilish, vindictive, childish wizard who offers to fulfill desperate wishes “for a price.” Actor Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting, 28 Weeks Later) plays fairy tale land’s Rumple and his sober Storybrooke alter ego Mr. Gold, and put plenty of thought into the creation of both characters. Here, in a piece originally published as the show began its second season, he shares his process. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.
Origins: “I knew Rumpelstiltskin’s name but I didn’t know anything else about him,” Carlyle says. “Everyone thinks they know Rumpelstiltskin but they don’t really. The lines I was given to perform seemed to be begging to be taken as far from normality as possible. I thought, ‘The braver the [performance] better.’”
The voice: “There’s no way I could speak in my normal voice while looking so extraordinary and while having this bizarre stuff to say,” the actor reasoned. “I tried many different types of voices and the thing that I landed on was completely by chance, really, thanks to my son. He was wandering though the house making these high-pitched voices and sounds I thought, ‘Rumpelstiltskin has a child-like quality to him, he kind of enjoys gleefully tricking people.’” READ FULL STORY