What first struck Joana Metrass when she watched season one of ABC's "Once Upon a Time" was the portrayal of these classic Disney princesses as strong, independent women. Flash forward four seasons, and she's now on the show playing one of those female characters - the wife of King Arthur, Guinevere.
"I thought it was very interesting that from telling the stories that we all know, but in this way that they're actually strong women and independent, I thought that was very interesting," Metrass told Headlines & Global News in an exclusive interview.
Metrass joined the ABC drama this season as part of the show's ongoing Camelot storyline featuring Liam Garrigan as King Arthur and Sinqua Walls reprising his role as Lancelot. The Portuguese actress had heard many versions of "King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table," but she remembered watching one movie that portrayed Guinevere as a "strong woman and a fighter."
She sees the same qualities in her Guinevere character, even after falling under her husband's spell.
"I don't think she's exactly a Stepford Wife," Metrass said. "She's a very loyal and very dedicated queen, even before she was not under the spell, she chose her people and her duty as queen over everything. She continues to be a strong queen dedicated to her people and her kingdom and doing what's best for them."
Metrass also grew up watching the classic Disney animated movies, which "Once Upon a Time" pulls its characters from. She most enjoyed "The Little Mermaid," and growing up in Portugal, the dialogue was dubbed, as were the songs.
"The only difference is I know all the [Disney] songs in Portuguese instead of English... Besides that it's all the same," she said.
Metrass started her training in theater in Portugal. She then transitioned into film with a few appearances on Portuguese television programs. The differences in productions between Portugal and America are few, but Metrass was impressed by the size of the sets for Hollywood.
"At the end of the day, the aspects of the work are the same and then it's just a matter of the sets here [in America] are much bigger," she said, laughing.
Her diverse heritage also gives Metrass the advantage to play a wide range of roles, as does her ability to take on different accents. She's played characters that are French, Italian, Portuguese, Mexican and more.
"I've been a lot of different things because I am a bit of all of them. Luckily my image shows that and depending on if my hair is straight, my hair is curled, I'm a bit more tan, I'm less tan - I can look completely different."
Be sure to watch "Once Upon a Time" on Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.