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Scott Michael Foster has graduated from the frat house on Greek to fairy-land on Once Upon a Time.
On ABC’s Sunday drama, Foster plays Frozen‘s beloved Kristoff, who is preparing for his wedding to new fiancee Anna (Elizabeth Lail) — plans that are now on permanent hiatus as Anna is whisked off to Mist Haven (aka the Enchanted Forest) to uncover the truth about her parents’ mysterious and fatal voyage.
As a key component to a highly-publicized 11-episode Frozen run, 29-year-old Foster wasn’t prepared for the surge of attention following his July casting. “I got a little taste [of the fandom] when it was first announced that I would be a part of the show. That was unexpected,” Foster admits to The Hollywood Reporter. “I’ve never booked a job and then the next day, have it be an explosion on social media. I’ll be a little bit more prepared this time.” And the ratings have been strong: The Sept. 28 return was a 30-percent improvement in adults 18-49 compared to last year’s opener.
For Foster, who co-stars on ABC Family’s Chasing Life, landing the role of Kristoff meant he had some credibility with his Frozen-obsessed family. “A lot of my nieces and nephews, and my family are huge fans of Frozen, so when I read for it, I was excited to do something they would like,” he says. “It was right.”
Foster admitted to being a casual viewer of Once, checking it out early in its run. It wasn’t until recently that he felt a renewed connection to the show. “This Frozen storyline, from what I know from past arcs like Peter Pan and the Wicked Witch, is going to fit in even better,” he says. “They really integrated the Frozen storyline into the Once universe [seamlessly].”
Executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz have been adamant that the DNA of the Frozen characters will stay true to Disney’s 2013 blockbuster, a departure from their usual approach of giving classic fairy-tale entities a unique take. Foster says it’s not just Frozen they’re borrowing from, but also the original Snow Queen tale by Hans Christian Andersen. “There’s a little bit of both of those in here,” Foster says. “I don’t think it’s going to be boring by any means.” In fact, the final moments of last week’s episode presumably introduced the Snow Queen, as played by Lost’s Elizabeth Mitchell.
With Anna on her quest to find answers, Kristoff will be spending significant time with Elsa (Georgina Haig) in Arendelle at Anna’s request. “You see a lot of them together at the beginning, so you can expect to see their relationship to start to grow,” he says of Kristoff and Elsa. That’s not to say they won’t have their own troubles, especially with a wedding still looming. “There’s still a little bit of ‘That’s my baby sister and I’m not going to be quick to let her go,’ so Elsa’s still very active in their relationship,” Foster adds. “Kristoff and Elsa are family but they’re still trying to get to know each other.”
As for Prince Hans’ (Tyler Jacob Moore) eventual re-emergence in Sunday’s episode, tensions will be high between him and Kristoff. “I think everyone will expect there to be drama because Hans didn’t exactly leave on good terms with the people of Arendelle,” Foster says. “You can expect a little drama when Hans makes his entrance.”
As Moore tells it, exploring Hans and Kristoff’s dynamic in a more significant way was enticing. “In the movie, you never got to see the two interact. When you do see Kristoff and Hans interacting, it’s sort of funny, because you’ve got this guy who everybody knows did a horrible thing — trying to steal a kingdom, trying to kill Elsa — and then you’ve got Kristoff, who’s this sweet, lovable guy,” he tells THR.
When Hans comes into the fray, it will be the first time the Frozen character will have been seen since the end of the movie, when he’s shipped back to his brothers. (Once viewers will get to meet some of those brothers and see how he interacts with his siblings.) Though it was established that Hans is a villain, is there a chance he could be redeemed? Don’t hold your breath. “As far as I know, there won’t be any real surprises as far as who he is,” Moore says.
At the moment, Kristoff and Hans are only seen in Arendelle of the past. If Kristoff does make it to present-day Storybrooke, Foster has ideas on who he’d like to see his character interacting with. “I’d love to work with everybody at some point, where there’s a big scene where everybody comes together,” Foster opines. “I haven’t even met the whole cast yet!”
One castmember Foster has worked intimately with has been reindeer Jack, who plays Sven. (A second reindeer is used off-screen so Jack has something to look at.) “First, things were rough because he wanted to roam the fields and not be an actor. There was a time where we were outside and I had to leave him by a tree, and he just didn’t want to do it,” he recalls with a laugh, “so he reared up and his hooves came up next to the tree. It was one of those moments where I was like, ‘Are we cool buddy?’ We had to have our moment; we had to duke it it out a little bit. But now we’re solid pals.”
As for who Kristoff would pal around with, it’d be Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue). “I’m sure that would be a blast!” says Foster.
Once Upon a Time airs 8 p.m. Sundays on ABC.
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