I recently had a chance to meet Sean Maguire who many of you know from the current popular TV series, Once Upon A Time. I remember Sean from shows like Off Center and Eve. We had a chance to hang out during NYC Comic Con a few weeks ago, where I learned that Sean is much like his character, Robin Hood. He is a standup guy who holds his friends a family dear to him, admits when he’s wrong, and truly wants to make a difference in the lives of others.
I can truly say it was a pleasure to talk to him, to get to know him and his lovely wife, and I felt extremely grateful to have had the experience. I hope you all enjoy the interview as much as I did. As promised, I included a few fan questions at the end.
Q: Since you play Robin Hood on Once Upon a time I was wondering, were fairy tales part of your childhood?
Sean Maguire: Not hugely, I was a big Star Wars fan as a kid but other than that, I mean, I started acting very young. My fantasy was the life I was living, which was going onto sets and getting to do stuff that other kids weren’t getting to do. I think the place that Fairy Tales hold for a lot of people is escapism, and I found that in what I was doing. Like everybody needs that escape, I think Star Wars was that other world for me and I think George Lucas would probably say he was influenced by Joseph Campbell and A Hero’s Journey. So it’s all variations on a theme.
Q: Why do you think Fairytales have always been so popular with people?
SM: Again, it’s about escapism. Life can be tough for most people, we all need somewhere to sort of escape to in our minds. Fairytales and all variations of fairytales are I think that escape, I think they are important. They also teach morality, good life lessons, they serve as cautionary tales and serve as a building block for what we teach children.
Q: As an actor, do you think the influence you have also carries some responsibility? Do you think that can be unfair at times?
SM: I don’t think it’s unfair. Entertainment is not a business that you have to do. Anyone who doesn’t like their celebrity or if you don’t like the price of fame it comes with, you can quit, you can go and do a real job. So I don’t hold a lot of stock with celebrities complaining about how difficult their jobs are. People who hold down multiple jobs, single moms trying to support a family, people who work down coal mines; I think they have the right to a bit of a moan. If you’re too rich and too famous, oh poor you, cry me a river. I think I have a responsibility, like at conventions, I feel that I, myself have a responsibility to each person who comes up. They only get to meet you for thirty seconds and I think it’s important to try and give them a great experience. Be polite, smile, give them what they want. If you don’t want to do that, you shouldn’t be at the convention. If you’re going to be miserable about it, maybe don’t go?
Q: What charities or causes are near and dear to your heart?
SM: I played a character who became homeless when I was about sixteen and that really struck an important chord with me. There are lots of worthy charities and people that need help but I find it, sometimes, it’s beneficial to concentrate your attention on one thing. That doesn’t mean you can’t help other causes, I try to do everything in my power to do so but Homelessness is something I think we can fix it’s in our grasp. A lot of people say, “Oh, they’re homeless because it’s they’re drug addicts or they’re alcoholics.” A lot of people are homeless due to no cause of their own. Some people, it is there fault but most people, it’s because of a difficult home life. Then it’s also a vicious circle. You can’t get a job without an address, you can’t get an address without money or a job. I can’t pass a homeless person without it breaking my heart because I just think it’s in the realm of something we can change. That’s something I’m going to work on in the next few years. My wife and I recently went down to Skid Row in LA and gave out food and water. I just thought we have to do this on a bigger scale. We know some people who own restaurants and we waste so much food each year while there are so many going without and are needing help. So we’re trying to find a way to put these two things together and come up with a solution. I’m not being glib about it, it’s a big issue and it’s not something that has a simple solution. That’s something I am going to focus on and try to make some kind of a difference.
Q: Have you ever been bullied as a child or even as an adult?
SM: I was on the receiving end of people bullying me. I was a small, short kid because I was on TV at a young age. I didn’t take it, when people said horrible things to me, I’d fight back. I always, always fought back. But I know some for some people it’s not so easy, they’re isolated, they don’t have a strong sense of confidence. I was a confident child. When people said, “Oh, you’re this or that” I’d say “Screw you, who are you to tell me that, what are you doing? I’m doing something with my life.” I wouldn’t go home and cry but I do understand that some people can’t fight back. I hate, hate, hate bullies in any capacity. Whether it’s with adults, children, on social media, in a playground, nightclub, office. If I see a bully I make a point of going for them. I try to make them feel how they are making the other person feel. If I find a bully in any way, I make it my priority to take them down.
Q: As a teenager, you experienced life as a pop star in England. How did you avoid all the craziness so many young stars are plagued by?
SM: I didn’t. I made the lot of mistakes, I behaved badly at times. I behaved in a spoiled, ungrateful, brat-ish fashion at times but my family was very good about knocking that out of me. They wouldn’t tolerate that. You know, “shape up, you can’t speak to us in that way”. So I had to learn the lessons the hard way but luckily I have a very loving family that managed to guide me through that. So, yeah, it wasn’t without it’s bumps and I definitely wasn’t perfect.
I empathize with young pop stars who are behaving badly. When I see someone like Justin Bieber behaving badly, I feel sorry for him because he obviously doesn’t have a lot of support or the kind of friends and family that say “cut it out, stop that, you’re acting like a d*ick”. He and a few other people I could mention need a little bit of a slap, frankly, because it’s a privilege to be in that position and people do look up to you. You have got responsibility. Leaning over a balcony and spitting on fans or any of the other bad behavior I think it’s appalling and I hope his family, his mom, can save him from himself.
Q: Just for fun, can you name three things you just cannot live without?
SM: Obviously, my family, my wife, my dog but if we’re talking about silly superficial things, what can I not live without? My phone, but I guess we’re all like that now. Reruns of Seinfeld and Frasier. We tend to watch those a lot. That would be one of my guilty pleasures but pleasures. I guess Saturday barbeques with my friends. I like a good gathering. Tea, bacon rolls, and football on a Sunday.
Also, it may seem silly but walking my dog around the neighborhood is something I probably couldn’t live without.
Q: Again, for fun, How about three things you wish we could all live without?
SM: The Kardashians, Social Media. I think Social Media is killing the art of conversation. We all go out and sit around doing this (picks up phone and stares at it). We’re supposed to be doing this thing (gestures around the table at those gathered, indicating interaction) yet we’re al doing this thing (gestures at phone). It’s (social media) is a useful thing, I’m not saying it doesn’t have a place in society but I think we become addicted. It’s not great for friends.
I’d also do away with governmental politics. I’m sort of sick of the lying, the false promises, the BS, the nonsense. I just wish, just for once, somebody would tell the truth. I would find it so refreshing just for a politician to go, when they say, “Are you going to fix that?” for them to say, “It’s not on top of my priority list. I would fall off my chair in shock.
I asked Sean if he could take a few fan questions and of course he not only said yes, he was delighted to hear from you:
Q: From Bianca (@bluegraces on Twitter): Were you surprised by the twist they threw Robin and Regina in the season finale?
SM: Yes, very shocked, I was really shocked. I did not expect that, it’s not often that someone’s wife comes back from the dead. I did not see that coming.
Q: From Brittany Renee Walls (@carreyholic on Twitter): What is your favorite Disney Movie and favorite actor who played Robin Hood?
SM: My favorite Disney movie is probably Aladdin or Jungle Book. My favorite Robin Hood, I would have to say Patrick Bergin. We are both in a movie together and he plays my father. I think that it’s the first time two Robin Hoods are in the same film together and he plays my father.
I have to say, even though it’s not right, the Kevin Costner movie was a great movie. I mean, the idea of Robin Hood with an American accent is utterly ridiculous but it’s a good film. It’s a good popcorn film.
Q: From Maggie (@arrow_true on Twitter): Your accent in Songs for Amy was absolutely brilliant. Did you have a coach for that and was it hard to do?
SM: No, I mean my family is all Irish, half of my family lives in Ireland. I grew up going back and forth to Ireland so if I couldn’t pull off an Irish accent I should just pack it in and go home. So not coaching on that, not to say that I wouldn’t have it if it was needed.
Be sure to tune in to catch Sean on Once Upon A Time every Sunday night at 8PM on ABC! I cannot thank him enough for a great weekend in NYC, for spending time with me, and for agreeing to take time out of his busy schedule for this interview! And special thanks to Laurie Mahoney and Aries Entertainment for setting this up! You should follow them both to find out where your favorite stars will be appearing!