Exclusive Fashion Feature : Josh Dallas ‘Once Upon A Time’

CHARM OFFENSIVE. Josh Dallas plays Prince Charming in the new hit TV series Once Upon a Time. He talked to DA MAN about his sword-fighting skills, his Shakespearian background and how he charms women in real life. By M. Berlian

Shirt by Calvin Klein, Tie by American Apparel, Jeans by Levi’s

Josh Dallas has been on a roll for the last year. After making a splash on the big screen last summer in the superhero flick Thor,  he followed that up with a leading role on one of the hottest new shows from last season, Once Upon a Time, in which he plays one of the most famous characters from all of fairy tale land, Prince Charming himself. Once Upon a Time, which can be seen regionally on the Fox Movies Premium channel, is a fantasy drama series that features fairy tale characters like Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and Rumpelstiltskin. All of them have been placed under a spell by an evil queen, causing them to forget who they are, and exiled from their kingdom into our world. The first season of the show proved to be both a critical and ratings winner. Women have been especially fond of the show, which puts a decidedly feminist spin on many of the more patriarchal fairy tale conventions. The main protagonist of the show is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, and the the villain is an evil queen. There are not a lot of shows on TV where the hero and villain are both women. Dallas, for his part, says he loves working in an estrogen-rich environment. “It’s wonderful! I go to work and am surrounded by beautiful ladies. It’s a good day at the office.”

Shirt by G-Star Raw, Pants by Levi’s

That certainly doesn’t mean the men are sidelined in the story. Dallas’ Charming goes through a great deal in the first season, as he starts out thinking he’s a different person entirely. After waking up from a coma with no memories, Charming is tricked into believing he is David Nolan, an ordinary man married to another woman. But over the course of the season, Charming realizes his love for Snow White and slowly starts to remember his true identity. When asked if it was difficult to play such a psychologically complicated character, Dallas replied, “I think of it in a slightly different way. It’s not so much that there are challenges, as much as the two characters live in two different emotional states. In the case of ‘Charming,’ he is forthright, confident, honest and brave. ‘David’ is the opposite: he is weak, confused, and lost. So I use the script as a jumping off point and explore their characteristics accordingly.”

Blazer by Paul & Joe, Pants by Perry Ellis, Shirt by Van Heusen, Tie by Arrow

Interestingly enough, Prince Charming was not the only swashbuckling hero that Dallas played in 2011. Last summer he had his first role in a major motion picture, starring as Fandral the Dashing in Thor. Fandral, an Asgardian warrior known for his skill with a sword, was based upon legendary actor and swordsman Errol Flynn. In the course of playing both Fandral (for which he studied old Errol Flynn movies) and Charming, Dallas has had a significant amount of sword fighting screen time. When asked about his skills with the blade, Dallas replied, “I think I’m a pretty efficient swordsman, but there is always room for improvement. It’s different training for TV and film. In film, you have a much longer rehearsal period and that could means weeks of practice, and that could mean four days of shooting a fight scene. On TV, you have maybe a day of rehearsal between shooting other things, and you may film the scene for only three hours.” In another interesting synchronicity, Dallas’ co-star from Thor, Chris Hemsworth, played the lead character in this summer’s Snow White and the Huntsman. In that movie, Hemsworth’s Huntsman beats out the prince to win the heart of Snow White. While refusing to state whether his Charming could beat Hemsworth’s Huntsman on the battlefield of love, he did say, “I think ‘Charming’ would give ‘The Huntsman’ a run for his money in a sword-and-axe fight.”

Shirt and suit  by Paul and Joe

The film Thor was not just a big boost to Dallas’ career, it also gave him the opportunity to work with director Kenneth Branagh. Dallas spent a number of years after graduating from university, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and took parts in the Royal National Theatre and the New Shakespeare Company. So the opportunity to work with one of the world’s most celebrated Shakespeareans was quite a thrill. He said of working with Branagh: “It was brilliant and intimidating, exhilarating and wonderful. He is such a talent and has such knowledge that it was a privilege to come to work and learn from a master like that.” Dallas said that he chose to become an actor at a young age because he was able to work with a lot of great teachers. “I was made confident about acting in junior high school, and in those formative years, it is important to be made to feel confident. The support I felt from teachers and peers encouraged me to continue to study.” Those studies have surely paid off now. Although he won’t be able to join the cast of Thor for the upcoming sequel due to his commitments to Once Upon a Time, the success of the show’s first season probably means he’ll have a lot more time to explore his Charming persona. When we interviewed him, he said he was eagerly awaiting the first scripts for season two of the show, which started shooting in late July.

Jacket by Levi’s T-shirt by Calvin Klein

Asked if he ever felt any pressure playing a character who is, essentially, the embodiment of every woman’s romantic fantasy, Dallas said, “I would have been intimidated if I thought of it that way! I couldn’t possibly work under that kind of pressure. I have to play him as the man that he is and not as the man that people perceive ‘Prince Charming’ to be. If he happens to come across as heroic and charming, so be it.” He added, “I relate to our ‘Prince Charming’ in that he is not actually a prince at all; he is a shepherd and essentially an Everyman. I’m a regular kind of guy. In real life, I endeavor to do right by everyone and remain true to my values.” Nevertheless, Dallas surely has charm to spare in real life. In April of this year, it was revealed that he was dating his co-star from Once Upon a Time, Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays Snow White. We don’t know how he managed to sweep Goodwin off her feet, but when asked about how he likes to turn up the charm, he simply said, “I like to pick flowers for the ladies.”

 Shirt by American Apparel, Jeans by Levi’s, boots by Shoto

Although Prince Charming and Snow White also finally got to be together at the end of Once Upon a Time’s first season, a cliffhanger finale made it clear that their happy ending was still quite a ways off. What would Dallas like his own personal happy ending to be? “I hope to direct, to have a family, to create my own films and TV series, and ultimately to have the ‘happy’ in ‘happily ever after.’”


Photographs: Mitchell Nguyen Mccormack
Styling: Drew Manares