For a nice girl from Wisconsin, Kristin Bauer certainly knows how to play a bad, bad girl. On "True Blood," she's made her bloody mark as Pam the lesbian vampire and now she takes on the role of Mistress of All Evil Maleficent, the baddie from Sleeping Beauty, in ABC's "Once Upon A Time" (Sun. Oct. 30 at 8 p.m.). HitFix talked to Bauer briefly about her guest shot on the new series, her adventures in green screen and why she's got a thing for great costumes. 

Though Bauer isn't sure how her name got tossed into the ring to play Maleficent, she says, "I only imagine it was like they wanted somebody playing evil, and I'm on a short list of playing evil. But it did come up very fast. I was on the road working on other stuff, so I didn't know much about it. I just knew the scene, put on the costume and they put me in front of a green screen."

Surprisingly, this was Bauer's first time in front of a green screen. "I'd just gotten off a plane, so it was a little dizzying, but it was fascinating technology," she says. "All of these things start building in your mind, which is great, because all you have as an actor is imagination. I also had the director and Lana [Parrilla], who was so helpful, and they help'd so much. When I hit that acting ball back and forth with Lana, it was magic."

It was also confusing. "It was just me, Lana, a chair and a rug," Bauer says with a laugh. "But Lana was really great, because she's been doing this green screen thing for a while. She said, let me help you, and she showed me where I was on the monitor. Still, for one take the director said, you're standing in the fireplace. They helped orient me. On 'True Blood,' I've been living in this fabulous, beautiful world where you not only get great writing, the scaffold supporting you is really top notch. On a new show you never know. So it was wonderful to have Lana there, who could not have been better. Plus, she's an amazing actress."

 

Of course, the idea that Maleficent is playing ball -- and later battling with -- Parrilla's Evil Queen might come as a surprise to viewers of the show. Shouldn't the baddies be united on one side? "This is something, when I look at the environment and presidents of countries, it's interesting to see how these power people play together then have a spat," Bauer says. "They don't play their hand, I imagine. It's a whole political game, especially between women. I think it's very interesting how these writers wrote this, because it's something I see in life. When powerful people want something from each other, they have to figure out how to get it. You have dinners, you hang out, you weekend in the Hamptons, then you sort of hint. Maybe if you want that oil well, it's the last thing you bring up and you act like you don't care. I'm from Wisconsin, so I don't get it at all. I just ask, 'Can I borrow that sweater?'"

Although Bauer already has a meaty role on "True Blood," (her performance as Maleficent is, for the time being, a one shot deal), she still relished the opportunity to put a new, modern spin on a villainess from a classic like Sleeping Beauty -- especially being able to climb into a costume inspired by the animated movie. "Any role you do as an actor where you step into new shoes, it's really exciting and nervewracking and it's a puzzle to solve, because you don't know who you are yet. For me, putting on the costume is huge," she says. "It tells you so much about the character. If they're nice clothes, they have money, and you can think about, is it new or old money? When you step into a costume, it automatically makes you feel different. Like, when they hand you a staff with a glowing orb? Automatically makes you feel different."
 
What Bauer didn't get to do on the show, however, was change into modern dress. Maleficent doesn't cross over into Storybrooke. "I would love to have a character in Storybrooke," she sighs. "How can I end up in Storybrooke? These are the things I have to think about for my next meeting." But even if it's a challenge to get Maleficent to cross over, that's okay with Bauer. "These are the kind of things that keep people watching the show."