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Lana Parrilla is having a devil of a time on Once Upon a Time, making double trouble as the Evil Queen and the malevolent mayor of ?Storybrooke, Regina Mills. She’s so effective on-screen, in fact, that she sometimes freaks even herself out. “I fell into this character so deeply that at one point when they called ‘cut,’ I went, ‘Who the heck was that?’ ” she says with a laugh. “I had no idea if Lana was still there.” So how does the sweet and amiable Parrilla summon — and then stifle — her inner evil queen? She outlines her three-step process:

Get mad
“It could really be anything. It could be that my breakfast food wasn’t really to my liking that morning. Sometimes you use little things that [tick] you off.”

Get even
“[Imagine] going back and telling off those people you never got to when you were younger. There are so many people you want to punish that you never would in life because it’s not in your nature. With these characters, I’m able to do that.”

Step away from the dark side
“Because I’m playing such an evil character on this show that could go for years, I have to find a way to not get so wrapped up to the point where I get so method with it. After Glenn Close did Sunset Boulevard, she checked out of town for a few months to kind of detox. You need to find a balance, especially with this kind of character.”