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Once Upon a Time's Colin O'Donoghue on Hook Becoming a Malevolent Sociopath

December 4, 2015   |   Written by IGN

The darker side of Killian Jones has emerged once again, except this time, Hook has reached the pinnacle of evil. He’s a Dark One, and unlike Emma, he’s embraced the role. He didn’t choose this path — and in fact, specifically asked Emma to let him die — but now that Hook has taken on the mantle, he’s ready to fulfill his need for vengeance against Rumplestiltskin and to enact the collective Dark Ones’ plan. He’s opened the door to the Underworld to let them into Storybrooke.

With the midseason finale of Once Upon a Time looming, we spoke with Colin O’Donoghue about Hook’s descent into darkness, his master plan, and where things stand with Emma.

IGN: What was your reaction to finding out you’d get to play a more nefarious Hook again? You’re so great when you get to go super dark.

Colin O’Donoghue: [Laughs] Well, thanks. It was fun. I was delighted to get to explore more of who that was. That’s sort of the Hook that I essentially was when I came on in Season 2. It was fun for me to get to do that again

IGN: Once Hook became the Dark One, or once he remembered he became the Dark One, he slipped pretty quickly. What about him is so different from Emma that caused him to be more susceptible?

O’Donoghue: Emma was coming from a place of being the Savior. She’s coming from a place of goodness deep down, whereas Hook had already previously given into the darkness slightly, you know what I mean? He knew that he wouldn’t be able to resist whatever the darkness was going to try and make him do, and we saw that last week. Certainly in this midseason finale, we see that he eventually becomes the Hook that he was before only amplified by a hundred or a thousand. He’s just become this malevolent sociopath in some ways. That’s the difference between he and Emma. Emma really struggles – was struggling with the darkness and trying to fight at as much as she could, but Hook says to her on his deathbed, “I don’t have the will power to stop this.” And that’s what happened. He just can’t fight it, because he’s already tasted it and knows what that’s like, the power that you have.

IGN: He’s held on to his desire to take revenge upon Rumplestiltskin for so long. We saw him fight Rumplestiltskin last week, but now that he’s aligning with Nimue and the other Dark Ones, what are his current motivations?

O’Donoghue: He essentially is still motivated by the same thing, his revenge on Rumplestiltskin, and that’s how the darkness got him to start fighting. Do you know what I mean? We saw that in last week’s episode when the Rumple who was in his head said, “The one thing I can give you is your revenge on me.” That’s what got Hook. So, he is still motivated by that, and he’s willing to let the darkness use him as a pawn to bring back the other Dark Ones and open that portal to the Underworld in order to get his revenge on Rumplestiltskin.

Nimue isn’t necessarily a separate person. They’re all part of the same thing, so essentially they’re a part of him because he is the Dark One at the minute – or, is one of them. They are part of who he is and his makeup, so their desire is his desire. Plus, he knows, in a sense, that he is a pawn in the darkness but he also really wants that to happen because that’s who he is at the minute – if that makes sense.

IGN: And Emma is part of that too — she’s still a Dark One. Will we see Hook try to convince her to join them or is he done with her?

O’Donoghue: The way I look at their relationship at the moment is that Hook is just a really pissed off boyfriend, and when you are the most evil person in the world, then that’s a pretty bad thing to be. But you saw with Rumplestiltskin and Belle that they have the ability to love. And even with Emma, you can see that Emma still loves Hook because she’s fighting whatever darkness, the Dark One that she is. With Hook, he knows that he can still love her, but at the minute, he’s just so invested in wanting revenge and angry with her for making him become the thing that he hated most. And that’s what he said to her, “I can’t fight it. I don’t want to. Let me die.” And he meant it. He meant it, so that’s where they are at the minute.

IGN: Let’s discuss Hook’s Dark One look for a moment. It’s not terribly different from what he looked like as a pirate. Were you disappointed that you didn’t get a complete makeover?

O’Donoghue: It was slightly different in Camelot. It was like a jacket. It was a full-length, black, leather jacket. Hook likes his black leather. That’s it. That’s who he is, and he thinks that’s what looks good on him, so [laughs] I guess that’s why he went for a very similar look. But no, I wasn’t terribly disappointed. In Storybrooke, there are subtle differences. Like, he’s got skulls. All his rings have skulls on them, and they’re obsidian, he has a black necklace and all this kind of stuff. Everything’s slightly a little bit more sinister, but I guess he still does like his tight jeans and his biker jacket. And he parts his hair on the other side, so that’s good. At least he decided he’d do something.

IGN: What are you most excited for viewers to see in the midseason finale?

O’Donoghue: The whole thing, to be honest. The whole midseason finale, I think, is really strong, and it’s really heart-wrenching. I think the fans of the show will really be engaged and shocked at what happens. It was important to me for people to see his relationship with his father, so I’m excited that they will see that and just getting to see what’s going to be set up for the second half of the season. But I think this is an incredibly strong season with the show, so it’s very, very exciting.


Who Is Colin?

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Colin O’Donoghue is an Irish actor/musician. He was born in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland on January 26th, 1981. He is best known for his role as Captain Hook in Once Upon a Time and his role as Michael Kovak in the Rite.

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