'Grimm' will be an engrossing procedural with fairy tales, say producers
'Grimm' actors and producers say the show is firmly planted in the real world, but fantasy elements will add interesting twists
In the series premiere of GRIMM, NBC’s new horror infused fairytale series introduces viewers to a world that looks a lot like ours, but with one distinct difference: Detective Nick Burkhardt has begun to see people as they really are. Have you ever had the sensation that we are not alone? Well, in this case, you may be right. There are creatures hiding in plain sight masquerading as human. But for Nick, this newfound ability to see through the illusions creates a world of problems – he must sort out whether these creatures are friend or foe.
While at Comic-Con last July, the cast and producers of GRIMM talked with the press about what they know about the supernatural series so far and what viewers can expect.
David Giuntoli and Bitsie Tulloch
What have you enjoyed the most about GRIMM so far?
DAVID: What is really cool about this show is there are extraordinary things in it, but my character Nick sees himself as a regular guy and I find out extraordinary things are going to be happening. It is the first time I’ve worked in something where people’s faces change, but the joy of it is I play it for the reality of what would it be like if it was actually happening to me.
Is your character aware of all the supernatural things in Nick’s life?
BITSIE: As Nick’s girlfriend, Juliette is not aware in the pilot episode, but what I do know is we’re truly, deeply in love. However, since my character is now a veterinarian that is sure to come in handy with the creatures. But, initially, I think it is going to be a little bit more interesting for them to play with the idea that she has no idea what’s going on and she thinks he is losing his mind. Think about it: if your girlfriend or boyfriend says they are seeing monsters — it’s crazy!
What is the one aspect of your character that drew you to the role?
DAVID: I think the best thing about almost any character is when they go on a quest and when they have a great journey. Nick in the pilot episode certain does have a great journey and throughout the season. So I get to learn and change and my world is turned completely upside down and there is going to be a lot of suspense and horror, but I think that we’ll be having some fun with these characters as well.
BITSIE: It is great that he said quest because really it’s not going to be based on Grimm’s fairytales. Any fairytale is pretty much fair game and some of that, like the “big bad,” has to do with themes. One of the themes of a fairytale or legend is the idea of a quest and its cool having that run through.
DAVID: What is so cool about this show is there is so much Nick does not know. He does not know who is good or who is bad anymore. Everybody is a question mark. So that suspense really is alive.
Does Nick’s paranoia not knowing what’s real and not real anymore, help or hinder his police work?
DAVID: That’s a great point. The show is so suspenseful and scary and fun in that it takes the procedural and turns it on its head, in that Nick can see what he thinks are now criminals without having any evidence. Part of his major obstacle is to kind of get the evidence after he figures out who the criminal is, using forensics and detective work when he has seen who the culprit is right off the bat — and not all these creatures are going to be bad. So maybe he’ll be wrong a couple of times.
How important is realism in a show like GRIMM?
DAVID: It is very important. We want these characters to live in the real world. We don’t want it to be an otherworldly kind of thing at all. Moving forward you can expect more of the same. The stakes get higher and higher as my character Nick has to keep things from certain people for longer and longer, such as with my relationships in the precinct.
BITSIE: It’s an insulated, episodic procedural kind of show. Someone suggested that there might be a “big bad,” but we don’t know what it is yet. So the show is definitely going to have a larger theme running through it, as we get more involved.
Besides the big, bad wolf, what other creatures will you be dealing with on the show?
DAVID: I think it is fair to say that we’ll see a Goldilocks somewhere in there at some point. But again every creature in all of fairytales is fair game. So we’re going to be seeing a lot of those.
BITSIE: What’s so cool about the idea of it being reality and what’s so great about his gift or curse, however you want to put it, is he can see a child molester as the big, bad wolf. He will be able to see the Three Little Pigs in three greedy lawyers. He can see right through them.
How many people are in on Nick’s secret?
DAVID: So far, the only two people who are revealed in the pilot episode are Nick’s aunt and Monroe.
What role does Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) play in Nick’s world?
DAVID: Monroe is the one outlet he has and I see it as a therapy session for Nick. He can ask questions and make sense of things and I can only see that becoming more and more important in the show.
What is it like filming in Portland, where the show is set?
BITSIE: Portland’s got a natural eeriness to it. You’ll see these dead trees growing out of the pond and they have moss amongst the snow. It’s so drop-dead gorgeous. I can’t believe how green it is. It’s so wonderful!
DAVID: Portland is like another character on the show. It adds this backdrop of weirdness. Yet you could put your wallet outside and it turn into compost in an hour. It’s constantly wet.
BITSIE: But we’re excited to be shooting there. It’s a really pretty city.
Sasha Roiz and Reggie Lee
What can you share about your character Sergeant Wu?
REGGIE What is interesting about my character is there is not much in the pilot episode, so there’s clearly more to come. He’s basically not just a provider of information; he’s a sergeant, so he provides information with a bit of sarcastic wit. No, seriously, I’ve heard that in the future that he has an addiction problem, which may or may not have some very terrible repercussions in his personal and professional life. So I’m excited about that.
What is the relationship between Captain Renard and Sergeant Wu like?
REGGIE From what I understand, our characters are intertwined and it will become obvious who each one of us is in the show — that’s about as much as I think I can talk about.
SASHA: I think it is clear that I will play the antagonizing element. We all have interaction with Nick and each other in the precinct, but it may go beyond those limits — eventually, it will go beyond those limits.
How does your character fit into the Grimm-aspects of the story?
SASHA: I may be one of the few who is not a creature. I think Renard has a specific set of plans and goals, and Nick will have to either comply, or I’ll have to get him out of my way.
REGGIE I think to the degree that each of us knows what’s going on is fun ’cause some of us don’t know what is going on and we’re wondering why Nick is looking at people weird.
So if Nick is more in the role of a hunter, is Sergeant Wu more of a Grimm-enabler?
REGGIE No, I don’t think I am. I am more a Grimm-obstructer. But we’ll have to find out!
Why would you choose to take a role with fantasy/fairy tale elements instead of a more realistic police procedural show?
REGGIE Well, we’ve tried to portray it as if it were real. That this is the real world where extraordinary things happen. As an actor, you’re always kind of wanting to play something very real and yet something a little bit beyond. So this is that perfect combination.
SASHA: It’s also a lot of fun. There’s no limitation.
REGGIE It encompasses all the creativity of your imagination. We push characters and storylines beyond what is conventional. So it really lets you collaborate and get as creative as you possibly can. Otherwise, it would be just a standard procedural. Yet, here, we have something very unique.
What did you think when you saw the finished pilot?
SASHA: I just loved it.
REGGIE I saw it and thought, “This really is sensational!” I didn’t have vision for it and I didn’t quite know what it would look like. We were not featured that heavily, at least I wasn’t, so I wasn’t there long enough to have a sense of it. So when I did see it, I was so surprised and so pleased because I think it captured everything that it needed to. In the script, there was the element of the fantastical and supernatural, but it was a fairytale. It felt like a fairytale that I had grown up. Like you were looking in from the outside, and I loved that.
Executive Producers David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf
What can you tell us about GRIMM?
DAVID: We don’t see these creatures as monsters. The real monsters take place within. So there isn’t two worlds: the real world and the fairytale world. It’s one world and hopefully if we do our jobs well enough, you’ll see the human being and beneath what is monstrous.
How closely will the show follow the classic fairytales?
JIM: We’re fracturing the fairytales and taking the pieces. We’re trying to find the crimes in the fairytales and a context for those crimes.
DAVID: As can be seen in our pilot episode, one of our big, bad wolves is not that big and not that bad anymore because he is fighting his inner nature, like an alcoholic fights the bottle. Like anybody that has an addiction. So he’s a vegetarian. He no longer eats people. No all Grimm creatures are bad. Some of them are good and are trying to help our hero and he wont know from week to week who is which. Just seeing someone morph into a creature, you wont know is that person good or bad. It will be different every week.
JIM: We’re also not purely horror. What we’re not going to do too much of is the fetish of the corpse, because we’re not into portraying that on television. It’s not about gore. It’s about being scary and fun.
Do you see your show as a family show?
DAVID: I think that the original fairytales were for everybody, but caution should be employed.
Are the Grimm-creatures all going to be portrayed as bad in GRIMM?
DAVID: There is no pure villain in our show. There’s always a point of view. The postman, we view him as a pedophile, but he wasn’t. He only kidnapped the little girl to have Sunday dinner. So from his point of view, he’s following his nature. But from our point of view, that’s not acceptable.
What inspired you to set the show in Portland?
JIM: It was the most like Germany. It has the waterfalls, the forest and the mist and that feeling that we didn’t have to pay for. It has the great storybook feel, which we love taking advantage of.
How concerned are you about the other Friday night shows competing with GRIMM?
DAVID: We’re entertainers. We can only bring people to the table if we provide great entertainment, and that’s what we’re hoping to do. All you can do is put up the best entertainment you can, and hopefully your audience finds you and likes what you do. GRIMM is like a roller-coaster ride; you never know what’s coming next. It’s fast, funny, and it’s scary. I don’t think it’s a “death slot” for us. It’s a grand slot for us. Remember a little show called X-FILES? It was on at 9:00 pm on Fridays for many years.
Tiffany Vogt blogs at The TV Addict.
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