With the supernaturally creepy world of GRIMM about to wrap its first season and leave viewers hanging during the summer hiatus, stars David Giuntoli and Russell Hornsby took a few minutes to chat with press in a recent conference call about a few things fans may anticipate in the finale and some clues about what may be looming on the horizon for the show’s second season.
So what can you tell us about the first season finale of GRIMM?
DAVID: Well, we’ve got about three major cliffhangers that the audience will be left with at the end of the finale. One of the major characters may get very hurt in this episode, and the episode’s called “Woman in Black,” and we’ll be introduced to a character named the “Woman in Black.” And from there, I don’t know what I can say. Russ, you got anything?
RUSSELL: Cliffhangers, yes, I think you hit all the buttons.
Is the “Woman in Black” character going to continue on to next season, or is it just this one episode?
DAVID: I don’t have a definitive answer to that, but I would imagine that yes, she would continue on to next season.
Also in the episode where Nick destroys the two grim reapers, it seemed like all of a sudden, Nick had all these kind of new powers. What do you think about that?
DAVID: I think this is how I’ve kind of thought of Grimms. I feel like it’s a bloodline where you kind of have some natural inclinations, some natural powers. All these other Grimms knew that they were Grimms from the get-go and they have been coming up with these powers, and they’ve been training literally and honing these skills. And Nick was just told about them maybe eight months ago in the world of our story. So he had these kind of inclinations, but it just took some honing to kind of finally fully harness his skills. They had me kind of training with weapons in several of the episodes and really kind of embracing these tools that his aunt left him in the trailer. And I think that he has surprised himself on occasion. But even next season I think that Nick’s going to be even more capable and useful.
David, you mention that you were hoping that next season Nick would be a little more badass and he seems to be a little more powerful, a little more stronger. Do you think they might put a supernatural element in his capabilities next season?
DAVID: I think one of the cool things about Nick is that he doesn’t necessarily supernatural powers. I would be surprised if that happened. What I really am excited for is more and better fights and getting to use some of these — I mean there’s a weapons cabinet in my trailer that Aunt Marie gave me in Portland, and I’m real excited to get my hands on some of those weapons and really use them.
The Wesen seem actually kind of freaked out when they first saw Nick weapons. They are kind of pretty terrifying.
DAVID: Yes, I mean weapons in that they could bludgeon a person to death. Like when there’s a metal ball with spikes on a chain. It’s not like a fake metal ball on spikes – with spikes on a chain. It’s like the real thing. So you take them out. You like wield them around a little bit, and they have definite girth to them. You’ve got to be careful.
What about creatures that after coming out of the makeup trailer, and you’re going, “That’s pretty gruesome. That’s pretty scary”?
DAVID: Some of the death scenes, some of the corpses I had visceral responses to. Other than that I usually know the guy in the makeup, so I’m just like, “Hey, it’s that guy.” But some of the death scenes, I remember there were rats at one point pouring out of a guy’s chest and mouth. And I mean it made me really uneasy.
RUSSELL: Well, see the thing is, I get grossed very easily. So actually I actually close my eyes when they’re in front of me. That whole rat sequence that happened, that disgusted me to no end. I mean I’m really actually in real life scared of rats. But I just appreciate sort of just the artistry of all the creatures both from CGI and the practical. I just think our department and team has done just a fabulous job with all the creatures and just creatively done great.
For next season, what would you like to see happen with each of your characters?
DAVID: I’m excited for Nick to become more of a badass, so to speak. Throughout the Season 1, he’s become like from a very passive observer of what was taking place to a real kind of go-getter where he tried to work the politics of what Wesen were against him and who was for him and who was going after his loved ones, and who was his friend. And I think that certain events will make him a little more aggressive.
RUSSELL: My hope is that Hank sort of finds out what’s behind door number one. And if that’s the case, then just sort of seeing [what’s going on around him] and the opportunity for the relationship to develop, I think, between the three of them — Nick, Monroe and Hank — as they sort of try to solve these crimes together. And I guess the drama that could possibly ensue between the three of them.
Is there a chance for a larger role for Juliette next season?
DAVID: Oh, sure and Bitsie Tulloch is such a wonderful actress and I think the writers are excited to kind of include her in a more active way as the episodes go on.
Do you have your own theories and also do you see something maybe coming next season between Captain Renard and Nick coming up as far as their relationship?
DAVID: Well, I think as Nick is concerned, he doesn’t really have an eye on Renard at this point. I think Renard’s got the goods on him, and he does not have the goods on Renard. And then as David speaking, I think we’re going to be learning a lot more about Renard’s family, what he comes from, and what his purpose is, why is he protecting Nick, and why does he want a Grimm close to him, other than it’s good to have an eye on the Grimm. But I think that we and the audience will learn a lot more. Other than that, I don’t know the specifics.
Russell, what was it like to do the whole arc with the love potion story? That must have been some fun acting for you.
RUSSELL: Yes, it was a lot of fun sort of in a “midsummer night’s dream,” if you will, and just working alongside Claire Coffee who plays Adalind was a lot of fun. Just taking a whole different vent to the character, taking the character on a different sort of arc and journey was fun, and just sort of being in love with love. It was a good time. We also saw sort of a more playful and vulnerable side of Hank that I think audiences didn’t know Hank had. So that’s always great.
Nick’s been keeping so much to himself for months and months and at the point of jeopardizing his relationships. Where do you think his head is going into this final episode?
DAVID: Yes, things have really come to a head, haven’t they for Nick? Now Hank has seen someone completely change before his very eyes. I think he might be in a serious state of denial and also firmly aware that a paradigm is about to shift, and he’s going to have to let someone in or else he’s just going to lose his mind.
In the last episode we saw Nick lying to Hank. Once Hank finds out the truth, how do you think that will affect their friendship?
RUSSELL: Well, I don’t know. That’ll that’s interesting. It depends on how the writers write it. But at first I’m sure that if and when he finds out, he’ll be in denial because that just doesn’t happen. That’s like stuff you read about in books and watch in movies. So from Hank’s point of view, that can’t happen. So I’m sure that there’ll be a time where he’s just in denial and thinks that Nick is crazy, thinks the world is nuts and possibly thinks that Hank’s going crazy like I have to be dreaming, like some psychedelic sort of something have been ingested. Who knows, but it’s going to be a lot of fun though.
DAVID: I think my character, Nick is very worried about this this very thing. And I know that he’s keeping an eye on Hank, making sure that he’s not going to lose his mind over this, and if he starts to, then he’ll intervene.
What’s with Hank? Is he slow on the uptake or is he’s in denial?
RUSSELL: Well, I think he’s sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’ve been sort of using the analogy of when crime hit in the early ’80s there was uptick in robberies and whatnot, and I think a lot of police officers were wondering, “Well, what’s going on? Why is the crime rate going up, you know?” Robberies and breaking and entering and stuff like that. And then they realized that it took them like six months to a year later to realize that crack had hit the street. You know what I mean? So I don’t think he’s so much in denial as he’s just waiting for another shoe to drop. I think having been on the force these some 10-15 years, he knows that something else is going to happen. He is taking note of the fact that the city has gotten a little weirder, the crimes have gotten a little weird and suspiciously different, but he just hasn’t been able to put his finger on it yet. And so being the cop that he is, he knows that there’s something going on behind this, and he just has to wait for the other shoe to drop.
How have you planned or played Nick’s growth through the season?
DAVID: The writers do most of that work for us. We have some great writers, so I’m very thankful for that. I went I think my arc, generally speaking in those terms, went from constant befuddlement — he was this whole new role was thrown on him, and he didn’t know what to do with it at first and he kind of was in denial at first, and he wanted business to go back to usual at first, and ultimately there’s no changing what has happened, so he kind of accepted it. He still obviously doesn’t know quite how to fuse his normal day-to-day life and his new night job, I suppose you could say, but he definitely is an active player in this world now. And he uses the tools that he’s been given and some of his abilities he’s been given to (a) try to get the bad guy and (b) try to kind of work to the greater Wesen system.
What do you think you have brought to the character life for progression that was not necessarily spelled out by the writers?
DAVID: Well, going into this season I always thought Nick Burkhardt was a guy who was very happy with a live-in girlfriend. He wanted to get married. He had a not-so-stable childhood, because he was being raised by his Aunt, and there was a lot of moving around for reasons you didn’t really understand at that point. So he was happy to have his house, his girl, his job. He knew he was a good profiler. It was kind of a special instinct he had, but he didn’t really understand why. And he wanted a not-so-crazy adult life, because he had a crazy childhood. And the inciting incident in the pilot was, of course, I start seeing things, and I think I’m losing my mind, and I desperately want to keep my world from unraveling. And that’s kind of the goal of Nick Burkhardt. And he grows throughout the season and just kind of has to deal with his new reality.
RUSSELL: Well, I have to ground a character in a reality. There is a fantastical element. There is a fairytale element to this show. I don’t exist in that element, although the show exists around me. I mean that element exists around me. So I have to approach that everything is real, and that’s what I do. So basically I have to approach everything from the standpoint that this is all confusing me — this confuses my character, and this is strange. You know what I mean? And it’s like as if like honestly if you walked outside today and you saw somebody change and transform into a monster, you would go crazy. And that’s how I approach it, as if like this is real. I don’t know that there is a Grimm. I don’t know there is this parallel alternate universe or alternate world where people turn into creatures or creatures turn into people. So I just approach it very honestly and very much rooted in reality, and I think I feel like I’m sort of the leveling force on the show on the procedural side. And that’s what I try to do. I don’t try to get ahead of it. I don’t try to think outside of my realm. Hank is just a police officer fighting crime.
If you can sort of reflect on this past year and how it’s been for each of you in terms of your career and how the show has been going for you, and the fan reaction and the network support.
DAVID: Appreciate it, absolutely. From a standpoint of an actor, I mean I’ve grown leaps and bounds. I’ve learned so much. You really get thrown into it, and you don’t stop running until 22 episodes are done and 9 months has passed. And I’ve been very fortunate to get to work alongside guys who are youthful veterans of the entertainment industry like Russell Hornsby and Silas Weir Mitchell. These guys have really been great and gracious and have taught me a lot just so I kind of lock it in every day. And the fans have been unbelievable like I’ve had fans in the past, but genre TV fans are passionate fans. They’re completely active. They watch the episode, and then next thing they’re writing fan fiction or creating more scenarios and asking questions, and they really hold you accountable. The whole experience has been wonderful.
RUSSELL: Well, for me, this experience has been rather surreal for myself. I mean I’ve I guess I don’t consider myself a veteran of television and to a certain extent having that fan reaction before. But this is like the first time I’ve been on a show that people actually watch and so, just sort of getting used to the sort of the hubbub and fanfare and being like some first time like recognized. It has been crazy. I really thought that I had sort of made it five years ago, and I realized, “Oh, no, I didn’t.” So the work schedule has been very intense, like I’ve never experienced just all the hours that we’ve had to put in, being on location, being in Portland and shooting outside in the rain, and at night. I’ve just learned to appreciate this whole experience and just what it’s like to as an actor learning just new things about myself as an actor and as a performer, and all the stuff that I can handle. I never thought I could up to this point. And again the fans have been crazy — I mean in a good way. Like they’ve said, the genre fans are just nuts about their shows that they’ve loved and they follow them — and they’re very interactive and very smart. So I’m really curious to see what the next season is going to bring as far as the show’s concerned but also from a fan perspective.
How does filming here in Portland kind of affect the show, and how does it affect how you think about your characters and your performances?
DAVID: Well, filming on location in general allows – well, if you’ve ever been to camp, it’s like that. It’s a whole new place that started with an entirely new experience. So there’s an otherness to it. It’s not life. It’s the world of GRIMM now to all of us. And I think it helps a lot in our chemistry within the actors, because let’s face it, we don’t know a ton of people up there. We hang together and we get on together. As far as the show, we could not do it without Portland. I couldn’t imagine taking this to a soundstage in L.A. — it would be impossible. It makes such a wonderful aesthetic. It makes it creepy, and it can help do the acting for you when you’re out on location and it’s raining and you look like you’re in the forest from the Mesozoic era. It kind of brings it to life.
RUSSELL: I go with his sentiment. It is like camp. It’s like you just realize like you don’t think like the world exists outside of the show. But it’s a lot of fun.
To see what juicy cliffhanger the show has in store for our heroes, be sure to tune in the GRIMM first season finale on Friday, May 18 at 9:00 p.m. on NBC. (Also beginning Tuesday, May 29 at 10:00 pm, NBC will be running encore performances of GRIMM throughout the summer.)
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