“Grimm” has been the surprise hit of the new season for the network, and despite a somewhat challenging Friday night timeslot, the show has been steadily gaining a loyal following, with signs of achieving cult favorite status. With a lead like David Giuntoli, it’s easy to understand a certain aspect to the fan base — the ladies — but if you ask fans of the show why they love it, you get some variation of the same answer again and again:
“I love Monroe!”
Fans are singing the praises of Giuntoli’s sidekick on the series, played by actor Silas Weir Mitchell. If, for some foolish reason, you haven’t tuned into the show yet, the premise is Giuntoli plays a detective who has just discovered he’s a descendant of the Grimms — the legendary folks who penned all those tales as warnings about the beasts they hunted down and killed. Monroe belongs to one species of those monsters and is a “Blutbad” (German for “blood bath”) — a modern day version of the big bad wolf, or a werewolf, if you will.
But as Monroe himself would point out, a very modern and reformed Blutbad, who has gone “vegetarian” with a “strict regimen of diet, drugs and Pilates.” He and Giuntoli’s character, Nick, have paired up to solve some crimes, with Monroe also giving the detective a crash course in this whole new world of Grimms vs. Wesen (monsters.)
To say Monroe is a quirky character is putting it mildly, and if anyone has followed Mitchell’s other characters on shows such as “Prison Break” or “My Name is Earl,” it comes as no surprise if you look him up on Wikipedia that the words “unstable” and “disturbed” come up.
But just in regards to the characters he plays … really. And Mitchell is quick to point out he had nothing to do with the construction of that page, for the record. But there’s no denying he has developed a niche for the, shall we say, outsider archetype.
It seems like you’ve been kind of typecast as the guy that plays the weird characters. Is that something that just kind of came about naturally or do you like being put in those roles?
Mitchell: Well, it came about because when you start out, you try to get work that you can get and that’s just the work that came to me because of, you know, the combination of physiognomy, timing, and sense of humor, I guess. It’s just the nature of it, you know.
But on the other hand, not to say that it was completely out of my hands, because I am interested in that frame of mind. The frame of mind that is not ordinary, like what’s going on in that guy’s head? That guy on the corner who’s talking to himself, what’s he talking about?
Do you think you like playing those parts because you feel like it’s similar to you or do you feel it’s something completely opposite from your real personality?
Mitchell: I feel like it has nothing to do with me, per se. It has more to do with what I find interesting in the human psyche. So it’s not about whether it’s like me or not like me. It’s more of something that I am objectively interested in, as the person who is interested in what makes people tick and when you find people, when you can’t quite figure out what makes them tick, I think that’s interesting.
Are there any different kinds of roles you would like to play besides the crazy guy or the eccentric?
Mitchell: Of course. I mean that’s what’s great about Monroe, you know. Like Monroe is an oddball, but he’s not malicious and insane. I get to explore and live in a completely different realm of the human soul or spirit or high humanity. It’s like, it’s a very different place I get to live in with Monroe because for all Monroe’s otherness, there’s still a very, very deep streak of humanity and compassion and, you know, there’s a real effort being made on the part of Monroe to live a decent life, despite, my ancestry and my own tendencies. That’s really fun.
Well, you know when I was telling people that I was going to be talking to you, everyone said that you’re their favorite on the show. They just love what you do with the character. Are there any parts of Monroe that you do feel kind of similar to you or is there any special preparation you do for the quirkiness?
Mitchell: Yeah, I mean, I think there’s an affinity there. One of the things I was talking to David and Jim about — David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, the creator and head writers — I was talking about the similar way Monroe’s mind works. It kind of bounces around a little bit, you know, and then once it latches on to something, it will bore all the way into it, like the clock making or the Pilates or the vegan thing or, you know, but when it’s not anchored, it kind of skitters around. My mind is like that. If I don’t have something to really focus on, I can kind of, think about five things to do at once. You know what I mean?
I definitely make an effort in my personal life. Sometimes I just do one thing at a time, you know. Fill the dishwasher then, you know, fix the couch then make the bed instead of, sort of, making a third of the bed and then running to the dishwasher, putting a few more things in there and then, you know, running into the other — you know what I mean? Like I’ve tried to do one thing at a time.
Sadly, I know exactly what you mean. I think you just gave me some insight to why I love the character so much, which scares me a little bit. Now, you’ve been working a lot with David Giuntoli and there’s a lot of dry humor in your scenes. Like, in particular, the bit where you’re translating about the Wesen species Nick’s aunt was involved with, and make the comment that “They have very large sausages — I can’t be translating that right.” I mean, are you guys having a hard time keeping a straight face through some of that?
Mitchell: There are moments of straight faces being hard to come by, yes. I love that and you know, the convivial and collegial working relationship. So it’s quite nice.
Are you guys getting kind of to a point where you’re ad-libbing a little bit or are you doing a little improvisation now that you’re kind of really getting to know the characters?
Mitchell: Yeah … I mean there’s definitely room for that. It’s not improv. It’s more like, “This line would be better if we just moved this around this way.” You know, there are definitely elements of that. I always call the writers and I badger them about things to a point where I sometimes feel like, “Hi, I’m sorry. It’s me again. What about this line?” But there’s a lot of that. They’re very, very open to that because, you know, yeah, like you said, once you’re on episode 20, you’re starting to really sink in to the world.
Now you guys just got picked up for a second season and I just watched a bit of an interview where you said that you told somebody that you didn’t think it’d go past the first season. So obviously, it sounds like you’re a little surprised, but happily so.
Mitchell: Well, I wouldn’t say I didn’t think it was going to go past the first season. What I was saying was I’m surprised that it’s the first thing that NBC renewed. I mean, I was saying, who would’ve thought back in October of last year, you know, cut to spring of this year and what new NBC show that’s not a mid-season replacement would still be standing.
Like, I don’t want to forget a show that’s still there but I’m just saying I don’t think many people would’ve said back in October, “Grimm” is going to be the show that NBC gives the first re-order to of their new hour-longs. I just don’t think that people would’ve thought that and I certainly was more than pleasantly surprised when that happened.
Well, yeah. You guys have that Friday night timeslot which is really tough.
Mitchell: I guess it’s tough in a way but it’s also, apparently, one of the good things about Friday is you don’t need to pull huge numbers to justify sticking around. You don’t need to get Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday numbers.
We were really, really worried when the pilot was in the air because I don’t know if you remember this but we were up against the World Series and the World Series was supposed to be finished. Without doubt, there was no way that the World Series was going to last longer than Thursday before we opened the next day on Friday, even if it went seven games before we premiered. And then they had a rainout.
So not only was there a rainout, there was an opportunity for one team, the Rangers, to close it out, win the series, and be done with it on Thursday night and they were up two runs and then they got tied and then they were up two runs again and then they got tied and then they were up again and the other team won it in the bottom of the ninth or something to force Game 7. So we were up against Game 7 in a way that should never have happened because there was the rainout and there was this incredible comeback victory. We were all looking at our cell phones manically watching the score of the game.
So, I feel like we were up against some pretty serious odds and we hit something and it’s very, very exciting.
Well, you know, DVR has been a blessing to you guys. You’ve done really well with DVR ratings added in. Even people that don’t catch it when it’s running live, that’s been a big factor in your ratings as well.
Mitchell: I believe that you are correct in that and I think it speaks to, I mean, it speaks to the age we live in when, you know, there’s a metric for people who watch something on the DVR but there has to be. So many people do it that you have to start measuring it and if you add those in for the numbers, you’re right. We get a lot more viewers than just those who watch it live and I’m glad that they’re aware of that because I’m sure that contributed to their decision to renew us.
Well, and it seems like it’s picking up almost a cult-like status. People are really catching on. I mean, do you see that happening? Would you be excited if it became, you know, like a Star Trek-type cult thing and you’re doing conventions playing Monroe 20 years from now?
Mitchell: Oh, man. Now you’re really scaring me. Twenty years from now?
Well, look at Mr. Spock.
Mitchell: I don’t know what I’m going to have for lunch. I’m not thinking about 20 years from now.
Okay, fair enough. Well, do you know anything about what’s coming up for season two or any spoilers that you can give us? Of course, obviously most of it has to be under wraps but anything that we can be looking forward to for season two or even the rest of season one? You said you’ve got a big part in the episode you’re working on now.
Mitchell: Yeah, I can say I honestly — I’m not trying to be coy — I don’t know anything about season two, not literally one tip. But what I can say from what I know is that I think fans, especially the fans that you were just referring to, “cult-like fans” or the, you know, the people who know David Greenwalt’s work from “Buffy (the Vampire Slayer”) and people who are interested in the “genre shows.” I don’t know what that word means, except it’s the most vague term. It’s like a genre show — that’s like saying, you know, a round cookie. Every show is some genre. Anyway …
I think they mean horror and sci-fi geeks.
Mitchell: I know they do. That’s what genre means but I feel like it’s the strangest term because it’s like a generic term for, you know, a type. It’s like saying, “You’re on a type of show”. Well, yes, I am on a type of show. Anyway, that’s a semantic point. What I’m getting at is I can tell you that the fans of this genre will be very excited, I think, by what happens towards the end of season one because the mythology of the whole set-up, the underpinnings of Nick’s situation, his relationship to various people in the world, the tip of the iceberg starts to, you know, broaden and we start to feel a little bit more about what’s really going on and I think that’s going to be really fun for people. There’s the procedural element.
The procedural element sort of gets woven into the fabric of Nick’s particular journey, i.e. what am I doing here, who are these people, what are their motives. You know, it’s not just crime of the week. It’s crime of the week that has to do with the “Grimm” mythology. So, the writers have done a really cool job, sort of, dove-tailing those two things and I think that’s going to be fun for people. You have to forgive me because I’m just completely rambling, you know. Sorry.
No, that’s okay. But I was going to say that your writers are really great, I especially really love how they wove in real history with their mythology in the “Three Coins for a Fuchsbau” episode.
Mitchell: Yeah, in fact the “Three Coins” episode which was the, sort of mid-season, I don’t know what you call it — it was episode 13 so it was, kind of like, the midseason, not cliff-hanger, but kind of climax in a way. I think that type of writing and that type of narrative where the crime of the week, which was the coin, has to do with the deeper mythology of the Grimm story, which was exactly what I was just saying. I feel like that is going to start happening more, which is really — its fun. It just gets darker and richer and like, brings in real history and I think it’s fantastic. It gives it a kind of gravitas, you know.
Yeah, what you were saying made me think of “Three Coins” because I really, really loved that one. That was the “please-don’t-cancel-us” episode.
Mitchell: Yeah, I guess it kind of was. “You want some action, here it is.” Although by the time that aired, by the time they were writing that, I think we knew that we weren’t going to get bounced.
Where are you right now in your filming schedule?
Mitchell: We are filming the next to last episode right now and we start shooting the last episode after Easter.
Okay and then do you guys know yet when the second season comes back, probably next fall?
Mitchell: I think next late summer is my guess. I think, from what I heard, you know, this is all rumor. I don’t really know. I just keep my head down and just say words. You know what I mean?
Oh, yeah. Hey, you’re still trying to figure out what you’re going to have for lunch. Alright, take care and hopefully, maybe next season we’ll sit down and chat again.
Mitchell: I’d love that.
“Grimm” airs Friday nights on NBC at 9 p.m. ET.
Not only has “Grimm” been a surprise success for NBC, but even a bit of a surprise for the stars of the show itself. Despite a former starring role on the TV series “Lincoln Heights,” Russell Hornsby’s new gig playing detective Hank Griffin may not be the lead, per se, but has brought him much more recognition than any other credit to his name thus far.
“I think any time you are on a network show, you are going from maybe half a million viewers to five to six million viewers a week. So it’s a numbers game.
“I also think that for the longest time I was a face that people recognized, but they couldn’t put the face with the name. I think now they have been able to put both of them together, and so now I see people and they say, ‘Hey Russell, how’s it going … love Hank … love Lincoln Heights.’ Before it was like “Hey, you’re an actor, right … I know you are on something … tell me what you’ve done.’
“So finally they now recognize me (and) as an actor they know my name, and that’s what I really appreciate. I have less autonomy that I used to obviously because of that, but that goes with the territory.”
Another thing that seems to go with the territory is being cast as a police officer, which seems to be a recurring career theme. Hornsby thinks it might have something to do with conveying an air of authority, and confirms the powers in charge did try to cast actors in roles perhaps not so far removed from their personalities (and yes, that includes Silas Weir Mitchell as Monroe.) They also cast actors that really hadn’t had a breakout starring role prior to “Grimm.”
The lack of superstars has created a cool vibe on the set amongst cast members and crew.
“Number one, I think our heads are in the right place, and but also the fact that we are not in L.A. helps a lot because you don’t have the friends and the family members and the people that are whispering in your ear, and putting a wedge through the cast.
“Everybody comes to the moment very humble, very appreciative, very gracious of the opportunity. With the landscape of the television and the entertainment business now, people aren’t taking their opportunities for granted. I think that makes for a greater cohesion amongst the cast, and I also think that it’s going to make more of a creative environment and a more creative dynamic between us.”
Thus far, Hornsby’s character has been pretty much the “normal” guy in a world full of beasts. His partner, Nick (David Giuntoli), has a family history of slaying aforementioned beasts, or being a “Grimm.” Of course, Hank has no idea about this secret life his partner Nick has. But as the season approaches the end of its first run, Hank is going to find himself getting tangled up more in that unknown world, giving Hornsby a chance to get in on the supernatural fun of the show and get some “juicier” story lines.
He’s already had a run in with one toxic babe, which he barely survived.
“I think that the writers are doing a wonderful job of incorporating Hank into the world of Grimms, and allowing him to be affected by it. Hank is starting to question his life, his ability to do his job well — is he getting too old for this, has the world changed so much that he is not in touch anymore — so these are some challenging dynamics for the character, and for me to play.”
While playing a police officer may be old hat, Hornsby does want to bring a bit more to his character than the typical cop roles he’s played in the past.
“I mean the writers, Jim and David, had sort of said to me ‘You know Russell, this is your character — have fun with him.’ And that all trickles down into his way of speaking, his manner of speaking, how he walks, how he dresses. You know, sort of collaborating with the costume designers on things that Hank would wear, and things that are specific to Portland — it’s been a wonderful collaborative effort and working with the writers, and the directors, and whatnot to sort of bring Hank alive, and sort of see how does he fit into the story, and how does he fit into the world.
As “Grimm” is his first venture into a “genre” show, is he worried about the stigma some cast on anything related to horror, sci-fi or fantasy?
“I mean, of course, I love sci-fi and stuff like that, but I’m not, like, a comic book crazy guy. But now I’m able to appreciate the world of science fiction, and the fairly tale genre in a whole different way. So I’m really excited by it — it’s still very intriguing and very interesting to me as I’m growing into the character, learning more about the world of Grimm, and the world of fairy tales and science fiction.”
Beyond understanding the horror or fantasy genre itself, one of the pleasant surprises for Hornsby has been learning about the cult behind the genre, and specifically, the genre fans.
“The fact that we got a full season surprised me, but what’s even more surprising is just the following, and the real appreciation for the show, and for the genre. I mean, you have to understand this is new to me. I didn’t follow ‘X-Files’ when I was in college, I didn’t have a TV, and so I just remember people in the dressing room, or in the green room of the theater, and the ‘X-Files’ is coming on and all the crew members are watching. It’s crazy being on the other side now.”
Hornsby first got the sense he had signed on for some kind of strange phenomena at Comic-Con, where the fans showed tremendous enthusiasm from a two minute preview clip. But it was enough for the cast to see the beginnings of a cult following brewing.
“It was like, are you guys seeing what I’m seeing? Is this real? We were all literally pinching ourselves.”
With its character-driven story lines, the show has proven to carry a broader appeal than the typical genre audience, and even found itself being labeled a family favorite — at one of Hornsby’s favorite Italian restaurants in Portland, he often gets fed on the house by the owner.
“She says ‘Thank you for giving me something that I can watch with my family on Friday night.’ Every time I go in, you know, they put out some wine, an appetizer or salad, and she is like, ‘Here baby, this is just me saying thank you, thank you so much. My family loves you. They love the show. We can sit down and watch together.’
“It’s great — that happening on a Friday night, when the kids stay up a little later. I think that sort of helps our cause as well.”
The series is winding down on its first season, but there is still plenty of action to come.
“There are going to some wonderful cliffhangers. Nick is going to have to make a decision — a choice as to putting his job first and his commitment to be a Grimm over his love for Juliette, and his commitment to the friendship with Hank, and I think that’s going to lead to a very interesting cliffhanger for this season.”
Not too bad for a series that looked like it might be doomed before it started, after a disastrous set of circumstances led to Game 7 of the World Series airing at the same time as the premiere.
“Oh man, I thought we were dead in the water. You have no idea,” says Hornsby. “I mean, we were on set, almost in tears, Silas and I. I could not get over it. I said we were going to be dead before we even got a chance to get off the ground.
“But we’ve overcome many obstacles, and I’m having a ball, I must tell you. I mean, just going to work everyday is so easy. I think the fact that we are shooting up in Portland really helps because not being in the machine of Los Angeles sort of sets your mind at ease.
“The crew that we are working with, they are just gracious and wonderful people. And you know we also aren’t taking ourselves too seriously, either — we get to make movies. We get to play everyday, and just have a good time.”
“Grimm” airs Friday nights on NBC at 9 p.m. ET.
Romance is in the air in Portland — flowers, passionate kisses and … gunfire. Throw in the green-eyed monster — or a green-eyed human in a jealous rage, to be precise — and you have a little romance, “Grimm” style.
The folks at “Grimm” were busy little bees during their way-too-long hiatus, and packed plenty of action into “Grimm’s” return Friday night. Here’s the basic lowdown: Rosalee (Bree Turner) is back, we finally got confirmation that Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz) is a Wesen and saw his other face, and Adalind (Claire Coffee) is still officially the most evil bitch on the planet.
That’s the Cliff’s Notes version, but let’s fill in some details.
Adalind is still hot to get her hands on the key, and using Renard to do her evil deeds. Speaking of hot, Renard and Juliette’s (Bitsie Tulloch) spell-induced infatuation came to a bit of a head Friday night. While at a crime scene, Juliette called Renard begging him to come over. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Nick (David Giuntoli) knows about the little thing between the two, minus the whole spell part driving it. So he follows Renard back to the house formerly known as his and Juliette’s abode, and is set to storm in and catch them in the act when Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) calls him and divulges that whole spell thing.
(Whew, that’s a lot of action for a little bit of screen time. )
Then Nick… walks away. Huh? Whoa there writers, even if this fatal attraction was caused by love potion #666, Nick is really going to leave without breaking up the party? Or at least what he thinks is a party. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Just as Juliette and Renard are about to uh, consummate their attraction, conflicting emotions run wild in a “Yes! No! Stop! Don’t stop!” back and forth that finally ends when Juliette grabs Renard’s gun and fires off about five or so shots to stop the action. Fortunately for her — and Renard — she shot them into their walls, not loverboy.
So he leaves, but Adalind hooks up with Renard, and I do mean hooks up. She wants to take the edge off, so to speak, and insists that Renard get it on with her in Wesen mode. So now we finally see his Wesen face, which seems to be Hexenbiest? Men can be Hexenbiests?
But the most stunning turn of events is when Renard figures out Nick has hidden the key in his desk at work and swipes it. Then denies having it to Adalind. Then, get this, takes it back to Nick for safekeeping when he realizes handing it over would be his death warrant, at which point Renard and Nick pretty much know all about each other.
Then with the help of Rosalee, Nick, Renard, Juliette and Monroe set about reversing that whole obsession spell. Nick has to drink a nasty potion for purification as the first step to setting this right, just as Renard had done to wake up Juliette, Sleeping Beauty style.
So we find Nick in the throes of a very bad reaction to his purification potion at the end of this episode, and the Wicked Witch of the Wesen, Adalind, has an entirely different reaction to the dose of “love potion” Renard gave her — the skank is knocked up, which clearly pleases her.
What is she up to now?
Missed it? Want to watch it again? Check out the full episode below: