We were thrilled to get to chat with the star of Grimm, David Giuntoli! David told us all sorts of interesting things about the character of Nick, the show overall, and a few hints about what’s to come in season three! He’s also got a great sense of humor, and we hope that’ll still come through in text. Enjoy!
How do you feel about the season three pick up and the move to Tuesday night?
I think it’s all very exciting. I think that NBC is showing a lot of faith in Grimm by moving us to Tuesday nights. I think actually what they wanted to do was get some of our followers to watch “The Voice.” I know that show’s been struggling. No, we’re very excited to expose Grimm to an entirely new audience and scare and befuddle a whole new segment of the population.
Grimm has so many elements to it — drama, action, romance, fantasy. Are there any of these that you enjoy performing in the most or do you appreciate the variety overall?
Well, I do appreciate the variety. Though I will say it is a dark show, and I really love when we get to squeeze in some more comedic elements. And every now and then we’ll have a more comedic episode – one of which would have aired maybe three weeks ago.
We had a Ziegevolk lawyer charming the entire jury. And Rosalee was on the jury. And Sergeant Woo was testifying, and he changed his testimony. There were a lot of many great comedic moments in that. So I’d say the comedy is something I like squeezing in there.
Nick was temporarily blinded in the recent Mr. Sandman episode. Could you share what acting without sight was like?
Well, I could see. I had prosthetics on my eyes. I had lenses in my eyes. That was crazy. But I could see through them. It was – I’d say really fun. It was fun finding new ways to make that work, especially fighting without seeing. And I was pretty happy with how it turned out. So all in all I was very pleased with the challenge of acting without sight. And I was very happy to get those contacts out of my eyes.
If you told fans at the start of the season that we’d be this far into the season and Nick and Juliette would be apart and Nick and Renard would be working together so closely, we think they’d be pretty surprised. We’re wondering if that surprised you and what you think of the state of these relationships.
That’s a good question. It does not – nothing really surprises me on Grimm. Our writers are not afraid to go anywhere. So nothing really surprises me. I want to speak especially to the relationship between the Captain and Nick.
I wanted to make sure that even though we are working together, I’m not too easy with him. I wouldn’t call it a friendship. I wouldn’t call us pals. We wouldn’t go out and eat together. I think we more or less have a common enemy.
When I’m working with the captain I always think about that picture from World War II where Stalin and FDR were sitting next to each other with Churchill. How did Stalin get there? But they just had a common enemy.
So we’re working tentatively together. He did, after all, try to kill my aunt. So as far as Juliette goes, I think we’re going to be seeing us kind of patching things up, turning things around a bit. And I’m sure that in Grimm fashion they’ll find some way to make that as difficult as humanly possible.
There have been so many othersort of Sci-fi action adventure shows that have struggled, that have not made it in recent years. Why do you think your show has worked when some of the others haven’t?
I’d say the roguish good looks of lead David Giuntoli. Listen, a successful television show… it’s a mystery how to make it. But there have to be certain components. We have writers and creators who are seasoned and excited, and that’s a really great combination. They know what they’re doing. They have found the sweet spot. David Greenwalt has this gallows humor about him as does Jim Kouf – our two main writers/executive producers. And they balance story well with a lot of darkness and a little bit of levity. And there are some very lovable characters. And that’s what it takes. They just know their stuff.
So have you gotten any hints from David or Jim about kind of Nick’s heightened abilities? We saw him playing Fruit Ninja in one of the episodes, right after he lost his sight. So have you gotten any intel on what that’s going to mean for the character in the coming season?
Nick hates fruit so bad. I have not received any nuggets of what’s to come as far as Nick’s supernatural powers. At the end of season one I did get some info that they wanted to turn me more into a hero with supernatural abilities. But I did not ask what they were. And I just kind of found out a month before the viewer did. I would imagine going forward we’re going to revisit some of what we kind of teased with my super human hearing and ability to fight fruit with a bat.
Working off of the Nick and Juliette tip, no one is doubting his devotion to her. But the character’s not a bad looking man.
Very strange casting. That’s a very strange casting choice.
I imagine there’s going to be a point where he doesn’t want to wait for Juliette anymore. Or is he just going to wait for her forever? What’s your take on that?
I certainly hope he wouldn’t wait forever. I am personally more shocked at this point that she would be interested in me after all I have done – I mean truly cowardly moves on my part as far as Juliette is concerned. I wouldn’t tell her about any of this after she’d lost her mind, went into a coma, just really struggling with memory loss and what is happening to her. And I’m still sitting back like, “I don’t want to tell her. What if she leaves me?” So I hope we have to talk about things in a real way before we get back together. I think Nick’s a guy who knows what he’s done to her and would probably do anything to get her back. So I think he’d wait for a long time.
So what could possibly happen for the season finale? Could we see a Nick and Juliette reunion? What about Adalind’s baby? Maybe Nick’s mom will return? Is there anything you could tell us?
All three of which are very much on the table. You could definitely see a Nick and Juliette reunion. And again, in Grimm fashion, they love tearing people apart and bringing them back together, and who knows how hard they’re going to make that for Nick and Juliette.
What you will be seeing that I haven’t spoken about yet is – we deal with the undead in a way that it’s never been approached before – in very typical Grimm fashion.
So zombies, quote unquote, will be coming to Portland. I would also say the cliff hanger of this season is – I don’t know how the writers are going to get themselves out of this corner that they’ve painted themselves into – one of the cast may not live through the finale.
Congratulations on the renewal again. Is it nice to have that comfort level, to know that you don’t have to kind of wait around to hear about that? Do you guys find like you’re more settled into your characters, knowing that you have a long run ahead of you?
Yes. I speak with other people who have been on shows that have lasted for several years, and there is a typical psychological arc that takes place or phases that you go through the first season.
You’re really concerned with the acting. You don’t quite know what the show is in the beginning and so that forms underneath you. Everybody starts to gel together by the end of the first season and the second season. But there’s always energy being spent on just wondering how long this will last. And your whole your personal life – am I going to live in Portland, for how long?
Now it’s to a point where we kind of know we’ll be there for a while. So it’s very comfortable. And there’s a lot more room to play with the characters, because a lot less anxiety is involved in our actual lives.
Do you have a favorite scene or storyline in the episodes this season? Something that really sticks out for you?
Something about season two that I’ve really loved and going into season three that I’m going to continue to love is more and more of the main characters are in the know so to speak….which means that certain characters can interact that wouldn’t have during much of season two, all of season one. It brings a fresh, lovely dynamic to scenes where I’ll be in a room with a completely new group of actors and watching them interact. And there’s comedy to be found in it when someone is learning the ropes of the Grimm world for the first time.
I really enjoy those scenes where we all get to spend the whole day together. I really do enjoy the moment of levity in the dark world of Grimm. And there was a scene in particular that played in the Volcanalis episode where Russell Hornsby’s character, Hank, went on vacation.
It was almost out of another show, like an Ally McBeal episode. But it was very fun. And here’s a fun bit of info. That scene was written in reaction to Russell in real life snapping his Achilles tendon. So he can’t walk – we had to somehow keep him in a chair and get him off of the show for two episodes so he can get surgery. This is kind of some of the behind the scenes info that I always find very interesting. Yes, Russell tore his Achilles tendon while watching the Super Bowl – literally – and he was sober as a judge.
We just a couple of things had to be tweaked [with Russell out]. I did a little more working with with Sergeant Wu, which was really fun and a pleasure to get to work so much with Reggie Lee. He is just a phenomenal actor. So it shook things up for a little while. But I think it was fresh and really wonderful. And I think Russell is fully repaired at this point.
If you weren’t playing Nick, which other character would you like to play?
Oh, boy. Someone with like a glandular problem, because I want to eat whatever I want to eat. I just want to be a slob. Oh, you mean what character on Grimm. Oh, my gosh. I can’t say Juliette because that’d mean I want to kiss myself. That’s a whole other kind of show.
I would say… Monroe would be fun, but I wouldn’t even want to try that. Because I mean he’s mastered that whole thing. Some – yes, either Monroe or Wu. They’re both kind of just everywhere, especially Monroe’s character, while Nick is always the center, kind of the grounded force. So it’d be fun to kind of live in that world for as long as I could handle it.
It’s great that you’re focused so much on Portland in this show, but surely there have to be other Grimms out there. Obviously, we know about Nick’s mom, but are we ever going to see or hear anything about Grimms in the rest of the country, the rest of the world?
Honestly, not as of yet that I know of. You would think that does have to do become a storyline at some point, or are there only a couple Grimms left and they’re just a lot of little Santa’s little helpers out there who are Grimm-like? I don’t quite know. The only Grimm that they really currently want to deal with is me. Whereas you know as far as the Royals are concerned they know I have one of the keys, and that’s why they even care about me at all. So who knows? That’s a good question.
Looking at season two, have you found any new acting challenges with playing Nick? How did you see Nick sort of grow and develop?
Yes, in season two Nick was written as a little more accepting of his role. In a way Nick went through the stages of grief of finding out that he was a Grimm and the loss that that would entail with Juliette and revisiting why his family is no longer with him. You know, a lot of lies had happened in his life systematically, and he found out about it all kind of at once.
So he was in denial, angry toward it, befuddlement. And finally I think he’s kind of accepted it, and throughout season two he’s owning it now. So it’s more fun to play – as far as I’m concerned – a very confident guy who’s coming into his own and becoming more of a force to be reckoned with in the Wesen world. So it’s been really fun to play that.
We love the Nick and Monroe relationship and the fact that they’ve become roomies this year. The chemistry between you and Silas on the screen is just great. Can you talk a little bit about that relationship, how you’ve seen that further develop this season?
I think Silas put it best. He said, “Everybody has seen the cop and partner relationship, the detective and his wife or girlfriend relationship, the detective and… there are a lot of dynamics that have been played out and some really well and some not so good.
But in our show we have the detective and this thing which is Monroe. It’s a totally different thing. And it’s been such a pleasure to work with Silas and have this wonderful dynamic that plays out on screen. The writers have done a very good job with that.
As far as the relationship and how it’s grown, I’d say we were always reluctant. We allied in the first season. But he could always turn into a creature, and I could always behead him. And this season we are more, I’ll just say friends. He’s housing me in his attic, for God’s sake. And I love the relationship he has now with Bree Turner – Rosalee. I believe in this next episode there’s a very funny scene where I perhaps walk in on a moment I shouldn’t have walked in on. So that’s fun to play with.
How do Wesens recognize you as a Grimm? What’s a Grimm face look like to them?
It looks like my face, believe it or not. Truly. They are not used to having their emotions in check. Because human beings – non-Grimm human beings – cannot see them. And then when they see someone reacting or they sense someone knowing what they’re going through and watching them change, they’re on to me.
They’ve learned from a young age through their storybooks about Grimms and how evil we are and we’re this supernatural thing that may or may not exist. They’ve been told by their family, their parents, and their grandparents about us. So when they actually see me it’s like they’re seeing a ghost, but not literally. But they can’t believe that one actually really exists.
Do you watch the show?
I watch it all the time. I usually don’t watch it on Friday nights. I usually watch it well before that. But certain storylines I know exactly what happens – I just don’t know in which episodes what happens in that storyline. So I don’t know if it’s tomorrow, but the Captain will be giving me a stern captain-esque lecture – a little bit about my history and the Royals and why they want me… and me in particular.
In this coming episode I know we’re going to be seeing something very paranormal – I want to say almost X-Filesy that is not a standard Grimm’s fairytale and almost like we’re dealing what people on the Earth think are aliens. But we tell you what they really are – the real explanation for them.
Which Grimm story has not yet been told that you are really pulling for that the writers to tackle next season?
The sausage and the fork go to town. No, I actually don’t know. I feel like we’ve hit all the classics. And every time I see a new Grimm’s fairytale I’m almost learning about it as we go. What I do really enjoy now about our show is the fact that we’re kind of straying from the Grimm’s fairytales.
Remember in the lore of our show – in the world of Grimm – there are only Grimm’s fairytales because they’ve been written about in a book. Now certain things that have not yet been explained… maybe they just haven’t been written down yet. So I get to add to that book.
Thus a phenomenon or a phenomena that is heretofor unexplained gets written down in the Grimm’s fairytales, and it becomes a legend for kids to learn about forever. Was that the most confusing sentence that’s ever been spoken?
What’s the nicest thing a fan has ever done for you?
They’ve affirmed me over and over and over again all the time, which is lovely. But what is the nicest thing?
Well, a really great thing a young man did for me – I met him at I believe Comic-Con. And he read somewhere that I always use Burt’s Bees chapstick. And I didn’t have any that day. And he got a brand new package for me and gave it to me. Because I’m addicted to Burt’s Bees chapstick. And it was very kind. There’ve been so many things that people have done and said and written. And I love it all. But that moment kind of sticks out. Because I was in such need of it. And he happened to have it and give me this gift.
Looking forward to season three, what would you like to see happen with your character – both professionally and personally?
Well I’d like to see some resolution to the Juliette storyline. I love working with Bitsie Tulloch, and it’d be nice to be just a couple again.
I want to get Sergeant Wu into the fray of the knowing. It would be really fun to work with him in the way that now Russell – Hank – and I can work together and Bree and Silas and the Captain. I would love to get Sergeant Wu into the fray.
Nick deals with a lot of gruesome scenes and gruesome things. Have any of those scenes every stayed with you?
Oh God – yes. The horribly gross scenes. One of which when Monroe gouges out the eye of a fly person… Jinnamuru Xunte, which sounds like someone who’d be touring with Erykah Badu. But it’s the fly person. That scene stays with me. That was hideous.
Another scene that stayed with me was the season one episode maybe five where the rats are… and I remember just before we even shot I was on set, and I walked by this car in a parking lot that I didn’t know had a corpse with rats pouring out of his mouth. That ruined me for a good, oh, 90 days. I couldn’t handle it. It was so gross. It was a very strange scene, absolutely lifelike reproduction of this person just completely dismembered on the ground after you just met them and had lunch with them. It’s so strange. The child in you does not know what’s real and what is not for a split second.
So, how do people react to you know when they see you now that you’re playing this sexy action hero?
Sexy action hero. That’s funny. I guess – I don’t know. I definitely notice people looking at me a lot. In Portland and certain towns that are not L.A., I get approached quite a bit, and it’s lovely. I love it. Because all of us actors have the saddest little frail egos, and we need to be inflated constantly and flirt with narcissism. So that’s nice.
On the show Nick really never gets a lot of down time. So what do you think he would do if he actually had some time to himself? Do you think he would play video games? What kind of shows would he watch? And what do you do during the down time of the show in between takes and such?
That’s a very good question. I think Nick’s a Palm Springs kind of guy. He wants to get down there with a group of friends. I think he probably drinks canned beer and wine… nothing too sophisticated though. Now with Monroe introducing me to a whole other world of foods and wines maybe I’m enjoying the finer things. But he needs some sun. So I’d say like Palm Springs, Hawaii, Mexico. It’s all kind of west coast.
In the real downtime between takes – you would get so annoyed with us. It’s hijinks really. We laugh all of the time, talk, I mean ongoing jokes, play games that you’d play in like long car rides when you were a kid.
One game we play is dictionary which is Silas’ game, of course. You just go into your dictionary app on your phone, find a word that’s pretty hard but you probably know it, and you tell another person the first letter of the word, the part of speech, and the first definition. And that person has to figure out what that word is – makes you smarter.
Do you see a Grimm video game being a possibility in the future? And would you be up for working on something like that if it was?
I would be completely up for that. That is what I like to think of as a revenue stream for me. But I don’t know if a video game is in the works. I have some very good friends who have voices on video games. A good friend of mine who’s on the show Being Human – Sam Witwer – is a voice for someone in one of the Star Wars video games. I think like the main dude. And he loved it. So I would love to get into more voice acting.
Thanks again to David for giving us a bit of his time and being so gracious and funny! Be sure not to miss Grimm now that it’s on Tuesday nights – it sounds like there’s a lot still to come this season!