We’ve got less than one week until the Season 4 premiere of Grimm, and we were thrilled to get the chance to chat with star David Giuntoli about what’s coming up, especially now that Nick has lost his powers. He gives us his insights on that as well as how Trubel (Jacqueline Toboni) and the rest of the “Scooby Squad” will be helping Nick out, not to mention a few teasers about Sgt. Wu and Captain Renard… sort of? Read on and you’ll understand!
So can you just start off talking about kind of how Nick is going to be handling the fact that he doesn’t have his Grimm powers?
Yes, Grimm powers are gone from Nick, and he’s kind of enjoying his new normalcy, I think, in a lot of ways. But he also knows that the Wesen are out there. So first and foremost he’s going to be using Trubel as his seeing eye Grimm. He is going to be tapping Monroe – which he used to do – tapping on his shoulder quite a bit. He’s going to be using his team of Wesen and Grimms to try to do what he used to be able to do. But he doesn’t have his powers anymore, and that means that not only can he not see the Wesen, he’s just not as powerful as he was.
Can you talk about working with Jacqueline?
Jacqueline Toboni was just such a breath of fresh air on our set. She’s so fresh and talented and eager. It seems as though Grimms can only be Italian-Americans. We had Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, David Giuntoli, Jacqueline Toboni. I don’t know if that’s what they’re going for, but it happened. So we love it. And, yes, she’s incredible. She’s like a little sis.
Now that Nick is de-Grimmed, which of his other qualities do you think he’ll be focusing on more?
He has to focus on being a cop again. He used to solve crimes without having blatant tells as to who did this. So now, he has to remember that he was a good detective and start solving cases the old-fashioned way – through evidence.
How will his relationships change this season?
I depend more on Monroe. I depend more on Trubel. She and I grow very close. Again, she’s much like a younger sister to me – or a daughter to me. And that’s what you’ll be seeing.
I love to see different places that you guys go to hunt for clues around Portland. Why do you think Grimm is such a popular show?
Well, I think that’s part of it. It’s a very cinematic town. And its environs kind of lend itself to a world of scary creatures. The woods… the dark, dense forest… these are places that the human subconscious – it kind of knows that bad can happen out there. The writing. It’s fun TV. It’s popcorn. It knows what it is and it’s not trying to be anything else. And I think we deliver action-packed fun every episode… if decapitating people is what you consider to be fun. Then that’s what we do.
The show is called Grimm. You’re the Grimm… but now you’re not the Grimm. What do you think about this storyline, and what was it sort of like playing him in a different way? Because for as long as we’ve known you, you’ve been this sort of superhero.
Yes – it’s fun to just be a normal dude again, Who is still somehow tormented by knowing that there is this other world out there. He’s no longer really a part of it. He’s just kind of adjacent to it. [I’ve been] playing it like it was a great loss of almost like a loved one. This thing I had become – I hated so much in the beginning, these Grimm powers – and then slowly, came to really love and depend on… now it’s gone.
So it was a painful process to go through, and the bright side could be it could make things better for Juliette and me. But, yes, I am no longer the Grimm. But there is still a Grimm on screen, so it was true to the title of our show. But it was fun to play a normal guy.
The show has a great cast, and when we left off just about everybody was in some sort of state of chaos. What can you tell us about the first couple of episodes and where we’ll find all these other characters and how they’re dealing with things?
Oh, boy. Yes, so Adalind and Nick are now connected in some magical, horrible way. I don’t know if I can say why. I certainly can’t say how this all ends. What’s going on…
So Monroe and Rosalee, honeymoon postponed, due to the chaos that ensued. Wu getting very suspicious of what he’s been seeing. Me, obviously, where’d the Grimm go? I’m freaking out. Hank’s just having a good time. Juliette, oh yes… I don’t know what I can say. But, yes, everybody is in a state of chaos. And that never really ends on our show. That’s kind of the fun.
There’s such a big ensemble cast that last season, everybody got to have their airtime. And it sounds like Nick moved a bit to the backseat. Is he going to really step up this season to be more in the forefront?
That seems to be the case as these episodes go on. We’ve had some great additions to the cast – Jacqueline Toboni as Trubel – and that storyline, it rightfully took the forefront for a little while. It starts to get more into Nick, Hank, Monroe, trying to solve these crimes. But part of the joy of it is it’s become more of an ensemble. That’s lovely to me. And I think it’s more fun for everyone else, too – getting to act in all these different dynamics and with all these different people. So I think it’s a nice thing.
Will Nick ever leave Portland to go to the Motherland?
If the Motherland provides tax incentives. I think that there might be a trip.
Would you say that his losing his powers is similar to someone who might have lost their eyesight or a limb?
Absolutely. How will he deal with losing his powers? Will he be the same cop? The same boyfriend? The same friend? The same threat to Wesen? It’s a disability and it changes things for as long as he’s no longer a Grimm.
It would be scary because he knows there are threats out there, but he can’t see them and that would be really terrifying.
It’s very terrifying on that level. And it’s also just difficult on a human level, because he had this identity, and it’s no longer attached to him. It’s like he lost an important job. It’s like he lost his whole reason for living… to battle these Wesen. He had the rare blood to be able to see evil, and it’s gone.
How do you think studying under Christopher Fields and your work with the Echo Theater Company prepared you to play Nick Burkhardt?
Well, Chris Fields was great in that he used a Meisner technique. He really just tried to teach me to be in the moment and find the reality of the situation. Use your imagination to fantasize about what it’s like in the situation and then associate moments of your life that may have been like that. And I use a lot of ‘as if’ comparisons. Like, what would it be like to lose my Grimm powers? Okay, that’s as if I would lose a loved one to me. So that’s how I would play things. So he was wonderful with training, as was the Echo Theater Company which is still a fantastic company.
You recently starred as Ryan in Caroline and Jackie. What kind of film roles are you interested in for the future? Have you ever written any projects on your own?
Yes, I actually wrote a project this summer that I shot and filmed – a feature film – with two good friends of mine. It’s a complete departure from what I normally do – it’s a comedy. I play more of the straight man. But it will be soon named and soon out, and I’m excited for it to happen.
We talked previously about Nick being a superhero. So now that his powers are gone… what does it mean really to be a hero?
Good point. You know, a superhero has superpowers. But heroes, I think, overcome. And are somehow able to lead through the peril of what life is giving them at that point. So hopefully I will remain a hero if not a superhero.
What can you tell us about Wesens that we’re going to see this season? Will there be any characters that come from Latin American folklore?
Yes. Absolutely. One of the fun Wesen – one of my favorite episodes of the season – is when we deal with the Chupacabra. We just finished filming that episode. We have many new wonderful Wesen. We have the Gedachtnis Esser, which is the Octopus Man. We have the Schinderdiv demon beast with chin fangs. We have a golem, which is a piece of Jewish folklore. So we go all over the place, through all cultures. But Chupacabra would be the Latin American one. We have to use Juliette quite a bit. She has a mastery of the Spanish language so she needs to help Nick and Hank and Monroe out quite a bit. We learn the actual origin of what the Chupacabra is and its relation to the Wesen community. So it’s an interesting take.
What was your initial reaction to getting that Season 3 finale script and seeing that he’d be losing his powers?
I thought – I don’t know. I was excited – it’s always fun to play these new situations. I knew it would shake things up as I would now be needing the use of a young, inexperienced, kind of off-the-cuff Grimm – Trubel. And I knew that that would create a lot of problems. But I was excited to see what would happen with Juliette and Nick’s relationship and how his new identity as just a detective – a normal guy – would shape his relationships.
If it was your choice, how long would he go into the season – or even the next season – without his powers?
Well, that’s a conversation I’d have to have with Juliette.
Do you think we’re going to see the team’s relationship with Trubel evolve this season now that they really need her?
Yes, she becomes more ingrained in the fabric of our lives. I desperately need to teach her what it is to be a Grimm. It’s not just a free pass to go kick Wesen ass all day long. I try to show her the finer points – I try to tell her that I would actually try to use the law before I would just go all rogue and Grimm.
She lives under the same roof with Juliette and I. So she becomes like a daughter figure to us. And that’s really it.
Last season when you had your time of being zombified, you actually ended up getting some extra powers. Were those really tied to your Grimm powers? Are those going to help while you don’t have the Grimm powers?
No. They’re gone with the Grimm powers. If I become a Grimm again I get the whole deck of cards back. But no, I’m just a dude.
Are we ever going to get back to the key storyline?
Oh, yes, without a doubt. We will be getting back to the key storyline. People are after the key. And the more Grimms out there, the more people are going to be hunting for those Grimms to get those keys. So it’s alive.
Oh, so we’re going to see more Grimms this season?
Yes. Sort of. Maybe.
Given Nick’s relationship with Adalind, will that have as an impact on the future for Nick and Juliette?
Oh, boy. So, yes, the Nick and Adalind spell links us in a very profound and mysterious way. And something goes down in order to reverse a spell that she has put on me that is just crazy. And it affects Juliette and I in a very intense way.
Are there any spoilers you can give us for Season 4 in terms of that?
The whole regular season cast, we all get murdered in the third episode. [chuckles] No, okay. No, I can’t – I don’t think I can give you the spoiler as to how my spell could possibly one day be reversed.
Do you know if Adalind will ever find out where her baby really is?
She’s looking hard. But I don’t know yet.
Can you talk a little bit about some of your favorite fairy tales as a child – Grimm or otherwise? Were they things that scared you?
Well, I don’t remember honestly the Grimm’s fairy tales being a big part of my life. Yes, there were things that scared me. I mean, I think I’ve said in the past I was raised in a very Catholic setting. So I had that like almost like James Joycean fear of God and the devil and stuff.
I also happened to see the Exorcist when I was like 8 years old. And I would be like 6’4″ right now if I hadn’t seen that. It destroyed me. I was so afraid of the devil and demons and all that kind of stuff. So yes, terrifying. I loved scary movies, and they were the bane of my life.
So is there anything on this show that has given you a nightmare?
No. I see all the work that goes into this. But some things creep me out when I walk into set and see a body there lying completely with severed head next to it, and it previously looked like the guest star. It can be eerie, but no. No nightmares.
Any chance that we are going to see James Frain again?
Oh, boy. That would be nice. I don’t know. He’s on another series right now, which kind of makes it tough. But we do have some other wonderful actors working with us, and I don’t know if James will be back. I hope his series does well. If it doesn’t, then yes.
How is Nick going to deal with the fallout of finding out that he actually slept with Adalind?
Well, what did Nick really do wrong? He didn’t know he was sleeping with Adalind – and when the bodies transform I think they transform completely. So what Juliette ate that day was in Adalind’s stomach. I don’t know where this all ends, but how does he deal with the fallout? You just, listen, you just nod. You say yes, thank you. You just be very cautious – walk on eggshells for a little while.
What still surprises you about going to work every day and doing this show?
Well, you get to kind of dig deeper into your character constantly. That’s the joy of being on a long running TV series. This thing can grow with you. And what surprises me?
I guess it surprises me how much I get out of it still. It surprises me how much I can still learn from some of the other actors. And our show isn’t straight down the middle, so you really never know what the next day will hold.
All you have to do is read out of that book in the trailer, and it’s a reality. So it’s a show that can continue to surprise, and I think that’s why it’s such a success.
Are you shocked that [the show] is still going on to a fourth season?
The Grimm’s fairy tales are imbedded – ingrained – so deeply into our culture and so many cultures – and it does very well abroad for good reason. So it doesn’t really shock me. I am extremely fortunate, and I’m aware of that. And so much of what makes a TV series last is not quality. It can be just kind of luck. And we are a quality show, but we also are just kind of lucky that we hit it.
And that it resonates with fans. But we have great show runners, a great team of writers who aren’t afraid to always shake things up in the story. They love it. They get a kind of a perverse joy out of just writing the rules, then bending them… So I think the audience enjoys that.
I can go to Facebook and see David Giuntoli fan pages by the dozens. What does it feel like to be a pop culture icon?
I don’t know. It’s fun to get to go to these Comic-Cons and be lauded by people. It’s fun to have so many people be excited about what you do. But it doesn’t really change. All celebrity is outside in. You never feel any different. You just get stopped more on the street. But that never ceases to feel weird.
Do you think Wu will ever find out about Nick and that Wesen are real? Obviously he suspects something. Do you think he should find out, or should he remain kept in the dark?
That’s a very good question. I think that there’s going to come a point where he’s going to have to find out. I don’t think he should take it too easily. I don’t think he will if he does. But, yes, I think that he will at one point have to find out. I think it’s fun that he does not know at this point. But the poor guy’s being driven insane.
Last season we saw what appeared to be Nick dying in his sleep. Was that just a side effect of him being a zombie? Or is there deeper meaning to that?
Yes. It’s not just sleep apnea. It was definitely one of the side effects of being a zombie. Being undead. And the mixture of that and being a Grimm. So those problems go away when Nick is no longer a Grimm. But, if he gets his powers back… side effects.
Can you tell us if Captain Renard will survive after being shot in the finale last season?
Oh, boy. Well, I’ll say that he dies in the first episode.
(We’re pretty sure he’s kidding with that last one… we hope!)
Thanks again to David for taking the time to get us ramped up for the season premiere on October 24th on NBC! Are you excited, Grimmsters?? We are!!