David Giuntoli previews GRIMM Season 4: “Nick will enjoy being normal”
Star David Giuntoli (Nick Burkhardt) recently participated in a telephone press conference to tease about the new season and what viewers might expect.
Of course, the premiere opens with everyone in a state of chaos. Giuntoli said, “Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee (Bree Turner) postpone their honeymoon due to the chaos that’s ensued [with Nick’s loss of his Grimm-ness]. Wu’s (Reggie Lee) getting very suspicious of what he’s been seeing. And Nick, obviously he’s wondering, ‘Where’d the Grimm go?’ But the chaos never really ends on our show anyway. And that’s kind of the fun.
“Actually, Nick will enjoy being ‘normal’ for a change. But, this thing that he hated so much in the beginning, the Grimm powers, he slowly came to really love and depend on. Now it’s gone. 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. But, he’s still somehow tormented by knowing that there is this other world out there that he’s no longer really a part of. He’s just kind of adjacent to it.
“And it’s very terrifying on that level. It’s also just difficult on a human level, because he had this identity that’s no longer attached to him. It’s like he lost an important job. His whole reason for living was to battle these Wesen, and he had the rare blood to be able to see evil. And it’s gone.”
Giuntoli teased, “Nick’s going to be using Trubel (Jacqueline Toboni) as his seeing-eye Grimm. He’s going to be tapping Monroe. 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. So, he has to focus on being a cop again on a human level. He has to remember that he was a good detective, and he has to remember to solve cases the old-fashioned way – through evidence. So, the show starts to get more into Nick, Hank (Russell Hornsby), and Monroe trying to solve crimes. A superhero has superpowers. But heroes, I think, overcome and are somehow able to lead through the peril of what life is giving them. So, hopefully Nick will remain a hero, if not a superhero, when all this is said and done.”
Giuntoli also teased that Nick will become very close to Trubel, who becomes like a daughter to him and Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch). “It’s always fun to play these new situations. I knew Nick’s not being a Grimm would shake things up so that he would 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, how that would shape his relationships. And I enjoyed playing the normal guy role.”
Giuntoli was also able to draw from his training under Chris Fields and his work with the Echo Theater Company while playing the power-less Nick. “Chris 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. So, I use a lot of comparisons. Like, what would it be like to lose my Grimm powers? That’s, to me, as if I would lose a loved one. So, that’s how I play things. Chris was a wonderful trainer, as was the Echo Theater Company, which is still a fantastic company.”
And Giuntoli teased about the Nick-Juliette-Adalind triangle as well as the introduction of new Wesen this season. “The Nick and Adalind spell links them in a very profound and mysterious way. And something goes down in order to reverse a spell that she has put on him that is just crazy. And it affects Juliette and Nick in a very intense way.
“We have many new wonderful Wesen. One of my favorite episodes of the season that we just vaguely finished filming is with the Chupacabra. We also have the Gedachtnis Esser, which is the Octopus Man; and 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 are Latin American. And, I can say that we have to use Juliette quite a bit in the episode with the Chupacabra. She has a mastery of the Spanish language, so she needs to help Nick, Hank, and Monroe out quite a bit. We learn the actual origin of what the Chupacabra is and its relation to the Wesen community. It’s an interesting take.”
Giuntoli is happy that the series seems to have become more of an ensemble cast. “That’s lovely to me,” he said. “And, I think it’s more fun for everyone else too. We get to act in all these different dynamics and with all these different people. So, I think it’s a nice thing.
“And the writing is fun. It’s fun TV. It’s popcorn. I think we deliver kind of action-packed fun every episode. If decapitating people is what you consider to be fun, then that’s what we do. And that resonates with fans. We have great showrunners. We have a great team of writers who aren’t afraid to shake things up in the story. They love it. They get a kind of perverse joy out of just writing the rules and then bending them. So, I think the audience enjoys that.
“Then, you also get to constantly dig deeper into your character. That’s the joy of being on a long running TV series. This thing can grow with you. I guess it surprises me how much I still get out of it. It surprises me how much I can still learn from some of the other actors. And, listen, our show isn’t straight down the middle. So, you really never know what the next day will hold. And, we’re not going by the detective handbook. We’re going outside of that rulebook all the time. I think that’s different from a lot of detective shows.
“I mean, all you have to do is read it 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. I mean, the Grimm’s fairy tales are ingrained so deeply into our culture and in so many cultures. So, the show does very well abroad for good reason. And that doesn’t really shock me. I mean, I am extremely fortunate, and I’m aware of that. 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.”
Grimm is filmed in Portland, Oregon, and, said Giuntoli, “I think that’s part of the show’s success as well. Portland is a very cinematic town. Its environs kind of lend itself to a world of scary creatures. There’s the woods, the dark, dense forest. These are places that, subconsciously, you know something bad can happen out there.”
Giuntoli was honing his craft while on hiatus as well. He told me, “I actually wrote a project this summer that I shot and filmed, a feature film, with two good friends of mine. And 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.”
Grimm premieres Season Four on Friday, October 24, at 9 P.M. with “Thanks for the Memories.”