After guest appearances on many TV shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, Privileged and Private Practice, David Giuntoli now gets to star in his own series. NBC’s new procedural, Grimm, comes with a twist. Giuntoli portrays Nick Burkhardt, a Portland detective who discovers that he is a direct descendant of the Grimm brothers, who were actually criminal profilers, charged with keeping the balance between humanity and the mythological creatures of the world.
Along with his partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) and his unlikely confidant, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), who as a wolf is a reformed Grimm creature, Burkhardt faces the evil Hexenbiests, Blutbads and all manner of ancient evils.
What intrigued you about this character?
What every actor wants to play is a character who goes on a quest and has a journey from point A to point Z. The character of Nick Burkhardt in the pilot episode thinks he has a really good life.
He thinks he’s a regular guy, he’s excited to ask his girlfriend to marry him and he’s happy with his life, and then boom, he finds out he’s not a regular guy. Kiss that life goodbye because he’s never going to see it again. What really attracted me to this role is watching this guy deal with these new burdens and this new responsibility.
How familiar were you with the source material? Did you know anything about any of these tales?
I was familiar with the snippets that everybody grew up with, and even some of the things I was familiar with I didn’t know were Grimm’s Fairy Tales. However, I bought the book of complete unabridged Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
It is a meaty read. I didn’t get all the way through it. But, man, the kids don’t live all the time. They are very dark.
What are the fairy tales that you are most looking forward to exploring on Grimm?
I like any fairy tale [character] that I get into a fight with. The thing about Grimm is they’re kind of fractured fairy tales, so when we see them and you know that’s the fairy tale that’s in there, that’s great, but if you don’t know that that’s the fairy tale we’re going for, that’s great too.
When they’re explored they might not be in their entirety.
What was it like shooting the fight scene for the pilot?
Oh my gosh, I thought I could do stunts. These stunt people train for a reason. I almost slipped a disk in my back after one little light fall. But they’re really choreographed carefully.
I had to go through physical fight training. I actually went to a gym where I’m this little dude compared to these monsters who are learning how to fight. I always find when you are going to be on national TV you start to pay attention to your figure! I’m not eating less, but I’m hitting the gym more.
So if there’s a wicked witch would you be willing to hit a girl?
I think if it was a wicked witch and she was going after a young child, as a cop I would have to subdue her forcefully.
What’s coming up in the show?
I know we’ll be seeing Goldilocks and the three bears in some iteration, but I’m as excited as anybody else to see what’s coming down.
Have you had a supernatural experience of any kind?
I don’t personally believe in ghosts and all that stuff, but I’m still the kind of guy who doesn’t believe in it but then has to turn on the lights because I’ve heard something. So I’ve been frightened, something’s gone bump in the night and I’ve been horrified.
How long is it going to be before you tell your partner, Hank, exactly who you are and what you know?
I don’t think he’s going to know for a little while. I don’t know how long Hank’s got to be in the dark. I bet Hank is going to get involved with someone who he doesn’t know is bad and I do. I bet something like that happens.
These themes of me not telling people my other life are things that create tension in a script and you want to drag these out as long as possible.
Could the one person who does know what’s going on, Monroe, the wolf, become a sidekick.
Yes. He’s the guy I go to almost for therapy. He’s the only person, aside from my aunt, who is in the hospital right now, who knows this part of my life. And he’s the only person who I can go to and find out that I’m not going completely insane.
I’m like, ‘You see these things too, right? I’m not alone here.’ So we’re going to be strange bedfellows, so to speak.
What would be your pitch about what the show is about?
To me the show is a cop procedural turned completely upside down and it marries these two genres that satisfy both the CSI kind of people and the genre, serial kind of people.
[It is also for] the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel type of people.
I really think it does both well.
Were you a fan of Buffy and Angel, because you’ve got all the producers from them on this?
I was a huge fan. I thought Buffy was so smart. This show has elements of that fun, but it’s certainly a lot darker and a lot scarier.
The second episode of Grimm “Bears Will Be Bears” airs next Friday November 4, 2011