In NBC’s new drama, Grimm, which is inspired by the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the show follows Portland homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) and Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz). The two are charged with keeping balance between humanity and the mythological creatures that lurk here in our world.
In this Q & A, Guintoli and Roiz talk about auditioning for their roles, the acting challenges the show affords and how they’ve grown as actors.
Grimm airs on Fridays at 9/8c on NBC
Sasha, given where Captain Renard started as a character in the pilot, how have you been able to adapt and identify with her?
Sasha Roiz: Well we’ve developed quite a – the character’s been developed quite a bit since the beginning. We’ve had a lot more freedom now that I think we’ve established the story of Grimm and the characters of Grimm and the world that we’re living in.
And so now there’s a little bit more freedom to get a little deeper. And so as you saw last week and especially in this week’s episode, you’ll get a real sense of who the character is and sort of the direction in which he’s going. And it’s been a lot of fun to, you know, from script to script and just get a little bit more insight into the pathology of Grimm. So it’s definitely start to pick up the pace at this point.
For both of you, what was it like the first time that you read for your respective roles? And what were your first impressions of your characters during that first read through?
David Giuntoli: The first time I read for it I had known – I had met and worked with the director before and also I had met two of the producers, Sean Hayes and Todd Millner before. I worked with them all that year. And Mark Buckland directed the pilot.
So, you know, as opposed to a lot of kind of cold auditions, I kind of already felt some – they were rooting for me. And, you know, they were looking for – I don’t know what exactly they were looking for but they were very helpful and kind of coaching me through the audition a bit and told me exactly what they want and spent time with me.
But my first take on Nick was that he always thought he wanted to go home and instead of go like drinking with the guys. I wanted to watch, you know, like two movies with Juliette and was very happy settling down into a (nice) little life with some rose and, you know.
And, you know, which makes what happened to him in the pilot episode all the more, you know, horrifying and terrible. You know, on the fact that he’s seeing monsters his whole life – what he thought he had is gone. And, you know, he clings to that. He wants it to remain and, you know, it’s very difficult to maintain this little domestic life while, you know, ogres and bad guys are chasing him.
Sasha Roiz: Initially I read for the Blutbad way back when. And then they called me back weeks later for Renard and it wasn’t very much on the page. And so I really wasn’t sure what they were calling me for. And then, you know, after they picked me for the role, then they explained to me that it was, you know, where they were planning on going with it and then became a lot more interesting than what I saw in the script initially.
But I think they were going in a very different direction originally with the role. They were going a lot older and a lot more African American than myself. So and they just kind of like, you know, changed their casting decision I think and kind of went in a different direction with the character all together.
Because I just remember when I was sitting waiting to audition I was like, I think I seem to be in the wrong room because this is not generally the demographic I audition with. But, you know, I’m glad that they did and I’m glad they chose me and it’s been a lot of fun. And they really held true to their promise. They developed this role into something quite interesting.
David Giuntoli: Weren’t they also looking in another demographic as well?
Sasha Roiz: Yes. Women – specifically Asian women like something like that. It was a very – it was a very strange casting day that day for me. But I’m very glad I attended.
Sasha, what are some initial acting challenges you found stepping into this role?
Sasha Roiz: The hardest thing and which continues to be a bit of a, you know, it’s not a – it’s not a burden. It’s just the difficult thing when you’re playing the sort of mysterious character is that a lot of the mystery isn’t completely hatched. And so you’re kind of waiting around sometimes to, you know, be informed of what it – what your machinations are and what you’re actually motivated to be doing.
So you don’t always know the grand picture until the writers provide you with it. So that’s sometimes a little difficult because you’re kind of sort of overreaching or trying to at least, you know, trying to determine for yourself what the best sort of path is as your character proceeds.
How have both of you grown as actors over the course of this show?
David Giuntoli: Well this is David. I went from green to veteran. I’m just logging so many hours every day. I, you know, this is the first time for me that I had to sustain an arc, you know, through a series. And there’s a lot to learn in that. You don’t have to play the series every episode. You just kind of play each scene as it happens.
I think I just settled down a little bit. You know, whenever you embark on a new giant gob you kind of start – you may be a little nervy and, you know, I was chomping at the bit and had a lot of energy and I think I’ve just kind of settled down a bit as an actor.
Sasha Roiz: You know, honestly I just want to praise David. I think he’s doing a great job and we’re, you know, we can’t ask for a better more charming lead than David.
And, you know, it’s – for me, I don’t know, it’s just been – it’s been a lot of fun to work within the ensemble environment to participate in everybody else’s storyline just to help support everybody else’s characters. I think sometimes the challenges, you know, when you work in ensembles there’s a lot of days off. And you don’t really feel as engaged.
And so the challenge may be perhaps in the beginning was certainly to feel locked into your character and your storyline and connected to the rest of the cast. And fortunately being sort of removed and placed in Portland has helped towards that because we’ve got to know one another and so we’ve bonded very quickly. And that’s really, really helped our work a lot. We’re genuine friends (here) and we enjoy each other’s company totally. And so it’s been a pleasure. Hopefully it comes out in the work.
David Giuntoli: I owe you a small bottle of rose Sasha.
Sasha Roiz: There you go buddy.
David Giuntoli: It’s being couriered as we speak.