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Six Questions with the Creators of “Grimm”

In the paraphrased words of Robert Muldoon, "Clever Grimm."Before they were given the Disney-flavored candy coating, fairy tales were designed to scare the ever-loving crap out of kids, and none were more skilled at this than Germany’s most infamous siblings, The Brothers Grimm. After 2005’s supernaturally awful Brothers Grimm, the Brothers’ tales have returned to our fair airwaves in the form of NBC’s Grimm, a brilliantly dark fantasy/crime procedural hybrid. After a brief hiatus, Grimm is back tonight (Friday) at 9 PM, triumphantly renewed for a second season, for an eight episode run to finish out the first season.

We caught up with series creators David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf to talk imagined rivalries, untold tales to come, and keeping it real.

Nerdist: When the show first launched, many people were insinuating a rivalry between Grimm and Once Upon a Time. As the shows are rather distinct and different, what were you guys thinking when this was happening?

David Greenwalt: Well, they’re just two very different shows and certainly there’s a fairy tale element to both shows, but there’s room for both shows in the universe. And, actually, they both won. I think it’s very clear what the differences are if you watch both shows. We’re probably a little darker.

N: You’re one of the first genre shows we’ve seen that has approached the material with a procedural bent. Was it intended to be procedural from the beginning?

DG: Yes, we intended it to be a procedural from the beginning. We thought it would be really cool idea to have a hybrid show that mixed both genres and that it would be fun to solve a crime each week, but have a Grimm meaning to it.

Jim Kouf: When we came up with the idea to have the Grimm brothers be profilers of early criminal behavior, it became an easy way into telling the fairy tales because they all involve some sort of criminal behavior, usually. It was a good way to explore both the fairy tale world and explain bad human behavior.

N: Have the actual Grimms’ Fairy Tales, the books themselves, been addressed on the show yet? It seems like the Grimms have no other way of warning people, so they put out these books of fairy tales as a way to warn kids. Was that your intention?

DG: Exactly.

JK: It was, except they didn’t write them for kids. They were eventually told to kids, but it wasn’t their intention to write a children’s story. The Grimms were recording the stories that were in their culture.

N: One of the standouts of the show, bar none, is Silas Weir Mitchell as Monroe. How did you discover him as an actor, and what’s it like having such a dynamic performer that we all want to see in these weird situations?

JK: I’d worked with him before, so we knew going in that Silas would be perfect for it. When we broke the part, he was the first guy we brought in to read for the part. He was perfect from day one. There was only one other person in contention for the role and, even then, not really. Silas was the only guy we truly considered.

N: Are there any stories from Grimms’ Fairy Tales that you haven’ t used yet that you’re excited to tell?

DG: We have a Cinderella coming up that’s going to be really good.

JK: We’re not limiting it to just the Grimm fairy tales. We’re saying that anybody who wrote a fairy tale way back when was actually a profiler. So, the Grimms not only have the ability, but people all over the world did. Anyone who wrote a fairy tale — in Japan, China, Africa — had that same ability; we draw on fairy tales from all over the place.

N: Underlying many of the episodes, there seems to be this great social commentary where some of the races and creatures want to be left alone to live their lives without not be drafted into this long-standing battle. Is that specifically a commentary on some of the things that are happening in the world right now?

JK: Yes, it is! We have an episode that actually deals with that right up front, episode 1.19. The Eisbiber characters — if you’ve seen the episode with Bud the refrigerator repairman, he comes back in a big way — some of those characters that just really want to be left alone are forced to confront their history, and Nick sides with them to try to do that.

DG: We just take the real history of the world and give a different explanation for what’s going on.

JK: We’re history fanatics, so it’s real history.

Grimm returns to NBC tonight at 9PM EST / 8PM CST and will air Fridays for an eight episode run.

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11 comments

  • My Grandson is 4 and I love this show. It is so good and scary and gory. We caught up on last year’s shows and he would watch them every day if I would let him.

  • I’m fascinated by the show. At last – some way to use the German I learned years ago. Just love the mystery and the creepiness. Nick is so cute – may have some spooky creatures around here to be investigated – LOL. I only found the show recently, and want to look up the episodes I missed. Keep them coming – you have a loyal fan.

  • I think Grimm is indeed one of the best new show’s in many years. I am impressed with the creativity,quality,humor and scare factor.Many thanks to the writer’s,producer’s,the entire cast and crew! I am a 50yr. old female and all of my friend’s and teen to adult family members watch and discuss each episode,I’ll admit to a crush on Monroe however I am hoping for a future for him and Rosalee.Forgive my babbling and keep up the great work! Peace and Blessings

  • i love this show! in my country we are watching the first season and i m always waiting for the monday s chapter.it s very creative, intresting and misterious serie just now!

  • I did not draw a correlation between “Grimm” and “Once Upon a Time” as much as I did between “Grimm” and “Fringe”. From the opening titles, the way the procedural played out (some of the crime scenes were familiar), and the music. It is not a criticism I like both.

  • I have a Masters in Philosophy and World Theology with a concentration in Ancient Folklore. I am working on my Doctorate. I have to say that “Grimm” is a fantastic show. The combination of Old World folklore and Oral Traditions is wonderful and outstanding. Well done! So happy to hear the show has been renewed. I’m definitely a Monroe fan by the way!