Six Questions with the Creators of “Grimm”
by Dan Casey on March 30, 2012
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?
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.