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article imageBlu-ray/DVD Essentials: David Guintoli’s 'Grimm' fairytale life Special

By Earl Dittman     Sep 17, 2014 in Entertainment
The leading man of the hit supernatural fantasy series ‘Grimm’ discusses the evolution of his character throughout three seasons, how portraying a Wesen-hunter has informed the actor within, his hopes for Season 4 and his flirtation with narcissism.
To declare that David Guintoli is living a charmed live would be a bit of an understatement for the 34-year-old leading man of Grimm, the hit drama series inspired by the classic Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales. A lot of great things have happened for Guintoli and the Portland, Oregon-based supernatural cop thriller. In the three years since we first sat down to chat (HERE) about his role as homicide detective Nick Burkhardt – a normal, everyday guy who discovers he’s descended from an elite line of creature-hunting criminal profilers known as Grimms – Guintoli has proven to be an integral part of an incredible team of actors, writers and producers who have helped to turn Grimm into one of NBC's highest-rated dramas for three critically-acclaimed seasons (the premiere episode of Season Four airs on Friday, October 24). By the way, he’s also become something of a sex symbol.
“I definitely think part of the reason we have done well is because of the roguish good looks of lead David Giuntoli,” he says jokingly, when asked if his hunk status has been a major factor in Grimm outlasting other sci-fi genre shows that have petered out after only one season. “Seriously, we’ve gotten to this point because it’s been a real team effort. I think we have...listen, a successful television show is a mystery how to make it. But there has to be certain components. We have writers and creators who are seasoned and excited, and that's a really great combination. They know what they're doing. They have found the sweet spot. David Greenwalt has this gallows humor about him, as does Jim Kouf, and they are our two main writers and executive producers. And they balance the story well with a lot of darkness and a little bit of levity. David and Jim just know their stuff. Also, there's a few of very lovable characters in Grimm, and a brilliant cast of actors who know how to bring this material to life. All of these factors, combined, is what it takes to do a show with staying power.”
To most critics and the millions of fans who religiously follow the series, Season Three of Grimm (now available on Blu-ray and DVD) certainly demonstrated what smart, inventive and entertaining television should look and sound like. The season began with Nick’s abilities manifesting themselves in new and unusual ways. Nick was even stronger than ever with his partner, Hank (Russell Hornsby), and reunited love, Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch), by his side as he tracked down Wesen criminals with renewed determination. But things began changing all around Nick. As Captain Renard (Sasha Ruiz) embroiled himself with the birth of a royal child and Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee's (Bree Turner) relationship intensified, the ties between humans and the creature-filled Wesen world became even more irrevocably intertwined.
I caught up with David Guintoli to recall some of the spine-tingling chills and sinister surprises of Grimm: Season Three, how the role of Nick has evolved for him as an actor, what aspects of the show have really freaked him out, his coolest fan experience, his hopes for the new season and if his devotees can expect to see him in more shirtless scenes.
David Guintoli
David Guintoli
NBC
Grimm has evolved to a show that possesses a little of everything – drama, action, romance, fantasy and even a bit of comedy. Are there any of these genres that you enjoy performing the most or do you appreciate the overall variety? "Actually, I do appreciate the variety. Though, I will say it is a dark show, I really love it when we can squeeze in some more comedic elements. Our writers are not afraid to go anywhere. Nothing really surprises me. But, every now and then, we'll have a more comedic episode and the comedy is something I really enjoy getting into the series."
Now that you find you have three seasons of Grimm behind you, are you more settled into playing your character, Nick Burkhardt, then you were in the, let's say, first two seasons? "Yes, definitely. I speak with other people who have been on shows that have lasted for several years, and there is a typical psychological arc that takes place or phases that you go through the first season. You're really concerned with the acting. You don't quite know what the show is in the beginning, and so that forms underneath you. Then, everybody kind of starts to gel together by the end of the second season. Of course, there's always an energy being spent on just wondering how long this will last. And, then there's your personal life, where I was always asking myself, 'How long am I going to live in Portland (Oregon)?' I love filming Grimm in Portland, but at the end of the first two seasons, inevitably, I was always wondering if I'd have to move if the show didn't get picked up. But, now it's to a point where we kind of know we'll be there for a while. So, it's very comfortable. Now, there's a lot more room to play with the characters, because a lot less anxiety is involved in our actual lives."
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NBC
If you hadn't of been cast as Nick, which other character would have wanted to portray in Grimm? "Oh, boy, probably someone with like a glandular problem, because I want to eat whatever I want to eat. (laughs) I just want to be a slob. What other character on Grimm? Hmmm...I can't say Juliette, because that'd mean I want to kiss myself – that's a whole other kind of show. (laughs) I would say – boy, I mean Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) would be fun, but I wouldn't even want to try that. I mean, he's mastered that whole thing. I really like the character of Monroe. When Nick is always like the center of like this kind of grounded force. So it'd be fun to kind of live in that world for as long as I could handle it."
Since you mentioned Silas' character of Monroe, I really enjoyed his and Nick's relationship in Season Three, especially when they were roomies. The chemistry between you and Silas on the screen is just incredibly fun to witness. How has it grown and what have you enjoyed most about Nick and Monroe's relationship? "I think Silas put it best. He said, 'Everybody has seen the cop and partner relationship, the detective and his wife or girlfriend relationship, but there are a lot of dynamics that have been played out on the show – some really well, and some not so good. But, in Grimm, we have the detective and this thing which is Monroe. It's a totally different thing.' Let me tell you, it's been such a pleasure to work with Silas and have this wonderful dynamic that plays out on screen. The writers have done a very good job with that. As far as the relationship and how it's grown, I'd say we were always reluctant. We allied in the first season. But, he could always turn into a creature, and I could always behead him. Last season we were more...I'll just say friends."
Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Nick (David Guintoli) in a scene from  Grimm
Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Nick (David Guintoli) in a scene from 'Grimm'
NBC
Are there any new acting challenges you'd like to explore in playing the Nick character? How did you see Nick growing and developing from Season Two to now? "Nick was written as a little more accepting of his role. In a way, Nick went through the stages of grief of finding out that he was a Grimm, and the loss that that would entail with Juliette, revisiting why his family is no longer with him. You know, a lot of lies had happened in his life systematically, and he found out about it all kind of at once. So, he was denial, anger toward it, befuddlement, you know. And, finally, I think he's kind of accepted it, and throughout season two he was owning it now. All throughout last season, it's been a lot more fun to play – as far as I'm concerned – a very confident guy who's coming into his own and becoming more of – I'd say – a force to be reckoned with in the Wesen world. So, it's been really fun to play that."
Okay, this is a fan question that I promised I would ask: Unlike normal humans, Nick can see what the real face of a Wesen looks like. Conversely, what does a Grimm like Nick look like to them? "It looks like my face, believe it or not. (laughs) Truly. They don't see anything aside my face – they are not used to having their emotions in check. That's because human beings or non-Grimm human beings cannot see them. And, then when they see someone reacting to this or they sense someone knowing what they're going through and watching them change, they're onto me. Wesen have learned from a young age, through their storybooks about Grimms and how evil we are, that we're almost like this supernatural thing that may or may not exist. They've been told by their family, their parents and their grandparents about us. So, when that actually see a Grimm, it's like they're seeing a ghost, but not literally. They can't believe that one actually really exists."
Which Grimm Brothers' fairy tale – that has yet to told on the show – are you really hoping that the writers tackle this season? "The sausage and the fork go to town. (laughs) No, I actually don't know? I feel like we've hit all the classics. And, every time I see a new Grimm's fairy tale I'm almost learning about it as we go through the season. What I do really enjoy now about our show is the fact that we're kind of straying from the Grimm's fairy tales. Remember, in the lore of our show – in the world of Grimm – there are only Grimm's fairytales because they've been written about in a book. Now, certain things that have not yet been explained maybe they just haven't been written down yet. So, I get to add to that book. Thus, a phenomenon or a phenomena that is heretofore unexplained gets written down in the Grimm's fairytales. It becomes a legend for kids to learn about forever. Was that the most confusing sentence that's ever spoken? (laughs) Okay, in other words, we're borrowing from a lot of lore that's even outside the standard Grimm's fairy tales. And we are adding it to those Grimm's fairy tales."
Bitsie Tulloch and David Guintoli star in  Grimm
Bitsie Tulloch and David Guintoli star in 'Grimm'
NBC
What is the nicest thing a Grimm fan has ever done for you? "Well, they've affirmed me over and over and over again – all the time – which is lovely. But what is the nicest thing? Well, a young man I met at Comic-Con did a really nice thing for me. Apparently, he said that he had read somewhere that I always like to use ChapStick. For some reason, I didn't have any that day. So, he got a brand new package for me and gave it to me, because I'm addicted to Burt's Bees ChapStick. So, it was a very kind. I'm sure there've been so many other things that people have done, said or written. I love it all. But, that moment with the ChapStick kind of sticks out. I guess, because I was in such need of it. He happened to have it and gave me this special gift."
Nick deals with a lot of bloody, nasty situations and gruesome scenes on the show. Have any of those moments every stayed with you? "Oh God, yes. Especially, the horribly gross scenes. One of which was when Monroe gouges out the eye of a fly person. I believe the person's name was David Jinnamuru Xunte, which sounds like someone who'd be touring with Erykah Badu. (laughs) But, he was playing the fly person. That scene stays with me. That was hideous. Another scene that stayed with me was the Season One episode with the rats. I remember just before we even shot I was on set and I walked by this car in a parking lot that I didn't know had a corpse with rats pouring out of his mouth – into his stomach, out of his mouth. That ruined me for a good , oh, 90 days. I couldn't handle. It was so gross. The child in you does not know what's real and what is not, for a split second. But, detectives have seen it all, everything, so that's how I play it."
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NBC
Of course, you're aware that starring in Grimm has turned you into a TV hunk and heartthrob, aren't you? How do people react to you, in your civilian life, now that you're playing this sexy action hero? "Sexy action hero, huh? (laughs) That's funny. I don't know? I definitely notice people looking at me a lot when I'm out. In Portland, and in certain towns that are not L.A., I get approached quite a bit, and it's lovely. I love it, because all of us actors have the saddest little frail egos, and we need to be inflated constantly and flirt with narcissism. So, that's nice."
Does that mean fans will get to see you do more shirtless scenes this season? "That depends on how much I've been eating. (laughs) I think there will be some more of those. They've definitely been training me really hardcore – pretty heavily – this past summer in preparation for the new season. I just got back from my trainer, in fact. So, if it gets to that point if I don't think America will cringe and turn off their televisions when I take my shirt off, then there will be more of that."
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NBC
With the premiere of a new season right around the corner, what have the past seasons of the whole Grimm experience meant to you, as an actor? "Oh, gosh, I look back at the beginning of Season One, and I'm like, 'Who is that kid, that supple little kid?' It has been just an absolute gift to me and a blessing. I've learned so much. I feel like I get paid to learn every day. Also, I've become very good friends with a lot of my cast. As you know, we all live in Portland together. They're my group now. It's been so lovely. And there's the producers and the writers and my bosses, who are also giving. They leave us alone. They give support. You never feel, you know, criticized. It's a very healthy place to be. So, I'm very grateful."
Grimm: Season Four returns to NBC on Friday, October 24, 2014 at 9:00p.m.EST/8:00p.m.CST.
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Universal
Bonus (Blu-ray + UltraViolet) Featutres: "Grimm Guide” - explore the creatures of Grimm with this interactive guide; Deleted Scenes; Gag Reel; "Meltdown" Digital Series; "Love Is in the Air: Elegant Endeavors" Digital Series and two featurettes.
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Lionsgate
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Universal
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Cinedigm
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