Silas Weir Mitchell's fairy-tale job: 'Grimm'
Silas Weir Mitchell plays Monroe (right), a wolf creature called a Blutbad (left), in "Grimm." (NBC / August 13, 2012)
The veteran character actor, 42, plays the wolf-like Blutbad clockmaker Monroe in the NBC drama that puts a new spin on famous fairly tales. NBC is capitalizing on the popularity of the show by premiering the second season at 9 p.m. Monday, weeks ahead of the usual fall TV rollout.
The early debut meant the cast, crew and writers didn't get much of a break between seasons, and currently are in the thick of filming the new season in Portland.
"There are a lot of episodes, a lot of people, a lot of action, a lot of work in the woods," Mitchell said last week on the phone. "The last two [episodes] really have been pretty intense."
So what's in store for fan-favorite Monroe this season? Mitchell confirmed this will be a darker season, and that the reformed wolf will continue to help his buddy, Portland Det. Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), navigate the strange world of the Grimms, the family from which Nick is descended that battles ancient creatures, called Wesen, that are disguised as humans.
"It's bumpy and it's violent," he said of Season 2, but hinting that the buddy comedy aspect doesn't disappear. "It still has that weird sense of humor."
Mitchell also talked about the return of Nick's mother, Kelly (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), Monroe's budding romance with fox-y Fuchsbau Rosalee (Bree Turner), and his first acting gig that makes "Grimm" the perfect job for him.
Actors often say playing a bad guy is more fun than playing a good guy, but you seem to be having a good time playing a good guy.
Well I think bad guys are generally; that's sort of the line, "Bad guys are more fun." It certainly depends on what kind of bad guy and how good the writing is, first of all. What is fun about Monroe is that he is conflicted. He's a good guy with a bad past, so that kind of gives you a lot of bandwidth to play with.
He really wants to be good and he is trying to keep his bad Blutbad tendencies at bay. Will he be tested more in the upcoming season?
I think so. I think there is always going to be a phase where I use it for good—like I use the dark stuff in a positive way. But I also think that I probably will be challenged in the sense of backsliding. I don’t know if they’re going to do that, but I think it would be interesting.
I've heard that it's going to be a darker season this year.
Yes ... it's going to deal with the sort of deeper mythology of why people do what they do and some of the Wesen are behind a lot of what is going on in the world. I think it's going to be sort of surprising to people to consider.
That ties in to what you’ve said about “Grimm” being relatable to modern times. Could you expand on that a bit?
I think a lot of what the show is about in its very sort of essence is—aside from the large macro level of, you know, Hitler was a Blutbad, and Gadhafi was a monster, I don't know what kind of monster he is—but that a lot of the global shift that is going on is based on sort of creature behavior. That's the macro picture, the power struggles between Wesen and the royals and the Grimms and how they fit into that.
On a micro level what the show does is kind of mythologize and make a metaphor of normal human tendencies. Some people are conflict adverse and they would be sort of a mouse creature. Some people get an idea in their head and they want to make it happen; they're like badger people. Do you know what I mean? And then there are people who are like the shitty lawyers out there, like snaky people that are always looking for a way to take somebody.
I think one of the fun things about the show is that kind of way of taking the fairytales in which there are a lot of these types of creatures in the woods and kind of adhering that to a psychological, mythological kind of structure.
When you see a script does that come into your head right away? Do you see those parallels a lot?
For sure. We have a mouse guy in the next script; the guy needs help. The guy can't help himself. He's a little bit you know. He can't get it together. He doesn't really want to go out, but this guy needs help. He's a little frail.