Fairy Tale, Meet Reality – Interview with Grimm Star David Giuntoli

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For star David Giuntoli, Grimm adds a distinct edge to fairy tale mythos.

Unless your last name is Kardashian, reality TV is pretty much one-stop shopping, career-wise, though actor David Giuntoli has proven something of an exception as he prepares for the second season launch of Grimm.

Discovered in a bar by MTV in 2003, Giuntoli found himself part of the cast of that network’s reality series Road Rules: South Pacific, followed by Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet. He enjoyed life in front of the camera so much that he shifted his college plans from finance to acting, eventually scoring a number of guest appearances in such shows as Veronica Mars, Grey’s Anatomy, Without a Trace, Ghost Whisperer and Cold Case. Last fall he was cast in the role of Detective Nick Burkhardt in Grimm, which developed a loyal following.

Grimm is a twist on the police procedural in that it is accompanied by a heavy mythological element. Offers co-creator David Greenwalt, “We thought police procedural would be the way to do this, while at the same time taking fairy tales and fracturing them. Then the idea I really liked, which was [co-creator] Jim Kouf’s, is that our lead character would be able to actually see the fairy-tale characters within their normal human guises; he could see the Big Bad Wolf within a child molester.”

Kouf adds, “The other thing we decided was that the Grimms weren’t telling fairy tales, they were the first profilers; they were profiling behavior in their time, but they were telling it in a story fashion. So that’s how we got into the procedural part of it. A lot of fairy tales involve crimes, but no one had looked at them from the criminal element.”

Giuntoli spoke to Geek about Burkhardt’s journey in season one and where things are headed this year.

Geek: Is it exciting to be coming back? As we all know, you can never be certain a show will be returning.
Giuntoli: It’s a gift. We all know that we’re involved in something special. You can get a job on a show and just phone it in, but it’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of hours, you’re away from your family and you want to go work out or you want to go to bed, but the work ethic on the show is really wonderful. We just enjoy playing with what we’re creating. I love watching the relationships grow on screen, and that’s something we’ll be delving into even more during season two.

That raises an interesting question: Why the renewed popularity in fairy tales? Just a year ago everything was vampires, and all of a sudden fairy tales are in vogue.
The fantasy genre is never going to go out of style. We’ll tire of certain things, and certain things come in and out of fashion, but if there’s going to be fewer vampires, it doesn’t mean there will be less fantasy, it just means you need something to replace the vampire or werewolf. Now we have various fairy tale creatures. If fashion is being mainstream but being slightly different at the same time, then we are in fashion right now.

As part of the audience, sometimes I feel like there’s another Nick just bursting to get out. It seems as though this show is trying to be more dynamic and mythological.
In the beginning, there was a choice to make the show more procedural. But in some ways, it makes the mythological scenes even more weighted. And I think in season two there’s more of a creative opportunity to open up the mythology.

How has Nick evolved between the first and second seasons?
We deal more and more with the mythology of the world we live in; he gets more knowledge. The reality settles in and he is able to start navigating this world and make some decisions that aren’t based on impulses of “kill the monster” or “save my ass.” He makes some life choices, and doesn’t tell his girlfriend or detective partner about his life for a reason. He thinks that keeping them in the dark is going to keep them safe. He’s stronger than he started out. He honed his powers and fighting skills. He knows the world now, and he’s got a bone to pick with them because Juliette’s in a coma. He’s angry and he’s really not afraid to do what it takes to get revenge.

There were a couple of episodes where Nick got to use his Grimm skills and kicks a little ass.
Yes! [laughs] People love seeing Nick open up the throttle a little bit and kick some ass. We’re going to be doing a lot more of that in season two, I assure you.

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