In Part 2 of our interview with GRIMM co-creators/executive producers/show runners David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, they discuss the series mythology, Broadcast Standards, production challenges, GRIMM fandom and how far they’ve planned ahead.
ASSIGNMENT X: Have you found any new sources of mythology for the episodes?
DAVID GREENWALT: Boy, have we.
JIM KOUF: The world’s full of it.
GREENWALT: Yeah, we’re worldwide now. We’ve got a great Filipino story coming up for Reggie [Lee, who plays Sergeant Wu].
KOUF: I think it’s cool that the first couple of seasons, we were reading from the book of fairytales, and now finally, we’re adding our own fairytales to it.
GREENWALT: Yeah, he’s writing in the books.
AX: Who came up with the idea of the Haitian mythological figure Baron Samedi as a venom-spitting puffer fish?
KOUF: Oh, we were sitting in a room trying to figure out what Wesen we were going to deal with and the reason we decided on that was because the puffer fish has a neurotoxin, the actual poison in the fish. Another fish, the arrow fish or something like that [can spit]. We kind of combined the two. Plus, the original Haitian myth about zombies was, there was this neurotoxin involved in that, so it was a little bit, “How do we mix that with this?”
AX: Did shooting underwater with mermaids in “One Night Stand” cause you any kind of logistical difficulties?
KOUF: It wasn’t really hard for the writers, because we just write, “They go underwater.”
GREENWALT: It was a big challenge for production.
KOUF: Yeah. It made a lot of people tear out their hair.
AX: Was there anything you had to change or cut because it was physically impossible to do on the time and the budget?
KOUF: We had to cut back on it, because they could only do so much. There’s only – we face that on every script. We write them big, and then they tell us what they can do and what they can’t do, and then we always pull back.
GREENWALT: We have a great production team. Steve Oster and Norberto Barba up there in Portland, they know everything. They know how to do all this stuff.
KOUF: They have it figured out.
AX: What’s been the most challenging thing to produce? You write it and the production team gets the headache, but what’s been the one that production was screaming most about?
GREENWALT: The Season 3 premiere. The stunt coordinator said his hair lit on fire when he read it, because it was just nonstop. You’ve seen it – it’s just one nonstop big piece of action, and it’s because it’s the third part of a four-part story, so it’s the middle of everything. Norberto Barba, the episode’s director, does an amazing job.
KOUF: And of course, Steve Oster, the producer up there, we just throw one difficult episode after another – they really like it if there’s maybe fifty, fifty-five scenes in an episode, and we’ll give them seventy to eighty scenes, but they always try to do everything we want. We made a phone call to Steve Oster, saying, “Can we crash a plane?” “Well, ah … I think we can.”
AX: The show is set in Portland, Oregon, and it’s also made in Portland, Oregon. How is it working there?
GREENWALT: They love us in Portland. The weirder, the better. And also, Monroe’s [Silas Weir Mitchell] vegetarianism saves his life. The Vegetarian Times liked that a lot.
AX: You maintain a certain sense of humor throughout …
GREENWALT: We like humor wherever we can have it, whether it’s naturally arising out of a situation or something is so gross that you almost have to laugh.
AX: It looks like you’re upping the gore quotient a little bit this season, especially in terms of what Adalind [Claire Coffee] has been doing to get her powers back …
KOUF: That’s true [laughs]. We don’t continue with a lot of that stuff, but that’s specifically for that particular story.
GREENWALT: It depends on the demands of the story. The foodie episode [“A Dish Best Served Cold”] has a fair amount of gore in it, and [“One Night Stand”] has underwater sexy nasty stuff. So whatever is the demand of the specific story.
AX: Does Broadcast Standards ever say anything to you, when, for instance, you have a shot where you can almost see through the back of someone who’s been eviscerated?
GREENWALT: Yeah. They had a lot to say on [“A Dish Best Served Cold”].
KOUF: You should have seen what we really shot. It’s not in there. We had close-ups of exploding stomachs. That didn’t make it, but we knew that would happen.
GREENWALT: We’ve had a very good situation with Broadcast Standards. Unless we’re exploding a stomach into your face – and our executives helped us a great deal with that, too. I think GRIMM is seen in a certain light. HANNIBAL was seen in a very certain light; GRIMM is seen in a certain light where maybe we can go a little farther than some other shows that don’t have that kind of traditional gore. And if we’re worried about a thing early on, we’ll talk to Standards and Practices and get them in on what we’re going to say and do and show, and get the reaction from them early on. It’s been really copacetic.
AX: Can you contrast the fandoms on GRIMM and, say, ANGEL?
GREENWALT: We have great fans on both shows. We’re like country-western music, these kinds of shows. The fans are rabid, they know who the writers are, they’re very appreciative, and I can’t really contrast it, because I think it’s somewhat similar. It’s what I like about us. Our hardcore fans, as you’ve seen at Comic-Con – they had to get a bigger room this year. And they really like the show, and they want to call us if they see a mistake or something that doesn’t make sense to them, and we listen to the social media, but there’s no fan like a genre fan.
AX: How would you say GRIMM has changed since you initially developed it?
GREENWALT: The show has just deepened and broadened, as naturally would happen. We were a little more procedural in the first thirteen, I would say, and Jim’s really into history and this whole history of the Royals and what’s really going on in the macro picture. We started in the micro, like the monster inside the human being, and we still do that, but now we’ve gotten into the macro, what’s wrong with the world, what’s causing all this trouble in the world? We basically just try to answer, what is exorcism really about, what is this alligators in the sewers really about? So it’s gotten a lot bigger and it’s fun. It keeps us attentive.
KOUF: We just like to let the characters live their lives.
AX: When you created GRIMM and got going in Season 1, did you know all of this mythology about the seven keys and the Royals and the struggle for world dominion?
GREENWALT: We don’t know all of this now [laughs]. We actually knew the keys and that his mother would come back that first year if we got a back nine. We know very general things, but the specifics, we really try to let the characters tell their particular stories, so we don’t push too far ahead. It’s more fun to discover.
KOUF: Also, we think if you create ideas that are thirteen, fifteen, seventeen episodes ahead, you may find that your characters don’t wind up there, so allowing them to have the freedom to develop relationships we think is a better way to reveal.
GREENWALT: It’s kind of like we started doing the background in the first year and did a little more last year, where we love those classic hybrid episodes, where it’s half a cop thing and half a Wesen thing. And we like to have a case in almost every episode. But in certain episodes, when our characters are so involved in something mythological, like we took the Baron Samedi of it and turned it into a very personal story for Nick and his friends, so in some episodes, it’s just the story demands that you be more with the mythological stuff. But I like the show where you can watch it and get it, but if you’re an avid watcher, there’s more fun to be had.
KOUF: There’s also a lot more things we’d like to explore within that world of what’s it like to have a Wesen who’s not a bad guy, like Bud, and what’s it like to get to know him. There’s an episode coming up where – what happens when Nick [David Giuntoli] tells Juliette [Bitsie Tulloch] that her old friend is Wesen? That’s not part of the mythology, it’s not part of the procedural story, that’s just, what is it like to live in this world? Those are fun to do, and that developed a whole storyline.
AX: Is there something specific you want to achieve this year?
KOUF: Success [laughs].
GREENWALT: The end of the season. We wish to achieve that while still standing.
AX: Is there any kind of an endgame to the arcs in GRIMM?
GREENWALT: There’s some kind of an endgame. Those keys are going to come into play and Year Five will be a big year full of changes and stuff, but we don’t know precisely that far ahead. We kind of discover it as we go. We have a seven-year plan, a nine-year plan and a ten-year plan. As long as it keeps evolving, as long as it’s fun for us and the actors, who knows. It started with what I call the micro thing, the monster inside a human being, and we still do that on a weekly basis, but we have the macro thing of, what’s wrong with the word and who’s behind it? It turns out it’s this royalty that wants to come back to power. So as long as it can keep expanding and growing and be entertaining – I mean, I’ll be dead [laughs].
AX: What would you most like people to get out of GRIMM right now?
GREENWALT: That it’s fun and entertaining – that’s our primary role. That it’s different, that it’s full of surprises and that you get your money’s worth.
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Article Source:Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview with GRIMM co-creators David Greenwalt & Jim Kouf on Season 3 – Part 2