In NBC’s new supernatural procedural GRIMM, which airs Fridays at 9 PM, David Giuntoli plays Nick Burkhardt, who assumes he’s an ordinary police officer until he discovers that he’s actually a Grimm, descended from the brothers who wrote the Grimm fairy tales. Turns out the original Grimm siblings were writing about real entities and incidents. Their heirs have the ability to see the true inhuman nature of creatures who blend into the real world, disguised as regular humans.
The basic premise of GRIMM was crafted by producing partners Sean Hayes (yes, the actor from WILL AND GRACE) and Todd Milliner. Milliner talks to us about the series’ genesis and how its mythology works.
AX: How do you and Sean Hayes work together as producers? Is there a division of labor, or do you do everything jointly?
TODD MILLINER: We work really closely together. We run everything by each other. We have a phone call every night where we talk about all the issues together, and then we figure out how we’re going to answer those questions as a united front. And generally we agree on everything.
AX: Did you and Sean Hayes simultaneously say, “Aha, let us do Grimm’s Fairytales,” or did one of you say to the other, “Let us do Grimm’s Fairytales”?
MILLINER: I had a premonition in the shower. I’m not joking. I thought, “Well, wouldn’t that be great for us to do a procedural about the Grimm’s Fairytales?” And I called Sean, and he agreed immediately. And then we went and found a writer who could do it better than we could.
AX: What to you is the essence of GRIMM?
MILLINER: It’s a tough question, but I think that the dream we had originally, and what we’re seeing on air right now, what makes GRIMM GRIMM is that we took what could be a really fantastical journey and turned it into a procedural with a twist, and that’s what we always wanted to do. We wanted to include everybody in this show and not exclude anybody. So the genre fans will love it, and we hope procedural fans will love it, and the through-line is, we always want to take a different twist on a fairytale that we’ve all grown up with. So that’s GRIMM.
AX: Your show runners/fellow executive producers on GRIMM are David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf. Is part of what drew you to David Greenwalt that he had been on BUFFY and co-created ANGEL with Joss Whedon?
MILLINER: Yeah. And [Greenwalt had been a writer/producer on] X-FILES as well. When Sean and I first started talking about GRIMM, David Greenwalt was the first writer we talked to. We actually talked to his agent. And they said, “He’s not going to do another show right now.” And that was seven years ago. Thankfully, we came knocking again and David was ready to do it and so his unique experience – I think had a lot of genre stuff, but also had some cool, interesting procedural stuff like IN PLAIN SIGHT – and he also had some feature experience. And then when Jim Kouf, having his feature experience with NATIONAL TREASURE, among others, we knew that these people were going to treat it really interestingly and base it all in reality. And that’s why both of them are perfect for the job.
AX: With show runners in place, how hands-on are you and Sean Hayes at this point?
MILLINER: We’re really hands-on. In fact, I went to Portland [where GRIMM films] to watch the first two episodes, and then Sean [went there] for the next three. Some producers are more hands-on than others, but once we sell an idea, we like to stay really, really involved to make sure that the vision that we had originally is carried through the series.
AX: In terms of the look of the show, for instance, the werewolf’s house in the initial pilot looks like something that could exist in the real world, but it also looks like something that could be out of a fairytale. Are all of the elements in the show meant to have that duality?
MILLINER: Well, we hope so. When you see a GRIMM creature in our show, it should have a heightened sense of reality, which to us means, it could be a little bit off, a little bit more colorful, a little bit more vibrant. You should definitely be able to tell the difference between a GRIMM location, a GRIMM character, a GRIMM sweater [and a non-Grimm version of same]. A little bit of a difference. But remember that in our show, we are supposing that everything’s happening here [in the real world], right now. So you could be a Grimm. We just wouldn’t quite know yet. I think you might be. There certainly are Grimm creatures that live among us. You don’t know who you’re standing next to.
AX: Might there be other characters in the series who are rivals of the Grimms in terms of policing the supernatural?
MILLINER: I have to reserve some secrets for series, but there are certainly going to be more people that have similar skills and qualities. I can’t say more than that, or I’m going to be ruining something for David Greenwalt, and he’ll turn into a Grimm creature around me if I do anything like that.
AX: What else can you tell us about GRIMM right now?
MILLINER: The thing that I would say about GRIMM is that we set out to make something that I would watch and that Sean would watch, and I’m telling you, whether you’re a procedural fan or a genre fan, I think you’ll have a really good time if you come.
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Click on Link: TV Review: GRIMM – Season 1 – “Pilot”
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Article: Exclusive Interview with GRIMM executive producer Todd Milliner