As GRIMM celebrates its hundredth episode in its fifth season on NBC, Fridays at 9, Claire Coffee’s character Adalind continues to go through changes. Adalind started in the opening episode as a malevolent Hexenbiest – a kind of witch she can shapeshift into a ghoulish guise. Since then, Adalind has lost, regained and re-lost her magical powers and had two children, the first by Zauberbiest Portland, Oregon police captain Sean Renard (Sasha Roiz) and the second by the show’s hero, police detective and monster-fighting Grimm Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli). Adalind is currently human and benevolent, but there are hints that her Hexenbiest nature may be resurfacing.
At a GRIMM special event for the SAG/AFTRA membership at that union’s Los Angeles headquarters, Coffee talked about playing the once and perhaps future witch.
AX: Were you lobbying for Adalind to go through all these changes?
CLAIRE COFFEE: I don’t lobby – I do not try to put any input, one way or the other. I just do my job, which is acting. So it’s just really fun and exciting for me.
AX: Is Adalind’s fully Hexenbiest aspect, or her fully human aspect, or her possibly part-Hexenbiest aspect coming up the most exciting for you as an actress?
COFFEE: Oh, to play? I don’t have a valuation of it, I don’t think. I like to change. It’s fun to do one thing for awhile, and then get to do something else for awhile. But I would say I don’t have a preference for Hexenbiest or not.
AX: How is it working with the baby who plays Adalind and Nick’s son?
COFFEE: [laughs] Babies, because there are six of them. There may have been eight, actually, different sets of twins. The first set that we worked with were born the same day as my own son, so that was kind of fun for awhile, and they’re trying to keep them younger than of course the babies can grow. But they go through different stages. So they’re like, “Oh, this is this really cute stage, where they’re super-chill and mellow all the time.” “Oh, now they’re going through a stage where they do not want to be anywhere that’s not their mother’s arms for awhile.” So it’s challenging.
AX: Is the behind-the-scenes reason Adalind was pregnant twice was to explain your real-life pregnancy?
COFFEE: I did not ask for that. That was not me, that was [the producers] being, “Oh! Well, we have this idea that could work.” So that was [executive producers] Jim [Kouf] and David [Greenwalt] just working with it.
AX: GRIMM is shot in Portland, Oregon, where it takes place. How is working in Portland different from working in New York or L.A.?
COFFEE: I lived in New York for a bit, but I didn’t really work in New York. I lived in L.A. for ten years and worked in L.A. And I think in Portland, what’s been great for all of us is, none of us are from Portland, had even been there, really, so we all got to discover the city, and it keeps the job and the work really about the job and the work that we’re doing, and at times, I think we do feel a little out of the loop, but it’s a really nice out of the loop for us.
AX: The cast is very male-heavy, so do you enjoy when you get to have scenes with the other women in the show, Bree Turner as Rosalee or Bitsie Tulloch as Eve, formerly Juliet?
COFFEE: I do. We love getting to hang out together. We’ll be like, “I’m so glad we have so much stuff together in this episode.” “Yeah, me, too!”
AX: When Juliet started turning into a Hexenbiest, did you help Bitsie Tulloch with the Hexenbiest transformations?
COFFEE: Well, Bitsie and I had to go back and forth a bunch, because we were both being each other [Adalind shapeshifts into Juliet and vice-versa], so she would study the way I did my thing, and I would study the way she walked, so I think there was a lot of exchange back and forth.
AX: What’s the key to playing a Bitsie Tulloch character?
COFFEE: Bitsie has a very distinct walk. But everybody has a very distinct walk. In acting school, the first thing we did was, we were assigned another person in the class and had to get their walk down, which is great, because you get down their rhythm, you see what part of their body they’re leading with. I think is the key to really inhabiting anyone is getting their walk down.
AX: Did Bitsie Tulloch tell you her key to playing you?
COFFEE: I have a funny thing with my mouth – I have a crooked smile and a crooked mouth, so that’s my weird, idiosyncratic thing.
AX: Was there any point where you thought, “Yeah, we’re going to make it to a hundred episodes,” or are you still going “Wow”?
COFFEE: It’s still “Wow.” It’s just always “Wow.” I think we all feel so lucky to be on this show, with these people, up in Portland. It’s awesome.
AX: Out of the one hundred, do you have a favorite episode?
COFFEE: Oh, God, no. I don’t even remember which was which at this point [laughs]. I remember fun times on set. When I get to hang out with everybody, when we have these big scenes where it’s all of us, it’s super-long days, and we’re all exhausted by the end, but it’s so fun, because we’re getting to hang out.
AX: Are you having fun with the GRIMM fandom?
COFFEE: Oh, yeah. They’re the best. That’s why we’re here. And they’re so smart, and they really hold us accountable.
AX: Do you have a collection of fan-made art of Adalind at this point?
COFFEE: I kind of do, yes [laughs]. The art is pretty fantastic.
AX: What would you most like people to know about GRIMM making it to over one hundred episodes?
COFFEE: Just how grateful we are and how shocked we are to be here, and just thank you to the fans.
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Article: GRIMM: Claire Coffee goes through change – exclusive interview