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Grimm’s Bitsie Tulloch Talks Juliette, Tribeca and Fractured Fairytales

By on March 26, 2012
Pictured Bitsie Tulloch. Photo Credit: Elisabeth Caren

Pictured Bitsie Tulloch. Photo Credit: Elisabeth Caren

If you’re a fan of NBC’s Grimm then you’re probably more than a little anxious about Juliette right now. When we last saw her in episode 14, Plumed Serpent, it was clear Nick’s (David Giuntoli) monster slaying activities were starting to take their toll on an (until now) largely unassuming Juliette. Is this the end of a beautiful romance (It’s what Aunt Marie would have wanted after all) or can Juliette find a way to negotiate the kidnappings, slayings and home invasions that have become part of her life recently?

We sat down with actress Bitsie Tulloch to find out what’s in store for Juliette over the coming episodes.

Bitsie also shared some scoop on her upcoming  movie ‘Caroline and Jackie’ which premiers at the Tribeca Film Festival in April and spoke about what it was like to work on the Oscar winning ‘The Artist’ last year.

ScreenSpy: Juliette has been pretty much unaware of the creature world to date, but recent episodes have seen her placed in the path of danger, especially where we last left things in episode 14, Plumed Serpent. How are recent events taking their toll on her relationship with Nick?

Bitsie Tulloch: As you saw at the end of episode 14, Plumed Serpent, she’s kind of reaching a point where she can’t handle it anymore. What ends up happening going forward – and I think I can say this because I was allowed to tweet out a picture from the next episode – is I get my hands on a gun!

So in that sense I start to take matters into my own hands a little bit more. It’s definitely coming to a head in terms of how long he’s going to be able to keep this from me because as the episodes progress, especially from here on out, I do get drawn into the fray more and more. As to when he actually tells me? I don’t even know that yet myself yet.

“I get my hands on a gun.” Image © NBC Universal Inc.

SS: So we’re going to see Juliette is at the gun range in the next episode. Has she made the decision to get tough?

BT: The only thing I can say is that I decide that I need to be more proactive. I was just kidnapped! and now I’m feeling like my life might be in danger. As much as it sometimes reads that Juliette might seem naive the reality is she is a tough cookie. She’s doing what she can with the little information that Nick’s been giving her. So this is really entirely her decision to really start taking matters into her own hands.

SS: It’s going to be fun to watch.

BT:  Yeah, one of my favorite episodes, which is coming up soon is episode 16, where Nick and I go away for a week and all hell breaks loose. I’m really excited to see that one.

SS: Now that Juliette has finally met Monroe for the first time, is that going to bring its own set of complications?

BT: Undoubtedly! She’s extremely curious about him. He and Nick are extremely close and obviously Nick and I are extremely close. We’ve been dating or three years, and for Nick to have such a good friend I’ve never even heard about or met is sort of intriguing to me. That relationship – between Monroe and Juliette –  gets a little bit more attention coming up.

SS: You haven’t had any scenes with Silas Weir Mitchell up until episode 14.

BT: No, I hadn’t actually. That was the first time I had worked with him. And I still have not had a scene with Reggie Lee who plays Sergeant Wu – which is kind of sad because he’s definitely one of my best friends up here. We keep saying we want to work together. Now I’ve worked with all of the guys except for Reggie.

SS: Were you surprised by the success of Grimm?

BT: Not even a little bit! Not even remotely! When I first read the script, my reaction was I can’t believe this idea hasn’t been done before. Todd Milner and Sean Hayes had this idea to take fairytales that were in public domain and to put them in a detective procedural format. It hadn’t ever been done exactly like this. And then how wonderful and natural to get the guys who did Buffy and Angel on board because they have so much experience with the fairytale, the scifi and the mythical elements of the story.

It’s cool because people are familiar with the stories. Most people are familiar with the childlike version of the stories but when the brothers Grimm were collecting these stories and putting them down two hundred years ago exactly – the first collection was published in 1812 – they were extremely gruesome and bloody. They were written as warnings against the wicked lures of life and whatnot. So we’re going back to that original conception. It’s fun for people to see.

There are always a couple of little teasers too. They will pluck a sentence or two from the actual fairytale and put it onscreen at the very beginning of the episode. But usually by the end of the first act you will have figured out which fairytale it is. Some of them are a little bit more obscure, but some of them are not, like Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood. We have a Cinderella episode coming up. It’s fascinating to see the twist on it. It’s sort of like a fairytale turned on its head. Everything is fractured. So I wasn’t surprised at all by its success.

I also think that the fans of the show are so hard core. They’re so smart and they don’t miss a beat. It’s just great. We haven’t been officially been picked up for a season two yet but obviously we’re very very hopeful.

[Ed: Grimm has since been picked up for a second season.]

“For me as an actor wardrobe is very important.” Photo credit: Elisabeth Caren

ss: There will be shock all round if you’re not picked up for season 2. I think it’s a safe bet.

BT: [laughs]

SS: David Giuntoli told me that the scenery in Portland is incredibly vibrant and lush. It seems to lend itself so well to the scary fairytale environment. What’s been your experience of filming there?

BT: The five guys and I all relocated here. The people here are very friendly. The scenery is lush and vibrant but one of the reasons we wanted to film here is that Portland seems to have a sort of built-in eeriness to it, especially when you go into the woods. It’s just so quiet. I have never seen trees like the trees in Portland. They are literally just covered all the way around in this bright green moss. And to have this incredible scenery just ten minutes away from where our stages are built is great. We probably could have shot in Canada too but I think we’re really lucky to be filming in Portland. I know it brings a lot of revenue to the city. I’m definitely happy to be here and the guys are too. There’s a lot of wonderful things about this city.

SS: Is Nick going to tell Juliette the truth, or is it more likely she’ll discover it on her own?

BT: I don’t know the answer to that actually. They kind of tend to keep us in the dark sometimes, partly because our character is in the dark. So we’ll call and ask where am I going and they sometimes don’t even want to tell us because it makes it more realistic. I would assume she might because … there’s the episode Three Coins in a Fuchsbau Juliette ends up trying to track down information about Farley Colt that guy who was dating Nick’s Aunt. So she’s trying to be a little bit of a detective herself. So I think it would be interesting if she were the one to uncover the truth. But the reality is, it’s not like she is going to be able to uncover the truth herself because she can’t see monsters, so that’s something he’s going to have to tell her, I would imagine.

SS: That’s going to be an interesting development. You guys are filming episode 19 right now, right?

BT: Yes, filming episode 19 right now and we’re going up to 22. It’s fun though, because the fans on Twitter are quite active. Some people say I’m going to be this big savior. Some people think I’m a monster, and I don’t really even know myself which direction they’re taking Juliette.

SS: I’ve heard one which goes along the lines of because Juliette is a vet that maybe she is a Grimm too and she hasn’t told Nick and that’s her secret!

BT: [laughing] Hopefully the whole veterinarian aspect will come in in handy some upcoming episodes.

Bitsie Tulloch. Photo credit Elisabeth Caren

SS: I’d love to talk to you a little bit about ‘The Artist’ if I may. I was really blown away by that movie. It was so different from anything I’ve ever seen. Looking at your character Norma, I came to the conclusion that there’s almost a different sort of physicality involved in a project like this. It reminded me of dance. Did you need to do any special preparation for the role?

BT: Yes, I prepped a lot. I watched as many silent films as I could get my hands on. Because the physicality is different, expressions on your face and gestures are so much more important because you’re not allowed to convey with words.

For me as an actor wardrobe is very important and it was really cool. [Costume designer] Mark Bridges who won an academy award, and very deservedly so, really went out of his way to make us all feel like we were back in that time period. For example, the boots I’m wearing in the movie belong to Dorothy Lamour. On the inside it said ‘Dorothy Lamour MGM’ and they were her boots! They weren’t reproductions. As much as could he used original clothing. That helped a lot. It was great. Michel Hazanavicius the director had 1920’s and 1930’s music blaring on set to really keep the actors in the mood. It really felt as much as it possibly could have that it was 80 or 90 years ago and we were doing a silent film.

SS: What did you think about the idea of taking part in a silent movie project?

BT: Well I read the script and I thought it’s probably not going to go this far. It’s also hard because you can read a mediocre script and it ends up being an amazing movie, or you can sometimes read an amazing script and it ends up being a mediocre movie! So I loved the script but I wasn’t familiar with Michel’s work so I had no idea what it was going to end up looking like. Once I got on set I felt much more confident. But I really accepted the role based on the script. I was thinking silent movie is going to be a hard sell and that it would probably be an art house hit. It’s very heartening to me to see how successful it’s been. It’s really impressive how far he took it.

‘Caroline and Jackie’ premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 21 2012.

SS: Tell me about ‘Caroline and Jackie.’ I believe it’s making its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in April?

BT: Yes, we premiere at Tribeca on the 21st of April. It’s basically a story about two sisters. It’s kind of a dinner party gone wrong. It takes place over the course of an evening. There’s a first time director Adam Christian Clark and he did a great job.

One of the things about the movie is that it was shot as an improv drama. We rehearsed for a couple of weeks before we actually started shooting and that really lent to a lot of raw and incredibly real scenes because we weren’t scripted.

There are some difficulties about improv because the editor had a harder time with continuity but it’s really exciting. It’s like you get to do a play and a movie all at once.

There’s a very emotional conclusion to the film. It’s great. I’m really really proud of it. It’s the hardest role I’ve ever had as an actor.

Caroline and Jackie is produced by Blueberry Films, written and directed by Adam Christian Clark and produced by Christian Swegal. The movie stars Bitsie Tulloch as Jackie, Marguerite Moreau as Caroline and David Giuntoli as Ryan.

Catch Bitsie Tulloch Friday on NBC in Grimm.