Something new and spooky is coming to GRIMM in Season 4 — a creature that will suck memories right out of your head. Just how will Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) fight off such a creature now that his-abilities are gone? Does it portend that the streets of Portland become a feeding-fest for all the Wesen without scruples? It sure seems so as GRIMM returns on a grimmer-note during this ominous Halloween season.
In an exclusive interview, guest-startalked about his new spook-tastic villain that has come to prey upon the unsuspected, defenseless inhabitants in GRIMM.
What can you share about your new role on GRIMM?
BRIAN: I am playing a preppy looking, yet very sinister mystery man who absorbs people’s brains.
Is that like a zombie eating people’s brains?
BRIAN: My character doesn’t eat their brains. He simply steals their minds and memories and sells whatever was in there or whatever he was contracted to steal. He sells that to the highest bidder. He’s stealing national defense secrets and stuff like that. It’s a really cool ability and he is tremendously powerful. As they say in Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility,” and I don’t know that my character takes that in the right way.
Can you share what kind of Wesen your character is?
BRIAN: He is Octo-Man. It’s very cool. I say the CGI images they were creating for the character and it looks amazing. It’s a really cool, scary looking character.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how scary is he?
BRIAN: (Laughs) I guess it would depend on what else is on that scale. But I would say for television and given what his powers are, he is a good 9.
Does he lift memories completely so that they vanish, or is he making copies of them?
BRIAN: That’s a great question. I don’t want to give away too much because the result of what he does hinges on that question. So I want fans to have a chance to discover that.
What can you share about working on GRIMM? What was that experience like for you?
BRIAN: It was fantastic. I had never been in Portland before, so just going up to the city of Portland was a blast. It is beautiful. While I was there, the weather was perfect. I was there late July through the first couple weeks of August and it was gorgeous weather — the rivers, the water, the trees and I was staying in a great place right downtown — so in terms of enjoying the city, I loved it. In terms of the show, they were unbelievable. Norberto Barba is one of the EPs on the show and I worked with him on LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT years ago when I did a couple episodes of that, and it was great to reunite with him and work with him again. He is so cool and chill on the set, and we are doing such wild stuff and he’s like a zen master. It was really fun to work with him. Then I’ve never done a show like that, the sort of sci-fi/supernatural thing with the morphing — just that whole process and how they make that work morphing into these creatures and how they shoot it was really neat. Then the cast — David [Giuntoli], Russell [Hornsby] and Jacqueline [Toboni]. She’s a University of Michigan alum, as well, so we talked about Michigan. It was a fantastic experience all around. They did a great job welcoming me.
What was it like playing a non-human for a change?
BRIAN: I’ve got to say, it was a process. It was a really cool learning curve because you have to keep in mind that you want to ground the character in humanity and something relatable and something human, but at the same time, you’ve got these crazy powers in playing Octo-Man and I can drain someone’s brain if I want. So it definitely added an element of power that was really cool — otherworldly power that I hadn’t really touched before. So I thought that was a lot fun. It was really freeing. Then in terms of playing the actual human moments, you have to play those really strong because you know there is going to be this really strong visual to bounce the human-ness off of.
The Wesen on GRIMM feel a bit more feral at times, like they are wilder some how.
BRIAN: Absolutely. The Wesen can turn at any time when they get upset. So you are right in the middle of a street and all of a sudden, you’re morphing. It’s just another take on — the way I saw it — on anger. They are people walking through the world carrying this anger and at any time you can snap. That sort of heightened danger all the time made the stakes very high.
It must be nice as an actor to stretch a bit and do something different.
BRIAN: (Laughs) It was. To be perfectly honest, I never saw myself on a show like that. I just never thought about it. So to get the opportunity, it was a total blast. Really freeing because you are not constrained by any of the stuff you might put in your head about a totally human role. You really get to free yourself of that. That was a blast. And working with the people I was working with, Norberto really walked me through the first couple of days of all the places we could go because I got to play this creature. That just kind of flipped a switch for me that was very freeing for me.
What would you recommend that fans keep an eye out for as the season opens?
BRIAN: What I think is really interesting is the repercussions of Nick losing his powers and the fact that Trubel is the only one who has that power now in Portland. That is pretty fascinating and sends a ripple-effect through everybody, obviously. I really enjoyed working with Jacqueline and her character Trubel is a very interesting character. So keep an eye on her. She really has a nice arc. And no one says I can’t come back as Octo-Man. We’re leaving the door open on that.
To see just how deliciously creepy Brian’s new character is and if there is any way to stop Octo-Man, be sure to tune in for the Season 4 premiere of GRIMM on Friday, October 24th at 9:00 p.m. on NBC. (Also be sure to catch Brian Letscher in his role as Tom Larsen, Secret Service agent on ABC’s SCANDAL, and in the online webseries “One and Done,” which Brian co-produces with his brother Matt Letscher.)