Cliffhangers are de rigeur for season finales, but letting rigor mortis set in on your leading man was a stroke of shocking Grimm genius, and according to star Dave Giuntoli, Nick's walking dead status won't be quickly resolved in tonight's season premiere. And he couldn't be happier!
In addition to gushing over playing a zombie, Giuntoli opened up about the show's exciting evolution, how they're re-writing the Grimm playbook and which iconic sci-fi series is serving as inspiration for season three!
ETonline: What did you like about the season two cliffhanger?
Dave Giuntoli: That I didn't know what the hell was going to happen! I had no idea where we would end up in season three and what would become of Nick. Crazy cliffhanger! I mean, they closed a casket on me.
ETonline: Do you call the executive producers and double check that you're still the star of their show after reading a script like that?
Giuntoli: I'm lucky because the show is kind of named after me [laughs]. I might be the only one who doesn't fear that. A lot of people ask if I ever get tired or playing the same part and it's impossible to -- I mean, I am basically guest starring as a zombie, which is totally outside the normal arc of my character.
ETonline: How much Nick is in this zombie?
Giuntoli: Very little. It's one part Nick, ninety-nine part The Shadow. It was so much fun to behave in a way I would never, ever be able to justify as Nick. I got to grunt and freak out and run through the woods and look like a badass.
ETonline: Given the fact you're the star, I can't imagine this zombie state lasts more than one episode. I mean, their lead needs to be able to speak, right?
Giuntoli: I think the writers actually found the right formula with me not speaking [laughs]. No ... but it does last more than one episode, believe it or not.
ETonline: So the thrust of the first few episodes is everyone trying to de-zombie-fy Nick?
Giuntoli: Yes. Because Grimms have this certain latent power that, when awakened, is no good. Part of what Nick has to do is discern where his ancestors didn't discern. People think I'm just going to lop their heads off, and I don't -- but now that I'm this terrified animal, I can create a lot of havoc. And I do.
ETonline: Once they get Nick back, is their mission to take down Top Hat and Eric?
Giuntoli: There's a couple of story arcs going on. The Europe story arc, which is dealing with major power structures and hierarchies and dynamics that we, as human beings, have learned in history books to be one thing, but there's another truth to the impetus behind major events in our history. Renard's involved in that, his brother's involved in that and I'm solving crimes in Portland. But it all comes together eventually.
ETonline: Another big shocker last season was Juliette learning the truth -- how does that change their relationship this season?
Giuntoli: With honesty comes intimacy. That's all I can say about that.
ETonline: Two more characters were read in last year, how big can this group get?
Giuntoli: It can't get too big. I think we know who it's going to be. Everyone who gets paid as series regulars on Grimm will ultimately know by the end of this year. That's my guess. It hasn't happened yet, but I think the main cast will all get read in.
ETonline: What excites you about what that means for the show's fundamental structure?
Giuntoli: It becomes that Buffy thing where it's the Scooby Gang, and I guess as the lead of the show, I become Scooby-Doo?
ETonline: Pretty sure that makes you Buffy Summers.
Giuntoli: [laughs] So you're taking the transitive property of show lead?
ETonline: Yep. And how do you look in a leather miniskirt and thigh-high boots?
Giuntoli: That's between me and my God, sir ... although you will see in episode six! [laughs] Nah, it's fun -- this lets us have a Scooby Gang feel and Nick can team lead this crazy group.
ETonline: What are you excited for fans to see this season?
Giuntoli: One of the fun conceits of the show is that the Grimms' Fairy Tales as known by human beings are stories. Grimms' Fairy Tales as known by Grimms are lifesaving advice. The big difference this season is we don't just pull from stories that have been written down, we find more folklore out there and I transcribe it into these books. I'm creating new fairytales, which is cool.
ETonline: What kinds of new wesen can we expect to see then?
Giuntoli: Beyond me in thigh high boots, we have crazy mermaids and ... oh, dude! Santa Claus! Our Christmas episode is going to be insane! It's crazy. There's an actual evil Santa fable is out there that isn't that famous in America, and we do that. This big, fat white guy rolling into kids' room is not hard to spin that in a creepy way.
Grimm airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on NBC.