Looking for shiny happy escapism to cope with the harsh realities of your life? Chances are your soft ass isn't ready for Grimm, NBC's new fantasy police procedural. While investigating a string of savage murders, homicide detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) learns that he is descended from a group of hunters, known as Grimms, who protect humans from the supernatural monsters that live amongst them (and were described in Grimms' Fairy Tales).
The evildoing creatures, which only Nick can see, are repulsive in their true form, thanks to some quality CGI and makeup. Fortunately for us, we get to see Claire Coffee, the beautiful actress who plays conspiratorial lawyer/Hexenbiest witch Adalind Schade, in her natural glory most of the time. To mark the premiere of Grimm (Fridays, 9 p.m.), Complex spoke to Coffee, who also stars on TNT's Franklin & Bash, about her new show's darkness, why the Pacific Northwest might turn anyone into a serial murderer, and the thing she fears far more than a home invasion.
Interview by Justin Monroe (@40yardsplash)
What we can expect from your character, Adalind Schade?
The show is a police procedural where the villains are Grimm’s fairy tale characters, so my character is one of the Grimm’s fairy tale characters; she’s a witch, and so she’s a bad guy working opposite or against Nick Burckhardt (David Guintoli, right), who plays the main cop, and in the pilot I try to kill his aunt. We just shot an episode where he is forced to protect me because of some circumstances, so it mixes who I am in the real world and who I am in the Grimm’s fairy tale world.
What does your character do in the real world?
In the real world I’m a lawyer. And I’m also a witch. They call it a Hexenbiest, that’s the type of creature. Each episode you’ll be introduced to a different type of Grimm’s fairy tale creature, and as it goes on you’ll start to learn more about these creatures and the ways that they’re evil and the way that they operate in the larger underworld.
Was your character based on a specific character from a Grimm’s story?
No, there’s no specific Grimm’s fairy tale that it connects to but it touches on a lot of different themes. The episode that we just shot, there’s a Grimm’s villain who controls bees, and bees are a theme in a lot of the stories.
Were you familiar with the Grimm’s tales before this?
I would say I was as familiar as most people. I used to watch Fairy Tale Theater when I was really little, and they had Tatum O’Neal play Goldilocks and I think Shelly Duvall was in Cinderella, So I’m familiar with the most popular ones but I recently got a copy of all of them and I’m kind of working my way through. I would say that the popular ones are popular for a reason; a lot of them are kind of boring, but the characters are interesting, the moral tales.
As a kid, what did you watch or read that really terrified you?
I hated being scared when I was little. Aliens really scared me. I remember watching Fire In The Sky (right) when I was 10 or 11, and thinking about that still scares me. I think I saw a commercial for A Nightmare On Elm St. on television and that gave me nightmares for a week. So pretty much everything scared me when I was little, if it had to do with fantasy. [Laughs.] Real-life things, like spiders and snakes, that doesn’t scare me, but if it’s a monster or a ghost or an alien, that will always scare me.
So I guess you avoided that sort of stuff as a child.
I watched a lot of Disney movies. I was a different Disney character for every Halloween. My parents kept it pretty PG, I would say.
What is it about aliens that still scares you?
Alien abduction movies are always the scariest; no matter how cheesy they are, they still scare me for a week. I live by myself in my apartment, and I don’t worry about intruders or robbery; I mostly worry about alien abduction or evil, mean ghosts. So not much has changed.
What alien abduction movie freaked you out the most?
My memory of Fire In The Sky is probably the worst, but recently I watched The Fourth Kind with Milla Jovovich, and that one’s pretty scary too.