io9 Interview – Cliffhanger Season Finale!

Grimm is finally back this Friday. And we’re so ready for the super sex-charged bro-down that is about to happen between the main character and his monster boss. But you don’t have to wait until the end of this week to see more Germanic monsters. We spoke with show creators Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt about spilling fairy tale blood all over Portland and why they’re obsessed with rehabbed baddies.

***There are few spoilers about the last four episodes of Grimm in this interview***

What fairy tales are we going to see in the upcoming episodes?
David Greenwalt: You’re going to see a Rumpelstiltskin type character who lives in a world of high tech video games.
Jim Kouf: A devilish kind of character.
Greenwalt: Almost like the real devil. He’s not like any vessen we’ve seen before, he might be made of something like lava. A glowing character that’s going to mistaken for an alien.
Kouf: A bad ass insecty type of character.
Greenwalt: The Sandman from the Sandman myth and fairy tale.

What are we going to learn about the royal family?
Greenwalt: Oh, we have bad things coming.
Kouf: We learn a little bit more about what they’re up to. What some of the history is, and something they want very desperately — something they may in fact get by the end of the season, we’re not sure.

You mentioned Rumpelstiltskin and the Sandman, how do you go about selecting which fairy tales to use where?
Kouf: We look for a great story, and see if there’s a fairy tale that matches it, sometimes. Not all of our stories are from the Grimm fairy tales. There’s fairy tales all around the world and myths. Our theory is that anyone who is writing these stories down is a version of the Grimms. These are real, true stories.
Greenwalt: We’ve had South African stories, one had a basis in a Hawaiian story. So we’re all over the place.

Do you sit in the library and just start pulling books from the shelves or google “fairy tales” and “folklore” and just start reading until you’ve hit the 1,800th page in Google search archives
Kouf: Or we just kind of make it up as we go. Or the thing you said that sounds the most productive.
Greenwalt: A little bit of this a little bit of that. A lot of it is [based around] a solid story idea and we add fairy tales to it.

There’s been a recent disconnect between fairy tale movies and their audience. Jack the Giant Slayer the Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters movies haven’t been performing as well as expected. But fairy tale shows like Once Upon a Time and Grimm have found an audience. Can talk about why it seems to work on television?
Greenwalt: I think the fairy tale movies are actually about fairy tales. They’re trying to re-tell old fairy tales. We’re not really trying to re-tell old fairy tales. We’re taking fairy tale characters and twisting the hell out of it, and grounding everything in reality. All of our mythology is grounded in real history. We’re trying to deal with what’s really possible and giving you an explanation for what’s really happening.
Kouf: In other words we’re trying to explain these terrible crimes like in the pilot, who would steal a child? It’s a way of explaining inexplicable things that happen in the real world. Which is what the fairy tales sought to do. We’re more in the real world.

One of my favorite stories was the dark Cinderella and the organ harvesters episodes. These two episodes also happen to be crazy violent. So you get a lot of push back on the violence of this show from the network? And where do you get all these dark ideas from?
Greenwalt: It is surprisingly dark, but I hope it’s surprisingly funny and entertaining at the same time. So that it helps people watch that darkness. The network — they really surprised us. Whenever we tried to hold back on something they would say “no no push that.”
Kouf: You mentioned the Cinderella episode. We just took it one step forward, what happens after Cinderella gets married. The Organ Grinder — well, that was based on real organ harvesting. That was going on in the world.

Has there been anything you had to hold back on?
Kouf: We have to pull back on the blood that’s all. They’re fine with the stories.
Greenwalt: There might be an episode where some people are literally cut in half and there’s some issues with how much of that we’re going to show.

What is your attraction to misunderstood monsters or rehabbed baddies?
Kouf: Everybody has their own point of view. Bad guys are more interesting when they have a point of view.
Greenwalt: You could say that Monroe is even more human than some of the human characters because he is battling his “demons” and trying not to eat people and doing pilates and the vegan diet. He actually feels more human than some of the humans to me.

What are the difficulties of balancing the greater story arcs with the monster-the-week crimes? Game of Thrones gets to do all this stuff in 10 episodes. Do you find it harder to tell a story over 24?
Greenwalt: We like to tell a story over a long time because it’s like a big, long novel. Or possibly a couple of novels. When we started the show we were a little more close-ended: here’s the monster of the week, here’s the crime. And we still continued that until the arcs of these characters built up so much that we kind of have to let the steam out of the pot. It’s a few episodes a year that are what you might call the mythological episodes. Like on the X-Files when Mulder would contact an alien or confront an alien, and then the rest the show would focus on a cop seeing strange creatures.

A lot of attention has been paid to Rosalee’s sick auntie. Is there more going on there than meets the eye?
Greenwalt: You gotta stay tuned, but she had to go away for a little bit.
Kouf: There’s nothing going on with the Aunt, but there’s something else going on there.

We were surprised but happy to see the return of Adalind. Are we going to be getting more from her in the upcoming episodes?
Greenwalt: Boy Howdy. You’re not going to believe the things she gets up to in this back end and into the next season.
Kouf: It’s so bad.
Greenwalt: She’s so bad, and she has so much fun playing that part. And that character has so much fun ruining all these lives. She’s a lot of fun to write.

Can we talk about the third season? Do you end the second season on a cliffhanger? What are your hopes for the new season?
Greenwalt: We don’t have a third season yet, but when and if we get one — bigger, badder, more! And yes, you could call the ending a cliffhanger.
Kouf: If we don’t bring it back people are going to be really pissed [because of the ending].


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