“Grimm” star Bitsie Tulloch (Juliette) took part in a conference call interview this week leading up to the show’s “Fall Finale,” airing on Friday, and we have all the highlights right here!
Q: So, there’s a huge episode coming up. Can you tell us a little bit about what’s going on between Nick and Juliette in this episode and how the return of Adalind may play into that?
Bitsie Tulloch: Adalind is back to wreak havoc everywhere she can. And she’s trying to avenge her mother’s death. How much I play into that storyline remains to be seen, but obviously, based on last week’s episode, it’s coming to a place where they’re going to have to talk about what’s going on. But the reality is Juliette just doesn’t understand what’s going on because she’s under a spell and doesn’t know she’s under a spell because she kind of just woke up one day and started having these intense feelings about Captain Renard.
Q: Well, we saw her and Renard kiss at the end of the last episode so maybe you can pick up a little from there; in this episode what’s going on with that?
Bitsie Tulloch: Well the reality is they’re both inextricably connected to one another, and they don’t understand why. He probably has a better understanding of it just because he’s more within that sort of Grimm world, and he obviously had agreed to do the purification rite so that he would be pure of heart when he kissed me. But I don’t think he fully understands what’s going on now as far as this intense attraction, and it’s not getting any better; it’s just getting worse and worse and stronger and stronger. So I guess what I could say is that you haven’t seen the last of that yet.
Q: When Adalind comes back, will her powers have been restored to her so that Juliette actually has to worry about her from a magical point of view, or will she still be human? Because she was visiting Captain Renard’s family, and maybe they had a way of restoring her powers.
Bitsie Tulloch: I don’t think I can answer that question. I think you’re just going to have to watch on Friday night. But good question!
Q: We are all loving the scenes between your character and Sasha Roiz’s character. Can you talk a little bit about having the opportunity to act more with him this season, and do you have a favorite scene so far between the two of you that you could perhaps speak a little bit about?
Bitsie Tulloch: You know, it was funny. When we read that we were going to be love interests, he and I were dying because we’re like best friends. And so we were just laughing so hard like, ‘Oh my god, this is going to be kind of weird because we’re so close.’ And there was definitely a lot of giggling the first time we had to do a kissing scene. But there was a scene in Episode 2.13 (the first one that comes back in the new year) that involves him that’s amazing. But as far as what we have shot so far, it was kind of fun shooting the scene a couple of episodes ago when we’re all at that awards ceremony and we had the whole group and he and I are both just getting so nervous around each other and he drives me home. And then of course I don’t realize he’s followed me into the house and that he’s watching me take a shower. So that whole day was fun. That episode was pretty fun.
Q: What sort of acting challenges have you found with the role of Juliette this season, having to play her without her memories of Nick?
Bitsie Tulloch: It’s been hard. It’s certainly a harder storyline than what I had last season. But, you know, there was a very strange coincidence. I read a lot of Oliver Sacks, the neurologist, and I was reading a book called The Mind’s Eye about prosopagnosia, which is facial blindness where people can’t recognize their loved ones. So even though that’s not really what Juliette has (she can [obviously] see his face), it was just interesting to me to think about how terrifying it is for these people who can’t recognize their loved ones. And to play it as if I was just meeting this guy for the very first time was interesting – to [use] all of the things that you use as an actor to find chemistry and everything, you sort of have to subdue all of that so that you’re coming to it with a blank slate because her mind is kind of blank right now with regards to Nick. So it’s definitely been more fun for me, everything that’s going on this season, and obviously getting to make out with two sexy guys as opposed to just one is never a bad thing.
Q: What do you think it is about “Grimm” that crosses generational lines – all kinds of lines really – where people love it so much?
Bitsie Tulloch: I’ll answer this with a very specific [example]. I went to a concert last night here in Portland, and I had probably four or five people varying widely in ages and ethnicity come up to me and [say], ‘Juliette, I love you on the show. Bitsie, you’re great. We watch every week. It’s amazing.’ And I was even sort of like, ‘Whoa, are you kidding me?’ You know, one of the little ladies had to have been at least 80. And I was just thinking that’s so cool!
It’s scary, but it’s not too scary. It’s definitely suspenseful, but I think the overarching theme is that you have a lot of different genres smushed seamlessly into one show. You have people who like procedurals, the romance, the fantasy, sci-fi, it’s funny with characters like Monroe and Sargent Wu, who are really funny. And then you have these cool morphing creatures and the effects and all of the prosthetics. You know, the guy who does our makeup won an Oscar for Star Trek, and he does all of the prosthetics for the monsters. And I think that’s one of the reasons that for the most part it’s very seamless, the morphs, because a lot of shows just do [CGI] effects now and we still… it’s like sort of half and half.
Q: What do you think about the supernatural or the paranormal, things like that? Do you have an open mind or think it’s all nonsense?
Bitsie Tulloch: I would definitely have an open mind. But I’m wuss; I don’t watch scary movies. They really scare me, and sometimes even having read the script and doing an episode of “Grimm,” I get a little tense [watching it] because I know someone’s going to jump out of somewhere, but, you know, it’s been so long by the [time] it airs two months later. So [in] two months I’ve forgotten what it was all about, which is one of the reasons I love Tweeting with the fans on Fridays if I can. Because we’re really seeing it for the first time with you guys. I usually have seen a snippet here or there on ADR, but we’re all really watching it together. But I would say I’m open-minded. I certainly wouldn’t want to encounter any paranormal activity, but it’s whatever floats your boat, man. If you want to party with ghosts, then go for it.
Q: In the “La Llorona” episode a couple of weeks ago, Juliette describes a childhood that is similar to your own childhood from Spain. How did your back story become her back story? How did that get into the script?
Bitsie Tulloch: Well, David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf have been remarkably, amazingly generous with the cast. Sasha, for example, speaks Russian because his parents are Russian so he speaks Russian and a little bit of French having grown up in Montreal, and they wrote that into it. One of the things I’m really proud of is that the cast is very ethnically diverse and multilingual. Reggie Lee speaks fluent Tagalog. He’s Filipino. I speak Spanish because I grew up overseas in Spain, Uruguay, and Argentina. And so when they decided to do “La Llorona,” they thought what a wonderful way to have this episode that’s incorporating the fact that Bitsie can actually speak Spanish, and we’re doing what is basically a South American/Central American and Southwestern United States fairy tale that I by the way had heard. When we lived in San Diego for two years when we first moved back to the States, I had heard of La Llorona because my mom’s background is Spanish so I heard it, too.
And so they’ve just been really great about any sort of skills that we have. I know that they mentioned [asking] Reggie [about] any Filipino or Chinese or Asian fairy tales. So that might happen down the road. And I think that’s one of the greatest things about working on the show – that it’s very collaborative. I know that going forward into Season 2 at [San Diego] Comic-Con they were saying one of their main intentions for Season 2, and going forward in general, was to make this show as international as possible while still staying true to the original fairy tales, the reason we’re here in the first place, which were the Brothers Grimm. But they’ve always said it was not just about the Brothers Grimm. They always said that it was about fairy tales in general so why not make it international?
Q: In “La Llorona” Juliette meets an older Latina lady who instantly senses that she’s torn between two men or whatever and she’s almost like psychic about it. Are we going to see that lady again? Could she help Juliette? Or did I read too much into it?
Bitsie Tulloch: I’m not sure if we’ve seen the last of her. I don’t know. She freaks me out though. I think my character would probably be happy to never see her again, but who knows?
Q: When Juliette gets her memory back, is there any chance she’ll aid Nick in fighting the Wesen?
Bitsie Tulloch: I have no idea. And if I did, I probably couldn’t tell you. I would love to; any time that the character gets to be a badass, I’m a happy camper. I love doing that kind of stuff. It’s exciting for me.
Q: There’s such great chemistry among all of the cast. How do you guys continue to maintain that?
Bitsie Tulloch: I think a huge part of that has to do with the fact that we’re all very close to each other still. We were all out drinking on Saturday night together until the wee hours of the morning; I had gone to a basketball game with David Giuntoli, and we met up with the rest of the gang. And I think, especially being on location and working such long hours, some strange hours too because we work at night a lot, we interact with each other a lot more. Giuntoli lives in my building. Not only does he live in my building, he’s two doors down from me. Reggie lives a couple of floors up. We all live in the same neighborhood, and we hang out a lot. So I think the chemistry is just there because we genuinely really like each other.
And I also feel like Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt are such sweet guys – and Todd Milliner and Sean Hayes. Our executive producers are very warm and welcoming. And it’s just a really tight cast. The Koufs have a “Grimm” viewing party every Friday at their house. So we’re there. I had a huge party for “La Llorona” because I was Live Tweeting “La Llorona,” and everybody was over at my place. And I don’t know that you necessarily would see that [on other shows]. It’s just a very, very close, friendly bunch.
Q: With all of the different types of Wesen monsters, is there one you responded to the most visually or storywise, or is there one that was particularly frightening to you?
Bitsie Tulloch: The one in the episode that airs on Friday – they were super creepy. The cannibal Wesen. The one that I thought was sort of a sexy Wesen was the Mauvais Dentes, the sort of tiger – the saber-toothed tiger creature from Season 2, Episodes 1 and 2. I loved that…
Q: Going forward in this season, will we get to see more of Juliette as a vet, and how might that play into her recovery?
Bitsie Tulloch: I’m not entirely sure because we don’t get more than one script out. I personally love shooting anything as a vet because I love animals, and then we always have a lot of stage animals that I get to play with all day long. But so far I think that, as far as my character’s concerned, they’ve been really focusing on this love triangle right now, and so I haven’t yet shot any more scenes as a vet. But I’ve made it very clear to them that I love any time I get to play with furballs.
Q: Do you enjoy, as an actor, playing the darkness of the obsessed Juliette?
Bitsie Tulloch: Yes. I definitely prefer that. You know, it was a very loving relationship. I think I personally had a hard time relating to the way Juliette was scripted Season 1 because she was so patient with him, and I’m very impatient. And I just feel like him acting weird – if he had been my real boyfriend, three days in I would have been like, ‘What’s going on? You sit down. We’re working through this. Don’t lie to me. I know something’s up.’ But Juliette’s coming from a place – they’ve been dating for three years, she knows that he was basically orphaned, and then in Episode 1 or Episode 2 of Season 1 his aunt, who raised him, died. So she’s very compassionate and understanding and was sort of just giving him space because she felt like that’s what he needed the most. And then she was sort of thinking maybe the aunt, what happened with Aunt Marie, was why he was acting so weird. But yes, definitely having this weird obsession and being under a spell and also dealing with this crazy memory loss has been a lot more fun for me as an actor.
Q: What are you wishing for, for Juliette to get her memories of Nick back or to remain the way she is right now, and why?
Bitsie Tulloch: That’s an excellent question. I think it would be pretty cool [if] eventually I get my memory back, and then I sort of [wonder] what’s my reaction going to be like this time? Is it going to be the same as it was the night in the rain when he told me and I just thought he was crazy? Or having gone through everything I’ve gone through this season with being under the spell and everything like that, is that going to make me open-minded? So I think at a certain point it would definitely be nice for Juliette to get the memories back.
I’m not quite sure what their intention is. Well, I sort of know, but I’m not going to say anything. At the same time, like I said, it’s been really fun having to not only juggle this love triangle but to play with the memory loss. So in that sense it’s been kind of fun as an actress to go through. It’s certainly been a lot more emotional for my character this season, especially in a couple of episodes coming up. There was one episode where all – I mean all – I was doing the entire episode was crying, which sounds like it wouldn’t be that much fun, but as an actress it was fun to sort of really be able to delve into such deep emotions.
Q: Why do you think Nick continues to withhold the truth from Juliette? Does she think he’s protecting her, or is he more protecting himself from getting dumped or from her thinking he’s crazy? What’s up with him?
Bitsie Tulloch: Well, the first time he told her, she thought he was crazy so he’s probably not exactly excited about going through a repeat of that whole situation. But I think a lot of it also has to do with protecting her because they’ve built a life together, they’ve spent years together now, and he’s very, very protective of her, and you’ll see that going forward, too. But at the end of the day I’m sure he would love to just tell her, but also, how does he tell her in a way that she’s going to believe him and not think he’s crazy? That’s the big question.
Q: To what extent is she going to be in jeopardy going forward? Will we see her in danger again?
Bitsie Tulloch: I’m sure you haven’t seen the last of Juliette in danger, but you’ll also see dealing with the darkness [this season] has given her a little bit of an edge. So I think she’s a tough cookie. But that’s all I can say about that.
Q: Are there aspects with Juliette you really identify with or you see yourself in?
Bitsie Tulloch: Some. You know, I would say the compassion. I think that’s one of my better traits, and I think the Juliette’s definitely very compassionate and thoughtful. But as I said, my not so fun traits are that I get very impatient and I can be really stubborn. I’m very much about getting everything all out in the open; I just feel like you have a smaller fight if you fight now. And if you keep it within you, then things start to fester and stew, and then it ends up being a much bigger thing than it ever needed to be in the first place. So in that sense I feel like I couldn’t really relate to Juliette because she was being so patient with [Nick] and really giving him his space. That’s not something that I could [do].
And speaking of Bitsie’s compassion, something that’s very near and dear to her heart is the Corazon de Vida Foundation, which she’s been involved with for about seven years now. As she explains it, “It’s an organization that sponsors and runs 14 orphanages in Baja California. Obviously the situation down in Baja is pretty terrible, and what Corazon de Vida does is twice a month they take bus trips down with supplies, and people will get on the bus from usually a location in either LA or Orange County and spend the day playing with the kids. You’re there for probably about four or five hours, and then you take the bus back. I love telling people about it because it’s a great way to get involved with volunteering without being afraid of meeting like a weekly commitment or anything like that. You can just sign up and go once; I will say, though, everybody I’ve taken down with me, all of my friends, have now gone multiple times because it’s just so much fun. These kids are happy; they’re making it work. They have so little bit it just really teaches a pretty important lesson about gratitude and where happiness comes from because for them it’s certainly not anything material.”
Our thanks to Akiva Griffith and Lauren Tweet at NBCUniversal for their help coordinating the interview.
Episode 2.12 – “Season of the Hexenbiest” (airing 11/16/12; 9:00-10:00 pm)
Adalind (Claire Coffee) returns to wreak havoc in everyone’s lives and avenge her mother’s brutal death. She has her eyes set on Nick (David Giuntoli) and those closest to him – especially Hank (Russell Hornsby) and Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch). Elsewhere, Captain Renard’s (Sasha Roiz) obsession continues to escalate. Meanwhile a surprise visit at the spice shop gives Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) more than he ever bargained for. Reggie Lee also stars.
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