Interview with Silas Weir Mitchell

April 2013 | The first season of "Grimm" started a few weeks ago in Germany on VOX. We got the opportunity to do an interview with Silas Weir Mitchell who plays the lovely character Monroe on the show. Silas talked to us about learning to speak German, why fairytale storys seem to be so popular lately and what he likes most about the show "Grimm".

Note: © myFanbase 2013 - The interview is exclusive to myFanbase and may not be published on other websites or the like. You may share the first two questions if you link back to this site. Translations other than English and German may be posted with full credit including the writer's name and link to this site.

1. There are a lot of fairytale-storys on television and in theater these days. Why do you think are people drawn to these storys?

I think that fairytales are basically myths. And I think myths are eternal [...] and they are part of the human fabric. You know, there are some facile answers to that question like "Oh when times are tough people turn to mythology". [...] I just think, I mean that may play a minimal role, but I think really it's just things come in cycles and we're in a cycle now where people are interested in these stories. They're always there. The myth is always pleasant in any kind of storytelling. It's just what happens, people go to different realms to get their story and they happen to be fairytales. But basically I think they are sort of eternal and we're just going through a cycle.

2. Your character Monroe is definitely a fan favorite and seems to get the best lines. What do you like about playing this character?

What's cool about "Grimm" in general is that "Grimm" is severe enough that we're comfortable with it, but different enough that we're not quite sure what it is exactly. So we have something that is wrapped in the clothing of something we know and yet you can tell that it walks a different way or talks in a different way that you're inclined to kind of lean in and see "what exactly is that?". It walks like a duck and it talks like a duck, but it is not exactly a duck and that is what "Grimm" is… It looks like a police procedure, it also talks like a police procedure but clearly there is this other layer going on. That is something that I think is really canalizing to people. Because it offers this idea that the world is not exactly as it seems. And I think that Monroe fits in right in the middle of that whole setting. Monroe is not what he seems. He is a sort of bookish, quiet [...] guy who is just trying to fix the clock and live on the straight and narrow and do the right thing. Beneath that is this rapacious vibe to his ancestry and I think that makes him such an interesting character. Someone who is kind of in two places at once.

3. Is it difficult to transform you into a Blutbad? Does the show use CGI or do you have to go to the make-up-department?

Yeah there is a lot of CGI. We tried to do some of the practical make-up for a while but it's just time consuming. Unfortunately it looks a lot better when it's practical - I mean generally speaking when it's practical it looks better. It just takes too long.

4. There are a lot of guest stars playing different kind of Wesen. Which story or guest character did you like most?

Oh that's a hard question. We had some really great people on the show. But I think Angelina's brother was such a sweet guy. I really like Brad Henke, he's a great actor and he just was a wonderful version of a Blutbad. It might be a while back but I still remember him. Also the creature – I don't know if the episode has aired or where you are yet – but there's a creature, who's sort of a bat creature based on an episode of Spanish mythology, they call him Murciélago [editor's note: This creature is shown in #1.20 Happily Ever Aftermath, airing likely on July, 1st 2013 on VOX]. That was an amazing looking creature. The design of that creature was really great. They're all great and we have some really good ones coming up now but we're already [...] at the end of the second season here. Where are you now?

In the middle of the first season. So we have a lot more ahead of us.

Yes you do. You have some exciting times ahead.

Foto: Grimm - Copyright: 2013 Universal Pictures
© 2013 Universal Pictures

5. How are the names for the 'Wesen' chosen?

I think that's just the writers' sort of enjoying fun with language. They are trying to make it through German tales but they also start branching out to other things. There's Asian, there is Spanish, there are other sort of cultures they began to mix down the road. But it's mostly German language because of the Grimms. But the idea is that these fairytales are [...] myths and part of the human fabric. There are fairytales that are relatively similar throughout many other cultures. So they do begin to branch out into other times, places and fairytales.

6. And did you learn some German yourself along the way?

Yeah I've learned some German along the way for sure. I speak French and a little bit Italian and I would like to learn a little more German. I just haven't had the time. I actually bought some language learning tools, which I needed for other languages and I just started in on German but I haven't really preceded it that much. Cause there is not a lot of time to sort of recreationally learn stuff when you're on the show. But I have learned a little. I know more German now than I ever have [...]. I mean I couldn't have a conversation in German but I can understand certain words and phrases.

7. Do you have someone helping you with pronouncing German words and phrases?

The pronunciations are the easy parts. [...] I don't know verbs, German verbs are very complicated. I don't know how to say "I would like" in German. I don't know the conditional form of the verb [...]. There are certain verbs in languages that you need to know how to say: "to be able to", "to want", "to have" – there are like ten verbs. If you know them you're fine. German verbs to me remain a mystery. The words I get and for me pronunciation is the easy part. The meaning is still yet to come.

Foto: Silas Weir Mitchell & David Giuntoli, Grimm - Copyright: 2013 Universal Pictures
Silas Weir Mitchell & David Giuntoli, Grimm
© 2013 Universal Pictures

8. During the break of season 2 there was a web series featuring your character. Since we can not access this series in Germany: What is it about and how did it come to this?

What the little web thing? Oh it's really just a trifle. It was an opportunity for a young writer and a young director to make something that fans could watch during the long break of the first and the second half of the second season. There is nothing in this web series that is in any way pertain to the story. It really kind of just Monroe and Rosalee in the spice shop.

9. Do you know if it will be put on the DVD of season 2?

I would be surprised if it was not on the DVD as an extra. You bet it will be on there. I mean I don't know [...], but I would be surprised if it weren't.

10. As for the last question: In episode 13 of season one was a scene showing Adolf Hitler transforming into a shakel and if I'm not mistaken until now he's the only historical person shown as a wesen on the show...

I think he actually turned into a Blutbad. That's the problem, something that really drives me insane, that sometimes you can't tell what creature it is. I think they meant him to be a Blutbad but I could be wrong. I think that's a clue as to where the writers are going as far as opening up the storytelling onto a global basis. You're gonna start seeing that the explanations for certain historical events will be explained in terms of the Grimm world. Whereas previously we've been taught that they happened for certain reasons and actually had reasons that have more to deal with the Grimm world than the world we think we know. That's what I love about the show. It explains things we think we understand in different terms.

Thank you, Silas!

Annika Leichner - myFanbase