'Grimm' star Russell Hornsby discusses challenge of acting scared

Russell Hornsby shares details about portraying Hank Griffin on the NBC drama “Grimm.”
BY MELISSA HAYER mhayer@opubco.com Published: September 28, 2012
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Actors sometimes draw from personal experiences to help convey feelings on screen, but that method can be challenging when a scene involves witnessing a creature transform into a human. This is a common occurrence in the NBC drama “Grimm” — but not so common in real life.

“Grimm” returns this week with new episodes in its original time slot at 8 p.m. Friday.

Oakland native Russell Hornsby, 38, plays Hank Griffin, the partner of Portland, Ore., homicide detective/Grimm creature criminal profiler Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) in the series inspired by the Grimm Brothers' Fairy Tales.

“The difficulty in imagining a creature in front of you is one of the most challenging things I've done as an actor, like, ‘Be scared,' you're like ‘Well, how scared am I supposed to be?' ‘Be surprised.' ‘Well, how surprised am I supposed to be? I don't know.' Hornsby told The Oklahoman during a phone interview.

“And, so you're constantly asking yourself, ‘How far is too far? How scared is too scared, or not scared enough.' And that's one of the most difficult things ... is sort of judging, grading your emotions.”

Last season, Hornsby's character, Hank, was having doubts about his sanity after seeing such creature-morphing oddities. This season, he has learned from Nick about what these mythical creatures are and about Nick's family history as a Grimm criminal profiler.

“I think Hank is relieved now, because for the longest time in season one he was really waiting for the other shoe to drop. ... I really think he's just relieved now that he knows the truth. I also think he's excited to really get back to doing some fun, crazy, wild police work,” Hornsby said.