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.
His character may have already been through a lot up to this point in the series, but Hornsby, whose television credits include “Lincoln Heights,” “In Treatment” and “Shameless,” enjoys working on “Grimm” immensely, and he named the cast and crew as the primary reason why.
“I've worked a long time in this business, and ... I don't think I've worked with a better collection of people ever in my life on film and television. ... I oftentimes show up to work early, and it's because I look forward to doing my job. The days are long, the nights are longer, the conditions are crazy. It's cold most of the time. It's rainy. But, when everybody brings a joy to their work and has a smile on their face, it's easy,” the actor said.
“Grimm” is shot in Portland, and Hornsby believes the location also adds to his positive experience of working on the show.
“I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we're working up here in Portland, and also, the people approach their jobs differently,” Hornsby said. “All the crew, they have such a work-life balance in what they do, and I think that has rubbed off on all of us as actors, making sure that we have a work-life balance.”