The new NBC fairy tale series, GRIMM, premiered last week and by the looks of the numbers, it’s the new Friday night hit. While the stories are new and fresh, and the characters are interesting, as far as we’ve seen, there is one that stands out and threatens to become the “Grimm” sweetheart. His name is Monroe, “It’s just ‘Monroe’, just for the record,” explains Silas Weir Mitchell. Silas plays “just Monroe” and after seeing the pilot where we are introduced to him, he’s one of the reasons you should be watching this show, and he’s the reason we chose Silas as our Nice Boy of the Week.
Monroe is a Bludbad, basically a wolf, but he’s not big and he’s done with the bad. He’s a reformed wolf who keeps himself in check with a strict diet and Pilates. Monroe just wants to live his life in peace, making his clocks and going to church. In a show that is designed to scare the pants off of us week to week, Monroe adds light-heartedness and humor. Silas is perfect for this role. Monroe is also not very brave and when he’s called upon by Nick, the lead character and a Grimm, to help seek out the baddies, he’s more like a chicken than a wolf. I’m convinced that he’s reformed.
Silas is a very familiar face both in television and in film. He’s appeared in shows like “My Name Is Earl“, “Numb3rs“, “Burn Notice“, “The Mentalist“ and “Prison Break“. His film credits include “The Whole Ten Yards“, “The Patriot“, “Circle“ and “Heaven’s Rain”.
In a recent conference call, Silas talks about playing Monroe in depth. “What really does attract me to the role is the inner conflict. I mean it’s – you know that is rich territory for an actor to have that kind of secret. Not only to have a secret but to have a secret that you’re trying to deal with on a daily basis. It’s not just a secret from the past. It’s a secret that in every breath you’re trying to maintain. And that’s really fun to play. I also think the mythological elements of the story are very compelling.”
Mitchell’s view of the creatures of “Grimm” are pretty much what makes this show so fresh. “We all live in a world where there are monsters, monsters are real, and you look at sort of murderers and people who are on death row and people who have done terrible things you know like the Richard Ramirez’s of the world and the Sons of Sam and those people. And I feel like the creature elements of this show in a lot of ways are addressing that sort of mythical darkness that because if you bring myth into it you can discuss it in broader terms and not just make it about the procedural element which is a huge part of the show. You look at Charles Manson, you see a human. But if a Grimm looked at Charles Manson they would see the beast that the guy is underneath the human mask.”
Silas is well known for playing unstable and often disturbed characters, so seeing his humorous side on “Grimm” is refreshing and a whole lot of fun. “I have a very, very good sense of humor, yes, ask any of my friends. No, I mean you know I like to laugh and I have a sense of humor about myself, let’s put it that way. I don’t take myself too seriously.”
“It’s lovely to play someone who is not crazy, any more than the next guy,” says Mitchell. “And it is nice to have that change, to not play someone who’s you know feverishly disturbed or evil, for that matter.”
“Grimm’s” pilot episode played a lot on what frightens us. I wanted to know what frightens Silas Weir Mitchell. “That’s an interesting question. Well I’ll tell you when I was a kid what frightened me, there was – it really had to do with the power of suggestion. I lived out in the country and summer nights you know sometimes you wind up sort of far away from the house suddenly and it was dusk and then it was dark and you had to get back home. And it’s pretty scary you know walking through the woods alone at night when you’re little. And one of the things that really scared me was if I started thinking about the guy who was chasing me or the guy who was in the woods, if I started thinking about it, it was scary.
But really if I started behaving as though the guy were really there and I started running, and if I started running the behavior of it actually made me really scared and I would have to get home immediately.
So that was one of the things I remember from my childhood that as I think back on it was very apropos of “Grimm” was sort of running through the woods. Because if you just went slowly and calmly and realized that it was just in your imagination and walked, you would be fine. But as soon as you actually start running you’re done.
The imagination is very powerful weapon and people use it against themselves all the time. You see people imagining things that are terrible or think – you know what I mean, you can use the imagination in a lot of ways and humans a lot of times use it against themselves. If you went to bed every night imagining that there was a guy with an ax in your closet you would start believing it eventually.”
That is so true. I just know there is a man with a clown mask under my bed, and he’s carrying an ax.