Silas Weir Mitchell GRIMM Interview

     November 1, 2011

Silas Weir Mitchell is one of those actors who you might have seen in a number of things. With 79 credits on the IMDb, he’s popped up in movies and TV shows with small bits and reoccurring characters, but for Grimm, it’s his first shot at playing a series regular. From appearances on 24, Prison Break, The Shield, My Name is Earl, and many more, he’s someone with a distinctive face – often cast as someone who is either wrongly or rightly suspected of doing something bad.

For my set visit to Grimm – the shot in Portland fantasy procedural – I got a couple minutes to drink and chat with Mitchell.  And so we talked about his career and his character in Grimm, a “Bluebod” (werewolf) who is trying to living the straight and narrow path of a reformed killer, and someone who’s lived in fear of being killed for who he is.  If you’ve seen the pilot, you can tell his character is what brings the show up to the next level. Check out our talk after the jump.

Grimm-imageIt should be noted that we talked at the Bridgeport brewing company in Portland, Oregon after getting a tour of the brewery. Also of note: neither of us were loaded at this point.

  • Mitchell talks about what it’s like to be a series regular.
  • He reflects on being a journeyman versus having a meatier character.
  • Working on Prison Break.
  • The Make Up for playing a creature (or lack thereof).
  • Portland Highlights.

Collider: I’ve seen you do a lot of television in a number of roles, what is it like being a series regular?

Silas Weir Mitchell: It’s one of the first things I recognized about the role, it’s unique for me, being in on the ground floor. It’s more nerve racking because you have more at stake, you have a great vested interest in the show, but it’s great because it’s steady work, and really rich character development, and I love the people I’m working with, it’s definitely a different experience from jumping on a moving train, which is what I’ve done for the most of my career.

Grimm-imageIt must be a relief to not have to constantly audition.

Mitchell: It’s nice to focus on the story and the character and not have to worry about getting a job.

I watched you in the pilot and thought “I know I’ve seen this guy in a million things.”

Mitchell: I’m sort of a journeyman. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I was proud of it because I was working all the time. It really is nice having a steady, beefy role to play with.

Your character seems really juicy, there’s obviously the internal conflict.

Mitchell: It’s dramatic. Inner conflict is really fun to play because there’s a lot going on and the choices – when you’ve got a character with internal conflict – the choices you make have broader ramifications because they have inner ramifications and ramifications in the world. So when you get to play in that realm you’re lucky. It’s fun.

Is there any conflict between you and his other partner?

Mitchell: We haven’t even met – we met once in passing.

Grimm-imageDo you get noticed in public for your work?

Mitchell: Prison Break was such a culty thing, people know me from Prison Break, I sign pictures from that show, and my character hit a note for some reason, I think it’s the man-child, wounded thing, because you look at me and your first instinct isn’t like “let me take care of him.” Your first instinct might be “I’m going to cross the street.” And Haywire combined those strange bedfellows. Someone you’re a little bit leery of, but who you feel sympathetic towards. Monroe has a similar dynamic, yes I’m a bluebod, I’m a descendant of bluebods, but I’ve chosen to live my life on the straight and narrow, which is no easy task because of my family history. I’m trying to make a break with the past.

How is your character developing?

I’m in every episode, I have a lot to do, and it’s really fun, I like working with these guys.

Your character is a werewolf type, do you wear a lot of make up?

Grimm-imageMitchell: No, it’s mostly a body double, but I have done it. It depends if they have time to keep me in the chair for five hours. Usually I have too much to do. So if I do that, the day is dedicated to getting me in and out of the make-up and there’s room for one small scene. So it’s mostly a body double doing the prosthetics. And I’m doing the CGI, they’ve got the dots that go on your face.

Do you have a favorite shop in Portland?

Mitchell: I love Baristas. My favorite coffee shop. And Cinema 21, that’s a cool movie theater.

And you shoot mostly in Northwest Portland, yeah?

Mitchell: We shoot all over, our offices are in the Northwest, but we shoot Sandy a lot, there’s a decommissioned state park we use.

Grimm airs Friday Nights on NBC.