Inside Scoop: GRIMM’s Bitsie Tulloch Talks Juliette’s Dark Turn

NBC’s Grimm has had some major twists and turns this season. The biggest shock was Juliette turning into a Hexenbiest. OHSOGRAY attended a recent press call with Bitsie Tulloch and got her take on Juliette’s new life path.

Grimm moves to a new time slot on March 20th, it airs at Fridays 8/7c on NBC.

What’s the process for getting into your Wesen character and working with any special effects?

I just finished an interview and someone was asking how much fun was it to shoot the scene with Claire. I said we really need to give credit where credit is due, because it takes so much time to actually get into prosthetic makeup, we simply don’t have the time to do it. When the characters are morphed that [is] our stunt doubles. Also that was a really intense scene to film. The first time they started shooting it, Claire’s double fractured a rib. So we had to reshoot with a different double the next day. What happens when we morph is that we’ll shoot the scene, then everybody kind of has a different way that they morph. Like I have a little bit of a head toss and I hiss. I don’t know that anyone else really makes a sound. But I’ve always sort of interpreted it as snake-like. I always hiss and I kind of toss my head. But when that happens, they apply little yellow drops with latex on top of our makeup. And then they’ll remove them and we’ll continue the scene. So that’s what happens with the morphing.

If you go onto my Instagram and my Twitter, whenever I’m ADR, I kind of take pictures so that people can see what it looks like during the process of the VFX team going in and sort of painting me in as Hexenbiest. As far as psychologically, it has been such a great storyline because there’s such a push-pull with her. [At] first she really didn’t want [it]. She just wanted to have her normal life back. But now that she’s sort of learning how to control the Hexenbiest within she’s realizing just how powerful this makes her. To an extent, as much as she’s been able to contribute to the Scooby squad as a veterinarian and then also as somebody sort of good with a gun, this is the first time that she has sort of supernatural powers. It’s really the question going back and forth of do I want to be normal again and be with Nick or do I want to stay a Hexenbiest because this is kind of fun. I think the Hexenbiest are pretty wicked. So she’s definitely going to the dark side and that’s the intention. I think that’s really where they’re going with the character at least in the immediate future and for the rest of the season.

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Do you want Juliette to stay a Hexenbiest?

I think it’s pretty fun. I’ve had pretty crazy arcs for my character since season 1. [In] season 1, she was rather passive in order to serve the story with Nick kind of hiding everything from her. Then [in] season 2, she was in a comma and lost her memory and had this love triangle with Renard. In season 3, she finally found out and was able to kind of join the Grimm gang and that was a really fun season. But this has been…this sort of really changed everything. I was really thrilled when I saw the first script. We had no idea and I remember texting with the cat and everyone was like, “What? This is so crazy; what an awesome idea.” Going forward it’s adding a new element to the series for sure.

Why does Juliette stay with Nick and how will they get through this newest challenge?

Well I think the reason they’ve stayed together thus far is that there’s a lot of love there. It’s been one of the things in both of their lives that even though it’s sort of wreaked a lot of havoc, you always go back to home. I think he represents home for her and vice versa. They’ve so far kind of managed to get through everything together even if it’s been tough. So the initial question like how they’re going, obviously, how are they going to handle this because this is the craziest thing obviously they’ve had to deal with. Because the Hexenbiest are basically – they’re mortal enemies of the Grimms. They just want to kill them and vice versa, which is why Juliette took so long to tell him the truth because she was terrified, both that he would have a gut reaction and go after her and kill her.

Also it’s been made apparent to her by this point that she’s incredibly powerful—more so than Adalind or Renard who are both Hexenbiest could ever dream of being. She doesn’t know how to really control it yet. So if he started to attack her and she morphs into a Hexenbiest…could she kill him? So I think that makes sense. But really the question going forward [is] can they live like this or not. She’s kind of given up hope because she looks in the mirror and all she sees is this ugly monster. She hasn’t really embraced it yet. She’s like, “I can’t handle the way that you look at me when I look like this and this is what I am now.” Because we’ve tried and Juliette tried with Henrietta, and there seems to be no cure. That’s really the question going forward. It’s almost becoming like a Romeo and Juliette situation. Yes they’re in love, but they can’t really be together the way it is right now.

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How much do the writers shaare what is coming up?

That’s a really great question. Sometimes we know more and we have a little bit of a heads-up. Then sometimes, what I’ve found with the showrunners, Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, is that they’re really open to ideas and stuff. It’s very much a collaborative process. But a lot of the times stuff changes because the show moves pretty quickly. I mean the episode that’s airing [tonight] at 8 pm we shot in January. It’s already airing. They go on Facebook. They go on social media. They see the stuff that the fans really like. They’ll give them more of that. The Hexenbiest has been incredibly popular among the fans, so don’t expect that to be going anywhere anytime soon. Sometimes they sort of like seeing the cast reaction to crazy storylines. I remember nobody knew—was it season, maybe either the beginning of season 2 or season 3—whenever Hank found out, we were all like, “Wow that was early.” We didn’t know he was going to find out that early that Nick was going to tell him.

Then there have been a couple other storylines…the thing with Adalind being pregnant, that was another one that we…that happened honestly, part of the reason that happened is that Claire Coffee actually got pregnant. Bree Turner was pregnant season 2 and they shot around it. This time they were like are we really going to shot around another pregnancy? Or is this actually kind of a blessing in disguise and we could add a sort of new element to the show using her actual pregnancy? Sometimes stuff just pops up and they’re responding to it. But yes, the Hexenbiest thing I didn’t know about. The season finale for this season is the biggest game changer we have ever had. I mean people will lose their minds. There’s going to be gosh, I don’t know what I can say without giving it away other than yes, we’ve never done anything this big on the show before. So that’s going to really change everything going into season 5. The Juliette Hexenbiest storyline has a lot to do with that. The reality is going forward, you’re going to see a lot of the push-pull with psychologically wanting this power. It adds a really interesting element to the story for her to turn really, really dark.

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If you could be any Wesen which Wesen would you be?

I like the Wesen I am right now, that’s for sure. It’s fun getting to walk into these scenes and basically just kick ass. She has power over everyone. I mean she’s just stronger and faster and she could have easily killed Adalind if she wanted to. I don’t know that she was mentally prepared to do that yet. But so that’s always been really fun. Prior to becoming a Hexenbiest, my answer was always Mauvais Dentes which was the saber tooth tiger from season 2. Just because I like how sort of quiet and powerful and stealthy that character was. It always reminded me of that sort of viral YouTube video of the Ninja cat who, you turn the camera away and then it’s three feet closer to you. It’s just really spooky. So I used to say the Mauvais Dentes but right now I’m obviously really enjoying this storyline as the Hexenbiest.

Are there any chances for a Juliette pregnancy?

The previews going forward, there is…like I just said Claire Coffee is actually pregnant in real life and so they’re having her be pregnant on the show. So that’s the pregnancy going forward. As to whether or not the baby is going to have weird powers or how are you going to have like a Wesen-Grimm baby…that’s just going to be like the weirdest baby ever. But, yes that’s the pregnancy storyline going forward. Juliette is not pregnant.

Nick was seen kissing another woman and it feels like he and Juliette just can’t catch a break.

Well the whole thing with Nick kissing another woman you will kind of see what happens with that going forward. That might be a little bit of a red herring. No, I was just saying there’s no conflict in stability really. I don’t know that a stable, loving relationship makes for great television. It’s funny because the fans like constantly, until we actually did the Adalind and Juliette fight, that was the biggest thing everybody wanted was for Juliette to have it out with Adalind and kick some butt. So she did that and now all I’m really seeing is Nick and Juliette need to get married. They should just get married already. It’s kind of fun seeing the fans come to Juliette’s defense: well Nick better be understanding about this…look at how much he’s put her through. That’s been really fun for me. I’m like yes, he’s put her through so much. Like come on man, you’ve got to be understanding about this. At some point you hope. I don’t know that they’re planning on doing it anytime soon because the writers are having so much fun with this sort of darker character, but yes, I mean you would hope that at some point maybe they’ll get married and actually have like one day of rest.

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How big a role does Juliette have in the finale?

Everything. She is going to cause major, major problems for basically everyone involved. The reality is she misses Nick and she loves him. She just can’t imagine a way for them to be able to stay together under the circumstances. She’s been told by numerous people now there’s absolutely nothing she can do about it. So what else would you do? I mean you have to embrace your new life and she has to go forward with that. She is dead set on embracing it. She’s like if this is how it’s going to be then I might as well be the best Hexenbiest I can. There’s a darkness to that that’s going to seep into her veins. You’re not going to really see the sort of sweet, loving girlfriend that everybody’s gotten used to for the last few seasons.

Juliette is a dominant part of the group now. How has that changed your experience on the show?

Well I’ve always had a blast on the show and they’ve always given me interesting things to do. I think season 1 was probably the hardest for me because the character was so passive and everybody else was kind of running around doing fun stuff. But it also really served the storyline. Nick really needed to keep her in the dark because he was himself so in the dark about what it meant to be a Grimm and everything. Then season 2, I had this great arc of losing my memory and not remembering Nick and that whole storyline and then slowly season 3 kind of having the secret revealed and joining forces with the Scooby squad. That’s always really fun because those scenes are really fun to shoot. Because you have most of the cast together and everybody’s having a blast and chit-chatting in between scenes.

This has been really just cool because it’s the first time she’s had any sort of supernatural power. I personally have been having a blast with it and it’s nice that they’re sort of using Juliette who up to this point hasn’t been …she’s coming in and she’s adding all the fuel to the fire. It’s sort of centered around the havoc that she’s causing among the group. Especially going into season 5 of a TV show, you need to really kind revamp stuff a little bit. Keep it interesting. Have there be a game changer. There certainly is a massive game changer at the end of Season 4 in the finale.

Do you think the group will ever go outside of Portland?

I’m not sure about that. I can’t imagine that Grimm is really ever going to take place in any other city besides Portland. Portland is the perfect setting for this because the city in and of itself has not only these luscious forests, but there’s also a little bit of an eerie quality because the weather can be gray. You have these really thick forests and they get really dark during the day. Also the city has been so great to us and we love shooting here. We certainly haven’t run out of locations to shoot in. I think if anything you might see a little bit more of a storyline with one character maybe going off to Europe or something. But otherwise I would imagine it would be pretty centered in Portland still.

Do you see Juliette losing her humanity now that she’s a Hexenbiest?

I think that that’s…yes. I think the more that sort of evil takes hold inside her and she realizes that there’s really nothing she can do to get back to her normal life. Like I said before, she really needs to embrace it. This is not a human character anymore. She’s a witch. She is kind of a monster. But that’s her new reality. That’s the new normal for her, so to speak. Yes, I mean if we’re going to a really, really dark place then that is what it would entail.

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Is Juliette worried about reactions from Rosalee and Monroe in particular?

Yes for sure. I mean that’s something that’s going to be resolved and sort of played out through the rest of season 4. Initially of course, she has to do deal with Nick’s reaction. But yes. It’s scary. Her friends have known her to be one way all for this amount of time and then all of the sudden she’s…they’ve all, as a group, collectively basically been hating on Hexenbiest for years. Now she is one. She’s one of those people and the reality is too is that there’s probably a little bit of resentment because they did this to her. They asked her to do this for them because Rosalee and Monroe were coming under so much fire. In order to protect them, Nick needed to get his Grimm powers back. I mean the only way to do that was to use Juliette as a vessel and she agreed to do it. She would never have done that if she had known this would be the side effect. This was not something that she’s initially really excited about. That’s something that going forward is going to be pretty complicated.

What else can you tease about the season finale?

You haven’t seen the last of the Royals. There’s a new Royal who’s coming to town. Who’s kind of taking charge. So that’s a storyline that’s coming up. Obviously dealing with the whole Adalind being pregnant storyline is coming up. It’s definitely a big episode when there is a final reveal with Juliette and her friends and their reaction to that. It’s kind of about her going to the dark side going forward.

How much of the fights do you do yourself? Have you had to do any training?

I mean listen, I workout. I’m an actress I have to stay in shape anyway. The hardest physical stuff I’ve ever done myself was in a couple of episodes last season, I think nine and ten where Juliette has a friend, Alicia, in town who’s being abused by her husband, then the husband shows up and knocks Nick out. Juliette has to jump in. In that scene, I did a lot of my stunts. I’m sure I would be asked to do more stunts, but the reality is when Juliette is doing most of the physical stuff, she’s morphed. That’s usually why they bring a double in who has the prosthetics on her face…. If they wanted to get the character…I know David’s training constantly since he has the bulk of the physical stuff on the show. So he’s staying strong and active for that…but going forward if the character is having a lot more action to do, I probably would start doing more strength training as well. But we have a really awesome stunt coordinator. He’s been nominated for Emmys twice for Grimm. There’s a lot of rehearsal. We’ll kind of start out doing something and then our stunt doubles will step in and finish the scene.

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How is Juliette going get kind of control of her Hexenbiest power?

That’s sort of an issue of time for her. It’s not like all of the sudden she’s overtaken by evil. I think it’s like this slow […] it’s a very slow process of like gradually losing the human side and becoming more and more of a Hexenbiest. She’s tried to turn to Henrietta [for help]. That didn’t yield anything, the same thing for Renard. And the more she’s told there is nothing they can do then, the more she’s, you know, she doesn’t really have anyone to go to. She’s definitely going to be finding herself ostracized to an extent. And that might make her mad.

What emotional impact does this all have on Juliette?

Yes for sure. Yes, I can’t really give anything away but it’s enough to tease that going forward this is not something that has an easy resolution.

Was it jarring to transform into Hexenbiest Juliette?

I would say it was pretty jarring, because the first time it happens she just sort of innocently, she’s been getting these headaches and stomach aches. She’s like, “I don’t know if I’m pregnant” and then she morphs. It’s incredibly scary for her. She had no idea what was going on. She thought she was going crazy. Every time it happens she has this sort of like sudden rush of just power and violence and she’s killed a couple of people. Dealing with the aftermath of that I think is slightly…because the two people that she’s killed so far were people who were trying to kill her. So there’s a little bit of like wow I was really able to defend myself. That’s kind of great but also I just killed two people and that’s insane and that’s crazy and I’ve never done that before. I don’t think it’s something that’s sort of until she starts to embrace it and learn how to control it more it’s very jarring every time it happens for her and then to sort of de-morph and kind of be human again. I don’t think it’s really intended like because she was…the big thing is she was made a Hexenbiest. She wasn’t born that way. It’s probably fluid for all the rest of the Wesen, for them to morph and to creature out or whatever. But this is the first time this happened to her. So I’ve never chosen to play it in a way where it should be really smooth. It should be a little disconcerting every single time.

Did you ever anticipate when you first started as Juliette that she may become such a violent character?

It’s a really good question. At one point I remember saying, she needs to – it would be so cool if they made her either super, super evil or like super, super good and able to protect Nick. I was thinking like maybe she’s been secretly protecting Nick all this time. Either that or like wouldn’t it be so cool if actually she has been evil all this time. We know she hasn’t been evil all this time. It’s something that happened. But I think it’s a really, really smart way to take the series going forward into season 5. To have this character who we’ve all come to know and love as being sweet and helpful and the just turning it on its head.

How do you see your character being a strong female role model?

I think so far she’s been…less so in season 1 when the storyline sort of necessitated her being slightly more passive. Being someone who is capable of holding her own, who is capable of learning this life changing secret from her man and just realize okay, there’s nothing we can’t do together. I can handle this. I’m going to help you in whatever way, shape or form I can. And also really, she’s contributed a lot to solving these cases. There’s been a lot of fun scenes especially in season 3 where she was really into doing all this research and helping out with the whole veterinarian skills going forward. As the Hexenbiest, I hope nobody really like tries to do anything that Juliette’s doing as a Hexenbiest. But it’s always nice to have a very powerful female character whether I think whether for good or evil. To just have someone who is very much in control. Who is not relying on anybody else for anything. That’s one of the differences between Adalind and Juliette; Adalind was really reliant on the Royals and was sleeping around and stuff. The Hexenbiest are very sort of sexy witches. Everything that goes forward is going to be on her terms. So even if it’s evil like she’s doing it on her terms nd she’s in control of the situation. She’s doing what she wants to do when she wants to do it.