As the final episodes of NBC's Grimm air, it's going to be a bumpy but satisfying ride, said actress Claire Coffee in an exclusive interview with Syfy Wire. Her witch-like Hexenbiest character, Adalind Schade, and the other characters will be "tested" in the most "extreme" ways, she promised.
Coffee (Franklin & Bash, The West Wing) chatted with us about the final episodes, playing evil and the point she thinks she did a bad job as an actress on the show.
As much as you can tell us, what do we have to look forward to with these last few episodes when it comes to Adalind and the show in general?
Claire Coffee: I think it's a very satisfying conclusion, and things are going to get a whole hell of a lot worse before they get better. When it comes to skull guy and the evil that's lurking in Portland right now, everyone is going to be tested to their absolute extreme. But the resolve and the conclusion is very satisfying, and Jim [Kouf] and David [Greenwalt] really did right by the show and by all these characters.
Your character has been through such an evolution. For you what has it been like living with Adalind for all these years?
It's only on reflection that I can have a sense of the scope of the changes that are going on ... We knew so little from the writers in advance of what was happening. It really was just taking everything day to day. So in that way I'd be like, "Okay this week I've been kept in a dungeon in Vienna. Okay, great!" And then next week, "I'm in the loft." But it was incredibly enjoyable. Definitely it keeps you on your toes for sure. But to be reinventing a character on the same show for six years is a gift.
You were the first one that Nick saw woge in the pilot, and she tried to kill Nick's aunt. Adalind was evil for a long time and now she's not. She lost her Hexenbiest and then she got it back again. She's in a relationship with Nick and is the mom of two magical kids. What's it been like to play her as an actress?
For me when I was kind of playing or just going through it, she was initially full Hexenbiest. She really didn't have any humanity in her. She was trying to do the best job that she could possibly do. She was working for the dark side, so the best job is death and destruction. That's the best job she would do is killing people. She thought she was doing a great job at that, which she was. I think once she lost that Hexenbiest side and became a human, it was only then that she could start letting in those human emotions and feeling sympathy and empathy and remorse and all of that. So it was really going from a two-dimensional character to playing a three-dimensional character and how that changes everything.
You had a child while on the show. How did that affect things for you?
Yes, got married, had a child. All of that while on Grimm. I was pregnant in real life once and pregnant on the show twice ... I wish I had been able to be pregnant in real life before being pregnant on the show, because I feel like I did terrible acting pregnant. Before I had a baby and after having a baby, there is nothing that prepares you for that. You just have to live through it to know what it feels like.
What's been your biggest challenge as you've gone through Adalind's journey?
In a very simple way, I went back to work when my own real-life baby was two months old. So that was incredibly challenging. From a work perspective that was really, really hard. Luckily that was during Season 5 and at that point everyone really was a family. We were all family from the beginning. I was incredibly well-supported when it came to the crew and all that. But it was just a very emotionally challenging time ... It was rough.
What's surprised you most about your experience on Grimm?
For sure the surprise is just how close I would become with everyone. I mean that's the thing that we're all going through right now, being let back out into the world. We're all over the place. We're not in the same city any more. And so to be without that family and that support system is really hard and I think that's the most surprising thing. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be able to work with people like that, that we'd all get along so well. We'd all be on the same page from Day 1 pretty much. And just what a family we would grow into ... For us it was positive and it's been awesome and it's so sad to not have that anymore.
What is the one storyline that you wish could have been played out more in the series?
Maybe it would have been interesting to delve into the royal family in the end a little bit more. We lost James Frain due to scheduling conflicts and got Alexis Denisof, who was awesome too. The Princes, I would have liked to get further into their lives and the monarchy and how that all worked and how that all started. That would have been interesting. That would have required a spin-off probably because of the complexity there (laughs) ... And I'm sure everyone is very sad that we won't get to meet Monroe and Rosalee's children. That's definitely sad. I wish you could have seen all that.
As an actress, what has that been like for you to see how this is all wrapped up?
It wasn't until we were shooting the very last episode and only because we had these insane snow storms -- two big snow storms that hit Portland, record breaking levels of snow -- that put production on hold for two weeks. It was an intense couple of weeks because we didn't know when we were going to finish so I think everybody emotionally felt like, "Okay, I can prepare for my last day emotionally and know when it's coming and I'll be able to mourn the loss of the show on a schedule." And it just didn't happen that way because we just kept getting postponed and work days were getting rejiggered around and I was moving at the end of it and so it was total chaos. When it got to my actual last day, I didn't even really know that it was my last day until halfway through. So my last scene, I thought I was going to be cool and really wish everyone well. I just totally broke down and was a mess. It was an emotional roller coaster, to put it lightly.
What's next for you?
I have no idea. I'm trying to get a job, as we all are. We're all out there pounding the pavement once again. We will see.
Would you like to do another series?
I just want to work. I want to work with good people. That's the bottom line.
It's such a fascinating ride from a viewer standpoint to see where the show has gone and how every character has evolved.
That's what's so great about the fantasy genre is you can keep reinventing the rules and you can keep throwing just wild and wonderful situations and environments of these characters to see how they will fair and it's so fun.
Why should someone check out Grimm if they haven't up to this point?
I think because these characters are worth it. If you follow the show from the beginning it's such an entertaining ride to go on with these folks.
Grimm airs on Fridays at 8PM on NBC. Here's a look at tonight's episode.