'Grimm'’s Bitsie Tulloch on Her New Identity (and How She Kept it a Secret)
Fans of NBC’s Grimm got a wickedly wonderful shock last month when Juliette Silverton—the supposedly dead heroine-turned-Hexenbiest played by Bitsie Tulloch—suddenly showed up in Portland looking very much alive. When the series returns Friday, Jan. 29, we find out that Juliette is now known as Eve and is operating as a hyper-powered war machine for Hadrian’s Wall, the government agency that’s battling the Wesen terrorist group known as Black Claw. Tulloch gave us the juicy lowdown on her new alter ego and how her real-life romance with co-star David Giuntoli (Nick) helped her keep Eve a secret.
Let’s cut right to the important question: How do you like being a platinum blond?
It’s so great, but you’re going to see many more looks for Eve. [Laughs] This gal owns a lotta wigs! When she’s outside of her underground compound where she sleeps and works, she needs to be incognito because she’s still in Portland and knows people there. She can’t risk being recognized. She’s got a black wig that’s really fun, and a hot pink one. Now I’m trying to sell the producers on a blue wig. In next week’s episode, you’ll get to see Eve’s room and all her various getups. [Laughs] I love it!
So Eve has free will to make her own decisions and do her own thing? Or is Hadrian’s Wall guiding her?
She certainly has a lot of autonomy. Here’s what happened: Juliette was completely out of control in her Hexenbiest mode and Hadrian’s Wall got wind of her incredible power. They’re thinking, “If we could break her and train her, she’d be a massive asset for us!” So she was kidnapped and broken into submission. And it was exactly what Juliette needed. In one of the upcoming episodes, Eve says to Nick, “This is my reason to live.” Until the end of Season 4, Juliette had this need to fight her inner demon and go back to the way she was. Now, as Eve, she wants nothing to do with her former life. She has to be laser-focused on getting a job done on behalf of a very good cause. She wants very little contact or interaction with anyone.
She’s still technically a Hexenbiest, right?
Yes. She’s a three-layered character at this point. But now she’s a different kind of Hexenbiest. You can tell the difference when she morphs. I make sure that when I morph as Eve, it’s very different from Juliette’s morph, which was always so wild and crazy and unruly that I’d get a neck ache whenever I’d do it. [Laughs] I’d flail my head so much that we always had to reshoot the scene because my hair would get caught up in my lip gloss. But Eve’s morph is very smooth, very controlled. And she’s still Juliette, in her flesh and blood and DNA. But as much as Eve has been broken into submission, Hadrian’s Wall is well aware that she is the most powerful thing in their arsenal, more powerful than any piece of technology they have. Eve can bend walls, plus she’s very powerful psychologically. There’s a fun scene coming up where you’re watching her train, but not in the way that human beings train. It’s very much a mental training, and it’s pretty scary.
Is Eve a prototype or are there others like her in the Hadrian’s Wall world?
Hmm…jeez…good question. I really don’t know. It seems by the way it’s written that even Hadrian’s Wall is going, “Yikes! What have we done?” [Laughs] She’s almost too powerful, but that leads to some funny stuff. At one point all of Hadrian’s Wall is off on a mission and the only one who is actually getting stuff done is Eve.
Sounds like she has the potential to go rogue.
Totally. I don’t think she will anytime soon but she’s certainly holding the cards in this scenario. I keep remembering that Juliette almost wanted to die in last season’s finale. When Nick was choking her, she was like, “Just do it! Kill me! I can’t live like this anymore!”
All this is happening just as Nick and Adalind [Claire Coffee] are growing closer. Are you saying Eve won’t give a damn about their blossoming romance once she gets wind of it?
Eve doesn’t care. She doesn’t want to think about Nick in a romantic way. To her, Juliette is like another person altogether. Someone who died. But Juliette would be absolutely livid about Adalind and the baby. She’d be thinking, “That should be my baby!” But Eve does not view Nick as hers anymore. She doesn’t want him in her life. [Laughs] He’ s old news! What’s funny is that I’m seeing on social media that the audience is increasingly OK with Nick and Adalind being together, but I think the baby has a lot to do with it. They’re like, “If they share a child they should be together—for the baby’s sake. Do what’s best for the baby!” And that proves what I’ve always known: We have very sweet fans.
Are you certain she feels nothing for Nick? Because it sure feels like there’s still a little sumpin’ sumpin’ going on there.
Well, that’s the fun as we go forward. Will she gradually admit that maybe she still has feelings for Nick? Right now she’s all about protecting him—not because she’s in love with him but because he’s a major asset to Hadrian’s Wall. But I will confess that I’ve chosen, as an actress, to insert a little beat here and there that hints at something more. For example, Eve might hold Nick’s gaze for an extra second or two. But there’s nothing friendly about her and when she has to meet with him it’s strictly to give him information or to let him in on a mission she’s about to go on so he can be helpful to her. It’s not about Nick. [Laughs] It’s all about Eve!
Grimm did a spectacular job keeping your return a secret. Maybe you folks should give Game of Thrones a lesson in how to protect plot spoilers.
It was definitely tough keeping it all quiet. There were about seven months where I was not able to talk about the show which was hard for me, because I’m big on social media. I was always the one tweeting photos from behind the scenes and live tweeting the episodes. So I had to be very wily. There were layers upon layers of protection. I was listed in the scripts under my legal name, Elizabeth Andrea. We hid it from the background actors and guest stars. We shot my scenes on the soundstage, not on the streets of Portland where fans might come by and spot me. My cast chair was taken away. My bio was taken off the NBC website. I wasn’t allowed to go to Comic-Con. The producers made it seriously clear that we had to keep the surprise!
Were you concerned that it might appear you’d been fired?
Well, no, because I’m not a diva. I don’t have that reputation. But I also had roles in a couple of movies that were coming out [including Concussion, opposite Will Smith]. People would ask, “So why are you off the show?” And I could honestly say, “I’ve been doing movies” and let them think that was the reason. It also helped that I’m in a relationship with David Giuntoli, so when fans would run into us on a date in Portland they would think I was still living there because my boyfriend lives there. It would have been way harder to keep it a secret if I wasn’t dating David. I love the fans so much that I never wanted to be flat-out dishonest, so I’d say, “Juliette is not coming back, guys. I’m bummed, too! Sorry.” [Laughs] So it wasn’t exactly a lie, right? It was more of a deflection.
Grimm returns Friday, Jan. 29, 9/8c, NBC