If you’ve seen the teaser trailer for Grimm season five episode seven, you know Bitsie Tulloch is definitely back – but as a new character. The final season five episode of Grimm that aired before the series went on its winter break provided a brief glimpse of Tulloch’s new character, Eve, sporting a platinum wig, incredibly strong, and on the scene to save Nick (David Giuntoli) from a Wesen attack. Season five returns on January 29, 2016 with an episode titled ‘Eve of Destruction,’ a title that confirms Tulloch will play a major role in the second half of the season.
Tulloch, who is very active on social media, admitted during a conference call with journalists that it was really difficult to keep the fact that while Juliette’s role in Grimm is finished, she’s not done with the show. Tulloch also explained what it’s been like developing Eve and how the new character will be involved in the plot moving forward.
Bitsie Tulloch Interview:
Your character started out sweet and nice. How do you like how your character’s developing and changing and growing more powerful?
Bitsie Tulloch: “Well, if you really track from Season 1 to Season 5, I feel really blessed because how often do you really get to play multiple characters on the same TV show? […]Eve to me is really the third because there was like good, sweet Juliette. Then there was dark Hexenbiest Juliette. And now there’s been, you know, a rebirth of sorts and we have an entirely new character. So, that’s always been exciting. I’ve definitely been grateful to the writers because you know there’s something to be said for getting to know a character so well but it’s also fun to play around and experiment. So, I was really thrilled about the Hexenbiest storyline just because Juliette had been so consistently good and thoughtful and helpful for so long that I thought if anyone’s going to turn and be so bad and so evil and so powerful, it should be her. So, that was really exciting for me.
And then I will definitely admit that I had a little bit of mixed feelings when the producers called me in March and they said, ‘This is our idea going to Season 5,’ because it was hard to say goodbye to Juliette. You know, by that point I had played her in various iterations, whether good or bad, for four years. So I knew I was going to miss her and I knew it was going to be hard to say goodbye to her. But, I’m having a blast with this new character, Eve. It’s really fun.
I got to do a lot of research. They were saying you have to watch the Luc Besson’s Nikita for inspiration. And then, as you know I was filming Season 5, obviously privately because no one was allowed to talk about it. My name was even changed on the cast sheet and everything so that [no one] would even know it was me. They were great about it. There were lots of layers to keeping the secret. Certain directors were coming on Season 5 and they’d be like, ‘Oh my god, you have to watch this.’ David Strathairn came on and said, ‘You have to watch Hanna with Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana. Watch [Saoirse Ronan’s] performance,’ so I was watching that. And then I also was sort of pulling some inspiration from Alicia Vikander’s performance in Ex Machina. It’s just been really fun, the new character.”
Were there any challenges physically or mentally to get into this character?
Bitsie Tulloch: “Definitely because for me personally, like I said, it was hard to let go of Juliette because everybody else is still playing their same character. So I’m working with actors who I’m used to being in this world with them and relating to them in this other character a certain way. I had to brush all of that aside.
Physically, there was a tremendous amount of not only did I spend a lot of time… I was actually only off for four episodes. I started training way more heavily than I have before just to get really strong and eating a lot of protein. But in order to really sell that this is a new character, I had to do something physical. It couldn’t just be the dialogue is different or she’s dressed differently or she’s wearing wigs. All of that is true. Which is why certain performances like the Ex Machina performance, I was like, ‘Al right, I’m going to steal some of those robotic motions of hers,’ because the new character Eve is basically I don’t want to say brainwashed because she hasn’t been brainwashed but she almost was broken. Hadrian’s Wall knew how powerful she was and kidnapped her. You know, Trubel shot her with what we now know are tranquilizer darts and basically broke her down and turned her into like a fighting machine. So keeping that in mind, that’s one thing that the new character’s like going forward.
And then psychologically for her to really, truly feel like I’m a new person and Juliette is dead and I’m not Juliette – ‘You’re talking about somebody else, not me’ – it was really about having a complete disconnect from her old life and not even letting even a glimmer of emotion or anything like that, anything from her old life trigger her going forward.”
Does she have residual feelings from her past life? Are we going to find out that she still does care about Nick? Is there going to be anything there at all?
Bitsie Tulloch: “Right now, her primary focus is getting the job done. And you know there’s an episode coming up where she has kind of a heart to heart with Nick. I believe it’s in previews so I don’t think I’m going anything away. But she’s saying like this was the only reason she had to live, because she was so powerful and so out of control and basically did not know how to reign in this the Hexenbiest powers. Hadrian’s Wall has given her an outlet and taught her how to do that. She’s so scared of even digressing even the slightest bit or devolving back into the evil Juliette, that she just couldn’t be more focused on being controlled and really just getting that job done. And, obviously, Hadrian’s Wall is a powerful and positive group that’s basically formed in response to battling Black Claw, which is like the big huge uprising that’s starting to happen.”
What do you think about the fan reaction over the past year or so where you had people go from rooting for your character to rooting against your character?
Bitsie Tulloch: “To be honest with you, in a sense the character was always a little bit polarizing. So, with the exception of Season 2 and Season 3 when she was [part of the gang] which is predictable because you people are fans of the show and they want Nick and they want the protagonists to be winning. Season 1, because she had to be kept in the dark, Juliette was a little bit of a passive character. I think that some people were irked by that. And then Season 2 and Season 3, everyone was loving it. It was the Scooby Gang and it was heavenly and everyone was involved in helping out. But, going forward to keep a show alive and to keep the fans engaged, you have to really shake stuff up and quite possibly piss people off.
I just sort of understood that going forward that there almost needed to be a greater antagonist than there had been thus far. And what better antagonist do you have than the women who is the love of his life who he trusts implicitly be the one who’s now basically out for blood involved in the death of his mother and whatnot? So I certainly didn’t expect anybody to be happy about it, and they weren’t. I was really happy to see that people were really in the four episodes that I wasn’t in that people were really missing Juliette. They were like, ‘Yes, I was so angry, but I miss her. And it doesn’t feel like the same show without her.’
Again, Juliette’s not coming back anytime soon. You know, I think it remains to be seen whether or not she does start to develop feelings for Nick. It is TV. She did love him for a long time. Right now, like I said, she’s more focused on the work stuff. But, I have seen nothing but like pretty much overwhelmingly positive and excited fans reactions to me still being a part of the show and excited to see what the new character’s like.
I know it was a bummer for everybody that we had such a long break in between the fall finale and coming back this Friday, but I think it’s going to be worth it. And, yes, it’s just a fun character and seeing how over the next few five or six episodes, she’s going to gradually be meeting her old friends. Everybody responds differently to this new Eve character.”
Did you know that you were only going to have a short break from the show when you initially found out about Juliette’s fate?
Bitsie Tulloch: “Yes. Actually, it was supposed to be even shorter. Initially, there was supposed to be this dream sequence in the first episode back when Nick is dreaming of the funeral. But then he realized it’s a dream. So then it’s like this big question. Where’s the body? Where’s the body? And I know one of the producers had wanted me back on Episode 3. But I think it was ultimately decided that if they were really going to sell this and really have fun with this, really convince the fans that Juliette was off the show and I wasn’t coming back, they wanted to extend it a little longer. Not too long. So, I came back in 6 and I did film certain scenes for Episode 1. It was basically 2 through 5 that I was out for. But, it was never supposed to be longer than Episode 6. If anything, it was going to be shorter. It felt like, I will say too, it felt like a lot longer for me and I think for the cast because all of us sort of had a hard time not being able to talk about it. It was decided that I wasn’t going to go to Comic Con this year, which I was bummed about because I love Comic Con. I love the panel. I love seeing all the fans. But also it just would have been too obvious, I think, that I might be coming back to the show if I had gone to Comic Con. So that was the situation where it’s like I just had to take one for the team and stay in Portland.
But, yes, really not talking about it there were a lot of sort of fun, clever things we had to do including me almost exclusively filming on the stages so that I can be hidden in case somebody’s taking photos of me out in Portland shooting. So it was a lot of stage work.”
You’re pretty active on Twitter and interacting with fans so what were some of the challenges in keeping that from the fans?
Bitsie Tulloch: “Well, the Season 4 finale was in May so it was almost seven months of having to and probably of any cast member, I’m the most active on social media. I love interacting with the fans on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. So it felt like what I would say very pointedly is Juliette is dead because she effectively is. But I never said, ‘I’m not coming back on Grimm, because I didn’t want to flat out lie. I would say, ‘I know. It’s such a bummer, but yes, Juliette’s not coming back,’ knowing what was happening.
I also love to always Tweet behind the scenes photos while I’m on set of cool stuff that’s going on. So it was about seven months of when I did post a photo, I would say I was visiting someone on set. Like, ‘Oh, visiting David.’ One of the things that actually sort of saved us in a huge respect is the fact that I’m dating David Giuntoli in real life too. So a lot of people just assumed when they would see me out and about in Portland or knowing that I was still in Portland, they just assumed that I was still there because I was dating David, not because I was filming.
Like I said earlier, on the scripts typically it would say ‘Juliette – Bitsie Tulloch’ in third position. And when this new character came about we had to basically come up with an alias which was my legal first and middle name which is Elizabeth Andrea. They bumped me down to like positon 10 or something so nobody would guess that it was me in case somebody got a hold of the script or someone recycled the script and someone saw it, and also so that background actors or guest stars wouldn’t know that I was still on the show. They were really being tight-lipped about it. My cast chair was taken away with my name on it. I have a sign on trailer door saying to please shut the door behind you because Henry, my dog, always goes to work with me and I don’t want him getting out. It was like, ‘Love, Bitsie and Henry,’ and that got blacked out. I mean, there was no sign of my name anywhere so everybody was really taking it seriously. I know the crew had a sit down at the beginning of the season being like, ‘This is serious. We do not want the secret getting out.’
There was a lot of confusion with the first few directors. Aaron Lipstadt in particular because he would call me Elizabeth, Juliette, Eve, Bitsie. He would basically run through a variety of names before he’d be like, ‘I don’t know. Just come here.’ So, yes, it was tough. The hardest thing for me was definitely not interacting with the fans as much.”
Do you have a favorite quality from Juliette and from Eve?
Bitsie Tulloch: “I would say Eve is just so laser-focused and just nothing can sort of get her off her mission which is to accomplish basically eradicating Black Claw. That’s why in her head, she’s like, ‘That’s the only reason I’m alive right now and why I’m not wreaking havoc and destruction upon people I love. I’m going to focus everything.’ So, she’s incredibly focused.
It’s definitely probably a little harder to pick out a quality that I really loved about evil Juliette other than I guess I sort of respect just how almost like maniacal she was and open about it. And just sort of towards the end, when you see this evolution, because the very beginning she was really fighting it. She didn’t want it. And then towards the end, it’s like, ‘Well, I can’t control it so I might as well embrace it.’ It was almost like kind of flying your freak flag sort of a thing. It was what it was and she was like, ‘This is who I am now. I’ve tried my best to get rid of it. I don’t know how. Done. This is who I am. And I’m going to embrace the new me.’
And then with Juliette, I always really liked her because she was so well-intentioned and so thoughtful and really just so in love with Nick and had really made a lot of sacrifices for him. Obviously, numerous sacrifices by choosing to stay with him and live with him and you know basically being in constant danger.”
Do you think Adalind becoming pregnant with Nick’s child helped Juliette to go in the direction she went?
Bitsie Tulloch: “She was already kind of heading in a dark direction anyway. But no, I think ultimately Juliette was like, ‘That should have been my baby.’ And also it raises a lot of sort of moral questions which is that Nick did not know he was sleeping with Adalind when she got pregnant. He thought he was sleeping with Juliette. That’s a question that I’ve actually seen a lot of fans raising on Twitter and Facebook. Like, does he have to take care of this baby? He didn’t know. But, I think you know the new character, Eve, does not have an emotional attachment to the baby or to Adalind. But Juliette in that moment, did it send her spiraling downward further? Yes. I’m sure it did. But she was on that trajectory anyway.”
How hard is it to remain in that robotic state, not react differently than you would have as Juliette in certain scenes?
Bitsie Tulloch: “Eve has interacted with almost everyone and everybody has sort of had different reactions to her. I guess honestly the answer is when I’m in character, it’s not that hard because like I said earlier, she is just so focused. And it almost feels like you know with Nick, there’s maybe just the tiniest little tug. But she’s not even going to go there. She’s not even going to let her mind go there or her heart go there because she’s like, ‘I’m a new person. Juliette is dead and I’m really just here to get this job done. End of story.’
You know, it’s a real fun. We’re always goofing around and the cast is really close, so it’s always a little funny when we go from like sitting in the green room and everyone’s messing around to all of a sudden I’m kind of like, ‘Nobody talk to me. I need to be focused.’ I’ll pull myself away a little bit before I start a scene, reminding myself, ‘I’m not part of this gang anymore. I’m a new person and I just have to get the job done.'”
How did the producers break it to you back in March that your character was dying but not dying?
Bitsie Tulloch: “There’s kind of a funny story because I, in particular, I’m close with a lot of the crew. And at various points over the proceeding four years, I would like call the producers and say, ‘Well, where are we going with this storyline?’ And they’re like, ‘How do you know about that?’ I would say, ‘Well, I’m not telling who, but somebody told me.’ I had certain members of the crew who would just like flat out tell me because they will see an outline for an episode before the cast sees the script. So what ended up happening is the producers were releasing the outline to the crew and the production crew up in Portland that afternoon. The conversation went down in March. They’re releasing an outline and they had to call me because they knew the second the crew got a hold of that outline that they were going to be telling me, calling me and being like, ‘Juliette dies. Do you actually die? Are you off the show?’ And they didn’t want me to think at any point that I was actually dead.
They called me and they said, ‘Just so you know, we know that you’re friends with everyone and so they’re probably going to tell you, you’re going to get called. But we’re releasing an outline today where Juliette dies. But don’t worry, you know you’re not off the show. Our idea is that you’re going to be reborn and sort of reworked into a Nikita-like character.’ That’s how that conversation went down, and then it was fine. I was just curious to read about the new character and what she was going to be like.”