Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni
How fitting is it that Bitsie Tulloch changed her name back to Elizabeth?
This is an actress, after all, who has starred on "Grimm" as good Juliette, evil Juliette the Hexenbiest, Eve the [email protected], and now a hybrid of original Juliette and Eve.
What's another name change?
If anyone can handle transition, it's Tulloch.
The actor has been asked to play entirely different versions of the character she signed on to portray more than a half-decade ago. She began as a mild-mannered veterinarian and girlfriend of the protagonist, Portland Det./Grimm Nick Burkhardt -- essentially an afterthought in the series pilot.
But by the end of season four, Tulloch was a major player in the storyline. Juliette turned into a vile, wicked villain, and fought Nick to the death (her own ... sort of). A handful of episodes into season five, Tulloch returned, this time as Eve. She sported a blonde wig -- and some wickedly awesome powers -- as she turned the tables on Portland's Black Claw.
Now, as "Grimm" concludes its sixth and final season, Tulloch is playing an amalgam of Juliette and Eve. Almost halfway through the story, fans are wondering if she'll return to being Juliette, or remain Eve. If it's the former, will Nick and Juliette reunite -- or has Nick found his true love with Adalind? Will we see yet another version of Juliette/Eve before all is said and done?
In a recent phone interview, Tulloch wasn't offering any clues, but she did shed some light on the changes in her own life. The actor is engaged to co-star David Giuntoli, about to get married, and Tulloch just wrapped the final scenes of a show she joined not long after turning 30.
What follows is a BTS Q&A with Bitsie -- make that Elizabeth -- Tulloch.
"Grimm": Elizabeth (Bitsie) Tulloch as Juliette Silverton, above, and as Eve. (NBC photos by Chris Haston and Scott Green)
Q: I think the burning questions fans have are when and why Bitsie returned to being Elizabeth?
Bitsie: (Laughs) I know! I've seen that a lot. You know, honestly, I -- when I started acting, I was 25. Elizabeth is my legal name -- it's my birth name -- and Bitsie was my grandfather's nickname. And I still go by Bitsie. I still introduce myself as Bitsie to people I meet. But, it sort of worked when I was in my mid-20s and I was just starting acting. And now I'm in my mid-30s, and I felt like, for billing purposes, I wanted to go back to Elizabeth.
I was doing a movie this summer in Utah, and it actually hadn't even occurred to me. And the producer was, like, "Hey, we noticed it's Elizabeth when we were filling out your legal papers. Is that the way you want billing?" And I just thought about it, and I called my agent and my manager, and they were like, "Yeah, you know, that's not a bad idea. You are older now. And Bitsie is, obviously, a very kind of cute name. It's cutesy."
So, that's really all it was about. It's not like I introduce myself as Elizabeth now. It's just for billing, going forward.
Q: I guess it's kind of appropriate, right? I have a big high school reunion this year, and I've been thinking about how the final year felt. I'm guessing that's sort of how it feels to be on the "Grimm" set these days. It's sort of like you're graduating -- and now here you are changing your name. How has it felt filming the last batch of episodes?
Bitsie: Yeah, it's funny that you mention that, actually, because David and I were talking about how we were -- I had just turned 30. I was the youngest one. I am the youngest one of the series regulars. I think David's older than me by six months. Being a 30-year-old versus, I just turned 36 two days ago, having this be six years of your life. David and I were just saying ... we definitely still felt like we were in our 20s when we started "Grimm," and now we're getting married soon, and we have mortgages, and we want to have a family, and we're grownups.
And also I gave a speech my last day on set, which was this Monday, to the crew, and I was saying everybody just really feels like a family. Partly because we were all on location together, and we're in a new city. We were all transplants from L.A. And then you get to know the crew. And people have gotten married; people passed away; people got engaged; people got divorced; people had babies on the show, because we were there for so long. And so, it was definitely really hard to say goodbye to people who were not just coworkers -- who were friends and family. They feel like family to me.
This cast, in particular, is very tight. The first year of the show, I went to Italy with Sasha and some friends. We go to Montana once a year, to our producer's ranch there. Everybody goes. And I don't really see that level of closeness that often. And I think a lot of that had to do with being on location. Also it probably had a lot to do with the fact that all of the series regulars were relatively close in age.
It's been bittersweet.
Pictured at the "Grimm Gala," from left: Danny Bruno, Sasha Roiz, Claire Coffee, Russell Hornsby, David Giuntoli, Bitsie Tulloch, Silas Weir Mitchell, Jacqueline Toboni, Reggie Lee and Bree Turner. (NBC photo by Anthony Pidgeon)
Q: Obviously, you guys all knew going into this season that it would be the last. I'm sure it will be a great race to the finish. A lot of shows don't get that opportunity these days. Is there solace in that fact? Is there solace knowing you guys can go out the way you want to go out, as opposed to it just being, "Are we going to get picked up or not?"
Bitsie: Oh, absolutely. I was at the NBC TCAs this past Wednesday, just a couple days ago, and I was saying to Bob Greenblatt, who's the head of NBC, just how grateful we are, because they could have, theoretically, just cancelled it after the fifth season. And it felt like this shorter season six was -- it almost felt like a thank you to the fans for being so supportive of us all these years.
And they can go out (properly). You know, the writers went into this season knowing that they had to wrap it up.
Q: When I've spoken to you on calls in the past, you've always taken pride in your understanding of your now multiple characters on this show, and knowing what works best. What have you enjoyed about being Juliette, about being Eve, about being this new hybrid we're seeing now, and the way in which you've been able to collaborate with the writers and the showrunners to bring her to life?
Bitsie: Well, I guess it's unusual. ... In some respects, it's kind of an actor's dream to be able to play a lot of different characters. Obviously, you want to go and test yourself, and test your boundaries and your limits and everything. And so, I really look at it as they've given me four characters: They gave me the sort of sweet, perhaps naïve Juliette; and then Hexenbiest Juliette; and then Eve; and now the hybrid.
They all had (benefits). I had a lot of fun playing the Hexenbiest Juliette, because it was such a departure from the sweet Juliette who, by that point, I had been playing for three years. So, to just be -- I mean, it was also kind of unusual on set, like with Bree and Silas and David, you know, we had all been this sort of "Scooby Squad." And then she comes in and she's like hurting everyone. That was just kind of an interesting dynamic, and it took everyone a little while to get use to.
And the same goes for Eve. Because nobody really knew what I was going to do with the character. I mean, (Juliette) kind of like disappears. The fans -- everyone thinks she's dead. And then I came back (as Eve), and I remember Silas was like, "Whoa!" The first scene he had with me, because none of the cast knew what I was planning on -- how I was going to create this new character, Eve. They knew that she was going to be this sort of femme fatale, robotic, "Nikita"-like character. That was sort of bizarre and took some getting used to.
That was a blast, too. I had never really played a character that was so controlled, and I really had to think about things that I had never had to think about before -- just, like, economy of willfulness. And she chooses her words wisely, if she's going to talk at all, and she doesn't waste energy. And she was constantly aware of any kind of threat. So that was interesting.
And I quite like the hybrid character, too, because it feels like the best of both worlds, to an extent. She's very protective and she wants to help out now, and make amends for all the pain she caused. And she has feelings for her friends again, but also wants to protect them. She wants to use her powers for good.
Jacqueline Toboni as Trubel and Bitsie Tulloch as Eve on NBC's "Grimm." (NBC photo by Scott Green)
Q: So, I have a theory. And I don't know how the role was explained to you when you signed on for the series, but my guess is that they probably didn't think that you would be this essential to the storyline when they first started out. And my theory is that, because of the quality of your work, and the reaction of the fans to all of the different things that you've done, they wanted to see more of you. And that's why you've been so integral to this storyline. If that's the case, what does that mean to you, to have that level of support and trust from the fans and from the writers?
Bitsie: Well, you know, I read an interview that ("Grimm" co-creator) David Greenwalt did that was so kind, and he was basically talking about the cast. And one of the things that he had said about me, in particular, was that he found me to be a very versatile actress. And so he wanted, he basically thought ... I think the answer -- he said something like, "Well, she can do it. We can just throw this crazy idea at her, and she'll do it." And so, I almost felt like they were just kind of having fun and being like, "Alright, well, let's see if she can do this."
The fans were pretty intrigued by the Eve character, and I think that just goes to show that it's a great, great script, and it's great writing. The actor's job really is to bring their words to life. So, credit where credit is due. But then the most important thing an actor can do is elevate the material by making it their own. And that's what I was trying to do, because I wanted to -- you know, on the page, she's very -- she's just so cold and calculating. And I was, like, "I wonder if people are going to like her?" But, it's not my job to judge a character. I have to create Eve, and whether people liked it or not is not really my business.
I think that people were really responding to, kind of, basically just how [email protected] she is. If I get one constant comment from the fans about Eve, it's that they love what a [email protected] she is. And I love that, too. ...
At this past Comic Con, which was our last Comic Con, someone was like, "Well, what do you want for Eve in the last season?" Or "What do you think about Eve and Nick?" And I was like, "Well, I just want to say for the record, Eve doesn't need a man." That's what's so great about her, is that this is not a character whose worth is defined by being in a relationship. Because nobody should feel that way. ...
I love the way that she's written, in that she's doing her own thing, and she's doing what she feels she needs to do for her friends and family. But at the end of the day, she's not defined by her relationship to any man or woman; she's so independent.
Q: What would you love to do next? How can fans find out?
Bitsie: From season one, I've been incredibly interactive with our fans on social media. And I really love to do it. ...
I have always, for the most part, greatly loved to interact with the fans. I'm on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook.
As far as what's coming up next, I was in a movie with Tim Roth that's been nominated for Best Feature at the Independent Film Awards that's called "Chronic." It's a small role, but I'm really proud of the film.
And then I did a really fun family comedy with Chris Gorham and Sebastian Roché called "We Love You, Sally Carmichael!" And I think that comes out in the spring. And that was just really fun for me, because it's such a departure from any role I've played, as far as films -- like "Parkland" or "Concussion" -- they've all been really heavy dramas; often period films. And "We Love You, Sally Carmichael!" was just like the sweetest movie. ...
And then David and I are heading to L.A. this week for pilot season, and I've always loved doing television. And I love doing movies, too, but, with movies, you work on it for a couple weeks, a couple months at a time, and then you move on. I loved the experience of getting to know this cast and crew, so intimately, by virtue of working with them for six years.
Fans can keep up with Elizabeth (Bitsie) Tulloch on Twitter @BitsieTulloch.
"Grimm" airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on
NBC. Find the series online at www.nbc.com/grimm.
Bitsie Tulloch as Juliette Silverton and David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt on "Grimm." (NBC photo by Allyson Riggs)