It's pretty easy being green and Grimm
NBC's cop/creature show filmed here has Portland written all over it
NBC's mystical police drama "Grimm" has adopted the mindset of its hometown.
The show, which is set in Portland, is about as green as it gets -- sustainably, monetarily, even visually.
Shannon Bart, the show's sustainability manager, says the success of the green effort on "Grimm" is a combination of support from everyone involved in production, from NBC executives to set helpers.
"What's unique about 'Grimm' is that the mindset of sustainability has made its way throughout the whole show," she says. "It definitely helps that the show is filmed in Portland, because environmental responsibility is already part of the community, so people understand why it's important."
The Grimm Fairy Tales-inspired show, besides attracting a following as homicide detective Nick Burkhardt and cohorts battle an ancient and conspiratorial underworld, won an environmental award last month at the 33rd annual Travel Portland Tourism and Hospitality Industry Awards.
Just how green is "Grimm" green? No plastic water bottles are used on set; everyone has been given stainless steel bottles. The crew composts, recycles, utilizes reusable products and buys products locally whenever possible. The set uses 100 percent recycled latex paint and its trucks run on biodiesel.
Production practices coincide with the city's environmentally concerned attitude.
"The great thing about it is that my job is never done," Bart says "It's like, 'OK, we've done that, now what else can we do?' Sustainable practices have become a part of how we produce our shows."
David Giuntoli, who plays the protagonist Burkhardt and a "Grimm" family descendant, agrees that a big part of the show's green effort stems from being filmed in Portland.
"It's a wonderful town," Giuntoli says. "It's charming; it's got an identity. And it's part of why we keep the set as green as possible. It's sustainable, and I take a very personal responsibility in that."
Another side to the greenery that "Grimm" brings to Oregon is equally as pertinent in a struggling economy. Giuntoli says that the show employs more than 200 Oregonians each day it's filmed.
"We are very excited that the governor (John Kitzhaber) and some of the representatives understand how beneficial 'Grimm' is to the local economy," he says. "NBC likes nothing more than to throw money into the state of Oregon, and we're glad that the governor enjoys receiving that money."
Organizers say production of Season 1 of "Grimm" accounted for more than $50 million spent in Oregon, adding to the $130 million spent locally on TV, films and commercials in 2011. The shows "Leverage" and "Portlandia" are also filmed in Oregon, as are various movies annually.
Russell Hornsby, who plays Burkhardt's police partner Hank Griffin, says he appreciates all the work the show has provided.
"First off, just having a job is fun," he says. "Once you get over that fact, and you realize you enjoy the people you work with, you enjoy what you're doing and where you work, it's great for all of us."
Hornsby also likes the city he works in. "I'm from Berkeley (Calif.) originally and Portland is quite similar to that," he says. "I dig the city. I dig the people. I dig the vibe."
Even Portland's greenery is part of the cast. "Grimm's" producers chose the city primarily because of the abundance of green cover it could provide, notably Forest Park and Washington Park. The show often uses dark forested areas to create a sense of gloom and unease.
Location Manager Shaun Gavin says Portland is an ideal place to create an aesthetically pleasing environment for the show. He also admits that residents will spot impossible jumps from one end of the city to the other.
"It's all in the magic of editing," he says. "Sometimes you have to cheat a bit, but that's the business."
Silas Weir Mitchell, who plays Burkhardt's werewolf/human friend Eddie Monroe, says he doesn't even mind Portland's months and months of rain.
"In this business you go where the work is," he says. "I've been shipped to places that are not pleasant to be in for long periods of time, so Portland definitely works."
"Grimm," created by writers David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" fame, has impressed audiences with its cop drama/dark fantasy tale that follows Burkhardt and his extraordinary ability to see creatures hidden beneath façades of seemingly normal people.
His ancestors -- the Grimms from Grimm's Fairy Tales -- are charged with keeping a delicate balance between humanity and mythological creatures that sometimes cause harm to humans.
Reformed "Big Bad Wolf" Monroe is Burkhardt's biggest help and confidant for all things mythological. Together they solve dark mysteries while managing to keep their true nature from "normal" humans they interact with in the Portland Police Bureau and elsewhere.
The show can be scary at times, using the abundance of greenery and scenery that Portland has to offer. Greenwalt and Kouf wrote scripts with Portland in mind -- organizers never looked to film anywhere else -- and the members of the cast call the city the "seventh character" of the show.
It also helped that the show got state tax incentives to film in Portland.
For those hoping to get a sneak peek at the upcoming season, the cast and crew are remaining pretty tight-lipped about it. As the first season ended, the intrigue peaked, with Burkhardt encountering a woman who also had evil-battling powers -- his mother, who he had thought was dead.
"All I can tell you is that we've been reading some epic scripts," Hornsby says.
"It picks up where it left off, and out of the gate, stuff is happening fast," Mitchell adds.
"Grimm" airs at 9 p.m. on Fridays, the slot that the "X-Files" held with much success for years. Filming began for the show's second season earlier this month, with episodes broadcast in August.