Well-traveled actor has fun as TV series script adds new twists

by: COURTESY OF NBC UNIVERSAL - Bitsie Tulloch's character has taken center stage on 'Grimm,' caught in a love triangle amid the many twists in the NBC fairy tale and police procedural show. 'I love what the writers did to me,' she says.She lived in Spain, Uruguay and Argentina growing up the daughter of an investment banker, attended Harvard, earned two degrees and moved to Los Angeles to become an actress.

So, Bitsie Tulloch, the lead female on NBC’s hit “Grimm,” which continues season two this week, has experienced many things in her first 32 years.

Add Portland to the list.

“What’s not to love?” says Tulloch, who plays Juliette

Silverton, girlfriend of lead character Det. Nick Burkhardt (played by David Giuntoli) on “Grimm,” the fairy tale and police show filmed in the Rose City.

“The weather doesn’t bother me — there’s something romantic and lovely about rain. I love my dog, and it’s one of the most dog friendly cities I’ve been to — I can take him almost anywhere with me. But, mainly, it’s the quality of the food. The cast, we all love food and wine. And, people are so friendly.”

Tulloch has spent much of the past two years in Portland filming “Grimm,” and season two should wrap after 22 episodes in April. It has received meaningful ratings and acclaim, and everybody hopes for another, third season — if anything to spend more time in Portland, Tulloch says.

“We all feel universally grateful,” Tulloch adds. “If we could live anywhere else, it’d be here. I consider Portland my home.”

The show follows Burkhardt, a descendent of the evil-battling Grimm family, who works to solve crimes by the “Wesen” — various forms of monsters disguised as humans, ancient rivals of the Grimms — with the help of friendly “blutbad” Monroe (played by Silas Weir Mitchell) and disbelieving partner Hank Griffin (played by Russell Hornsby).

Tulloch’s Juliette became a central part of the story in the first part of season two. Drugged by a “Wesen” through the scratch of a cat, Juliette fell into coma for 10 weeks, only to awaken after a kiss from Portland police Capt. Sean Renard (played by Sasha Roiz), himself a conflicted soul caught between the two worlds and Nick’s superior officer in the police bureau. Juliette doesn’t remember Nick. She and the captain lust after each other.

Season two continues at 9 p.m. Friday, March 8, with previews already revealing that Juliette and Captain Renard engage passionately, and Burkhardt and Captain Renard quarrel violently, as the love triangle explodes.

“I love what the writers did to me,” Tulloch says. “I had to think about how to give Juliette integrity — not remembering Nick, then not being able to keep my hands off Renard. As an actress, that’s definitely much more fun to play with.”

Tulloch has read scripts through the end of the season, and writers, led by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, “have done an amazing job with season two. It really gets great. ... What has made ‘Grimm’ so different and cool is the fairy tale mythology and ‘Wesen’ running around and, the next season, Jim and Dave started to delve into what they’re so good at, the mythological aspect. The show really took off. Season two has been a lot of fun for me.”

Blessed and grateful

Tulloch hasn’t taken the normal path to acting notoriety. She was born in San Diego, but spent much of her childhood and teenage years living abroad.

“I can’t thank my dad enough,” she says. “The most crucial thing about it was, we had a love for travel and other cultures, but being exposed to so many different kinds of people and social strata. Our parents were insistent on us traveling to the poorest parts of South America.”

She graduated with honors and a double major in English and literature and visual and environmental studies from Harvard. The school didn’t have a theater program. Acting wasn’t part of her life.

“Burned out,” she moved to Los Angeles, took acting classes and began working in 2004. “I thought it might be fun to explore, and it’s something I don’t regret,” she says. “I feel blessed and grateful.”

Her first gig was on “West Wing,” and by 2009, she had a series lead as Dylan Krieger in “quarterlife,” compared by some to Claire Danes. She also achieved some movie roles, first as R2-D2’s girlfriend in the mockumentary “R2-D2: Beneath the Dome.” A breakthrough came with a role in the Academy Award-winning “The Artist” with Jean Dujardin, John Goodman and James Cromwell.

So, her career has gained some momentum. She and Giuntoli knew each other before “Grimm,” and played boyfriend and girlfriend in “Caroline and Jackie,” about the complicated relationship between sisters and their friends — their names inspired by a Kennedy-obsessed mother. It’ll be released in theaters in May.

In “Parkland,” about the characters involved in the JFK assassination and investigation, Tulloch co-stars with an all-star cast — Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, Marcia Gay Harden, Jackie Weaver, Jackie Earle Haley and Zac Efron. It’s produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, due out in November to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

“It’s one of the most beautiful scripts I’ve read in my life,” she says.

For now, it’s all about “Grimm,” and Tulloch thoroughly enjoys working and playing in Portland. She has explored, and still wants to visit Oregon wine country, Bend, Ashland and the coast and another weekend on Mount Hood.

Tulloch and Giuntoli remain close. She admires the actor’s work.

“David’s amazing,” she says. “He’s one of the kindest people I’ve had the pleasure to work with. It’s been fun to watch him grow. There’s a pressure to carry a show (‘Grimm’), and he’s one of the hardest working guys, and he hardly complains.”