Zap2it: What was your response to Wu having a mental breakdown over seeing a Wesen?
Reggie Lee: I didn’t expect it either. I didn’t expect this kind of reaction. For me as the actor it’s interesting because people would always be like, “Wu should just find out.”
I kind of knew at the beginning of the season that they would have this and they kind of told me how it would end up. And so I kind of knew and I was like, “Wow, that’s the last kind of response that I would ever think that he would have.” So it was interesting working with a script when I finally got it, because like I said, Wu’s got it usually together.
So to have all these kind of vulnerable aspects — to really care about someone, to go through heartbreak with someone, to kind of freak out about things — that was all new for me, so I didn’t know how to blend. How does my character blend all the sarcasm, his sardonic nature, with vulnerability — for lack of a better term — and love? I can tell you, I’ve done a lot of stuff, and [this episode] was seriously eight of the most fulfilling days I’ve ever had as an actor, because it was hard.
You were in every single frame of it too, for the most part.
That’s the thing. David [Giuntoli’s Nick], his emotional journey is mapped out through the season in the 22 episodes, and mine is like, Wu is dredging all this vulnerability and emotion in one episode. And so when I was reading it I was like, “Holy c***, I’m going to have to do a ton of homework,” which I did and which made it really fun for me to play.
What sort of homework did you do?
The way we do our work is we sit and we imagine those particular situations happening to us for hours on end. I literally would sit in a chair, stare at a blank wall and imagine [seeing the Wesen] for about two hours. So you can imagine how real that becomes for you after.
Remember when we were kids and you would look at the closet and think that there was a monster in the closet? If you thought about it long enough, you would make that monster real to yourself as possible. It was real. And that’s how we were.
Saying that makes me think that look of terror on your face at the end of the episode is probably actual terror at that point.
It’s interesting because you’re staring at, like, the stuntwoman and they didn’t do it yet, and so for the particular take I was just like, “Could you guys just not have anybody there. It would work better for me. It would work better for me if I just used my imagination.” Because to have an actual person there, I’m seeing a person. It’s harder to imagine that person is the creature, so I said, “Please take the person out and I’ll just work that way.”
I thought if this stuff is real, if this stuff really did happen in Portland and I saw it for the first time and [it’s] something that I have heard about since my childhood, that I was like “this is like a fairytale,” and I suddenly saw it, I mean it would freak me the hell out, seriously, and I would be in full panic mode. So that’s how I worked. This was not about being in a TV show for me, and how I would react on it as a TV character. That’s what was so fulfilling for me because the whole thing felt real.
Do you think that if Nick had told him in that moment “you’re not crazy” and tried to explain it, it would have changed his response at all?
I don’t think that I would have believed it. I think that I was in such a heightened emotion that if he would have told me that, I mean, that’s something I’d really have to process. Because in my head at that particular moment I was either going crazy — seriously, I thought I was going crazy — or I really was seeing a thing that I [thought wasn’t real].
So to see this thing that doesn’t exist in the real world, I don’t know how I would have taken that. For him to say, “OK, this does exist. It does exist,” even though I was trying to explain it to him that I did really see something, him telling me that in that moment, I don’t really know if that would have stopped me from freaking out at all. Because at that point I would think that I was either going crazy, I would have thought that and the freakout was too high for me. I mean, the level, which is essentially what I think was the conflict between Nick and Hank at that particular point. I think Hank wanted to tell me.
It definitely seemed like he did.
And Nick doesn’t. But I think Nick’s deciding factor is that the degree to which I’m freaking out, maybe he doesn’t think that I can handle it. Oh man just talking about it, I go back into it and it freaks me out.
The way that we leave Wu in this episode, are you going to be out of the running going forward a little bit? Where do we pick up with Wu after this episode?
After this, I will be out of the running for a little bit, definitely. But you won’t not see me.
Is that the tradeoff? “We’ll give you a name and we’ll let you find out about the Wesen, but you’re going to have to be in a mental hospital for the next few episodes. Sorry Reggie!”
[Laughs] For an actor, that’s like candy. I mean, I love it. It’s like chocolate.
Going forward? From this? There’s no way this is going to be behind me anytime soon. I think what I could tell you is that … he starts wondering why certain people are showing up with Nick and Hank all the time and what they’re doing there all the time. There’s things they have written in that are really fun. Where are they leading with all of this? I don’t even know. And I can tell you in this particular space I am in, it will linger for a bit.
I do hope that they continue on that track, because I know that they really like that range so I really hope they continue that. We’ll see.
I think I should start saying Drew now; I should stop saying Wu.
I know! Still call him Wu. Oh no!
Did they tell you that in the beginning that the first name was going to rhyme with his last name? Was that like part of the contract?
Hell no. I think there was one time when I was teasing that I wanted it to be Lou, because I would love to be Lou Wu. So, all my paraphernalia on the show, like I’m a carrying a file and it says who the reporting sergeant is. It says Sergeant L. Wu. The prop guys do a great job. They tried get really specific, so they put Sergeant L. Wu because that’s what everyone thought.
But they could not clear Lou Wu for some reason. I think if you there’s another Lou Wu, then you have to contact that Lou Wu and see if it’s OK with them to see if we able to use it? Or I think it has to be the same vicinity that you are in. I think there might be another one in Portland or something, so they went through a bunch of names and settled on Drew. Which was something I have never thought about at all. The writer who wrote this episode, she was like, “It’s kind of sexy,” so I liked it.
We get this whole love backstory that’s so sad. Are we going to see more of that?
Oh my God. I hope so. They were bringing up my grandmother, a cousin of mine that works a Filipino shop, and a friend of mine that’s still in Portland — who knows if she’s going to move out after this experience. But they’re talking about it, so there’s a possibility it’s in the works and I would love that.
“Grimm” airs Fridays on NBC at 9 p.m. ET/PT.