Exclusive Interview: FRANKLIN & BASH & GRIMM’s Claire Coffee – A Fiancée, An Assassin and a Doctor Who Fan

Claire Coffee

If you watch Franklin & Bash, then you know that our good friend Peter Bash is not quite over his former girlfriend Janie Ross, played by the delightful Claire Coffee. This week’s episode, Bachelor Party, will shine more light on that whole situation as Peter is going to have to defend Janie’s fiancee played by none other than The Beek aka James Van Der Beek as he is accused of something quite unsavory.

Daemon’s TV had the great pleasure of catching up with Claire about this upcoming episode, her role in the new NBC series GRIMM (premiering this fall) and how much she harts Doctor Who. Oh yes and she kills Jared….read on, you will see what I mean.

Don’t forget to tune in on Wednesdays 9/8c on TNT for new episodes of Franklin & Bash.

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You’re in two high profile shows in one year. How does that feel?

Claire Coffee: It feels great. I feel like right now it’s the calm before the storm because we shot all the episodes of ‘Franklin & Bash’ and ‘Grimm’ we’ll gear up to go in July. I’ll found out all of what I have to do for ‘Grimm’ in July.

Franklin & Bash’ is definitely one of my favorite shows this summer. Can you talk about your character on the show?

Claire Coffee: My character, I play Janie Ross, Peter’s ex-girlfriend from law school who he’s still pining over. I’m an assistant district attorney. So, a few times I go up against Peter and Jared in court. Jamie and Peter are tussling inside and outside of the courtroom. She’s very driven and she prides herself on taking the high road in every scenario, and so she clashes with Peter quite a bit. I think that where’s the attraction lies as well.

Can you talk about the casting process?

Claire Coffee: I auditioned. It was during pilot season. So it was when I was reading three or four scripts a day and this one came through and I loved it. I mean, obviously, it’s so funny and all of these characters are really interesting and great in their own right, and so I was thrilled that this was the one that I got to do.

Playing a lawyer, did you have to learn the lingo at all or was it all on the page?

Claire Coffee: I like to know what I’m saying, and so I have a really good friend who’s finishing up law school. Any time I had something that I didn’t understand I would run to her and try to figure it out. Since it’s television there are obviously liberties taken with the accuracy of what’s going on, but I do like to be aware.

Your character in the show is engaged to be marred to James Van Der Beek’s character on the show, right?

Claire Coffee: That’s right.

What was it like working with him ?

Claire Coffee: He’s fantastic, and the two of them were on set together the whole time because Peter is defending him in his trial. They’re both great sports and I guess that they get confused for each other all the time out in the world. When I was doing a courtroom scene one of the extras behind me just kept whispering, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe Dawson is talking to Zach Morris.’ The excitement of the situation was not lost on anyone.

Your character in ‘Grimm’ has a very interesting look. What can you reveal about her?

Claire Coffee: It’s very mysterious which is part of the reason I love it. I’ve never done anything this evil or in a different fantasy type world like this. These are the shows that I like to watch, and so I’m excited for that. But she is a lawyer by day, and kind of an assassin of the underworld by night, more or less. So she’s working with the king of this evil Grimm’s fairy tale world. I guess assassin is the best way to put it at this point.

Is this your first time as an assassin?

Claire Coffee: Definitely.

You did a two year stint on ‘General Hospital’. Did that experience help you in coming on to the shows you’re doing now?

Claire Coffee: I’d been doing episodic television before I got the soap. So the soap was a nice reprieve from the grind of auditioning everyday and showing up on one show and then another show. It was nice to have a home base for a couple of years, but then of course you get restless just like everyone else. So it’s fun to have another new home base on TNT.

You have an active online life with a blog and your Twitter feed. Does this help you connect with fans?

Claire Coffee: Absolutely. With Twitter, which I’ve recently become obsessively addicted to, I try to respond to as many people as possible. It’s just a great way of seeing what people are really thinking, what people are responding to out there. It’s of course incredibly narcissistic as well, but we’re actors. The idea that people would want to know what you’re doing at eleven forty in the morning is a funny thing and interesting.

I was reading your feed and you seem to be a fan of ‘Dr. Who’.

Claire Coffee: I love ‘Dr. Who’.

Who’s your favorite Doctor?

Claire Coffee: Actually, Matt Smith. I was a diehard David Tennant fan and when Matt Smith first came on I was very skeptical, but now he’s definitely won me over, and I love Amy Pond. I love that character. I think that’d be my dream role, being a Doctor Who companion.

There are two burning buildings then. In one is David Tennant’s Dr. Who and in the other there’s Matt Smith’s Dr. Who. You can only save one. Who do you go for?

Claire Coffee: [laughs] That’s a terrible question. I think I go for Matt Smith knowing that David Tennant is not David Tennant and actually the Doctor and will be able to find a way out of it, and I’ll be able to sleep at night knowing that I haven’t murdered anyone.

You just let David Tennant’s Dr. Who die.

Claire Coffee: Involuntary manslaughter.

Two burning buildings. In one there’s Franklin and in the other there’s Bash. Who do you save?

Claire Coffee: [laughs] You can’t ask me that. I think these are terrible questions. Probably Bash because we have the history and Jared is just so snarky that I’ll just let him burn in flames.

How do you see your career path in the long term?

Claire Coffee: I definitely follow the slow and steady wins the race path, I think, which while it’s often frustrating I think ultimately it’s going to be very rewarding. I feel like I haven’t’ been thrown anything that I’m not prepared for, and I really do appreciate anything that comes my way at this point. I’m starting to get into some writing and developing because there is so much idle time when you’re an actor and I like to stay productive. I think in the future I’d hope to launch some of my own projects and just keep on the path that I’m going now because sustainability is really the goal in this business.

If you had the opportunity to go back in time and talk to yourself as you started this career what tips would you give yourself?

Claire Coffee: I think I would’ve told myself to stay confident. I think confidence is the most important thing you can project out here. That’s the easiest thing to lose and I think that’s the most important thing to remember, that you’re enough.

Is there a question that you’ve been dying to answer that no one’s asked you?

Claire Coffee: No one has asked me what my favorite food is yet and it’s movie theater popcorn, or popcorn in general. That’s not my favorite food, but that’s the food that I eat most often.

With or without butter?

Claire Coffee: With butter, yes, definitely. Salt and butter.

If you could guest star on any show what show would that be?

Claire Coffee: It’s definitely ‘Doctor Who‘, but I realize we’re in the United States so that’s harder, but that would be first, and then a show here, I really like ‘The Walking Dead‘. So that might be a good one.

As a human or a zombie?

Claire Coffee: As a zombie fighting humans. ‘Breaking Bad‘ is a great show too. There’s always something interesting with whatever job you take on. So it’s a hard question, and I guess that it depends on the character more than the show.

Have you caught the new season of ‘Doctor Who’ yet?

Claire Coffee: I’m halfway through. My DVR is almost full which is horrifying to me. So, I’m catching up on ‘Doctor Who’ right now.

This season is insane.

Claire Coffee: I know.