Exclusive Interview: Grimm’s Russell Hornsby Talks Playing Hank, The Fairy-Tale Genre & Failed Marriages

Russell Hornsby

Russell Hornsby divulged as much as he could about the state of his character on NBC’s Grimm, Det. Hank Griffin.

This season, Hank is facing a tough time battling his psyche due to the traumatic event he faced last season. Whether Hank will pull through or not is something we’ll only find out as this season progresses, but until then, Hornsby was glad to talk to TV Equals about what makes up Hank as a character, being a part of the revisionist fairy-tale genre, and his relationship advice for Hank. Grimm airs on NBC Mondays at 10/9c.

Congratulations on the second season of Grimm. What new things are in store for your character this season?

Russell Hornsby: Thank you. All I can really divulge is that we’ve started from where we left off, with Hank being in an emotionally, psychologically unstable position because of his having seen the creature from the first season.It puts him in a mentally unstable place, and he goes to seek professional help to try and make sense of what he saw and how that affects him personally. And so he’s questioning whether or not he wants to remain on the force or remain a police officer, because now he’s questioning his sanity.

Just in general, are there any challenges that come with playing Hank?

Russell Hornsby: There are challenges.I guess having to play opposite something [like the creatures on the show] because it’s like imagining how Hank would react to something that doesn’t exist in real life. So you’re really having to imagine what that reaction would be.

So far, what is it like just being a part of this television show, especially since when Grimm came on, some other fairy tale-like shows were on like Once Upon a Time. So what it is like being on this show and being part of the fairy-tale revisionist genre as a whole?

Russell Hornsby: It’s fun, it’s a lot of fun. It’s definitely different for me as an actor because it’s so different from what I’m used to doing. It’s my first venture into any type of genre material, having been in a lot of dramatic realism. Having done Playmakers, Lincoln Heights, court procedurals, hospital dramas and what not, that’s always been my work up until this point. This is something different, it’s a lot of fun, it presents its own sort of challenges, but I’m really happy and excited to be a part of this family and this team.

Did you have a favorite fairy tale growing up?

Russell Hornsby: I didn’t. I really can’t tell you too much about the fairy tales growing up. I mean, they were told [when you’re a kid], but I wasn’t really familiar with Grimm’s fairy tales in their original form until I got to this show.

One thing that I’ve always found interesting about Hank is how he talks about his failed marriages on the show. If you met Hank, what would you say would be his main problem with his relationships and how would he solve them?

Russell Hornsby: First, he’s incredibly complicated. I would say that he loves hard. I think Hank is a type of hopeless romantic in a lot of levels. He looks for the best in people but he also looks for the best in the women that he falls in love with and he doesn’t realize that-I don’t want to sound crass, but you don’t always have to buy the cow.you know.You don’t have to get married to fall in love, you don’t have to get married to be in a relationship with somebody, and I think he’s slowly realizing that. He’s just complicated and a hopeless romantic and sort of in love with love. I think that’s a side that we haven’t seen on the show, but I think that’s who he is.

If you could guest star on any other television show, which one would it be?

Russell Hornsby: If I can be something other than a butler or an elevator operator, it would be Mad Men. I think that’s one of the coolest shows on television.

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(Bottom Photo Credit: BOBBY QUILLARD – www.quillardinc.com)