Reggie Lee interview: Grimm, Sgt. Wu & more

Interview Christine Horton 18 Feb 2014 - 07:00

Christine chats to Grimm's Reggie Lee about season 3, the fans, and what the future holds for Sgt. Wu...

Warning: contains plot details for Grimm season three.

Grimm fan-favourite Sergeant Wu provides comic relief to our favourite fairytale-based detective show. Reggie Lee hints at what we might expect in season three and whether Wu will ever find out just how weird Portland really is.

Are you still filming season 3 now?

Correct. We are currently filming episode 17 of season 3. I think season 3 just started with you guys in the UK, hasn't it? It's fantastic. I follow all the fans on Twitter and they've been really excited; they've been waiting for it. Their response has been great! I remember that from Prison Break too; there are crazy fans over there!

What can you tell us about this season?

As the season moves on, characters start to form a little more, and you see the formation of this sort of gang of people who start working together in order to solve crime and help Nick out – except for Wu!

It’s funny I’ve had so many responses from people, saying ‘he needs to find out’; well this will be the season Wu sees something for the first time, and it affects him differently to everyone else. They way they’ve created it, it’s akin to his culture. It’s a fairy tale. The writers asked me if I knew any Filipino or Chinese fairy tales, and I said I knew a slew. Especially in island countries there’s all this folklore; people have very little to do in the village area, so they create these things. So [the writers] ended up using one of them to facilitate me seeing something for the first time. I can’t give it away, but it will definitely affect him for the episodes after that, and possibly for the rest of the season.

That’s interesting, as Wu thinks Portland’s weird anyway – so he might not have even been that surprised by what he saw!

I know, the fans try to write the stories for us, and they say that would be the best way, for him to say, ‘Oh I knew that all along!’ But I always hand it to the writers; they always create something different to what the fans expect.

But for the rest of the season, there’s a pregnancy and there’s talk of marriage, there’s the possible return of Nick’s mom, which I think is so much more interesting for the fans; it’s so character-driven.

We understand there’s going to be an episode that focuses on Wu this season?

I have shot several of [the episodes] already and I can tell you... while I was shooting them I was tired, frustrated and fulfilled at the same time. It’s interesting because Nick’s character has so much to do every episode, and the emotional part spans the entire season. But then they say ‘we’re going to throw all this emotion at you, and it was just draining but it was probably some of the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done in my entire life. I’m a tough critic on myself, so I can say it was so worth it; I think the fans will be really happy with it. 

The character of Wu was written for you, so how much of your personality informed the character in the first place?

(Laughs) Well I don’t fancy myself as a very sarcastic person in real life. I always wonder at people who have such quick wit, and I wish I could be like that so this is my opportunity! They did write it for me, and I don’t know where they wanted to go with it, but I am literally playing off of one line which was in the pilot. It was written way before I accepted the role... so I started to create the character like that, and I started looking at people who are sarcastic, researching why, insecurities and all that stuff. I started working my way into the character and it was so much fun.

It lightens up the show a bit, because it can get a bit heavy and scary, so they need those moments of light, which I’m happy to provide.

You’ll also see one episode in particular that was written by Brenna Kouf, [show co-creator] Jim Kouf’s daughter, you’ll see, finally, the layers beneath the sarcasm.

You’ve worked on television series before. How does Grimm compare?

Very few actors are afforded the opportunity to sit in a show for at least three seasons. I’ve done other series but not for this length of time, so it’s been great to sit with this character. It becomes a real part of you and you also find so more depth, which is like the dessert for an actor. Unless you’re doing a film when you have so much time to prepare, you don’t get that, so it’s fantastic, I’m really grateful for the opportunity. For me that’s the real difference in terms of my career.

The other great part is that the cast is ridiculously close. It’s like being in theatre. I’ve done shows on Broadway for a year and a half and you form life relationships, and that’s what’s happened here. But when you’re on set, you’re talking so much to each other and just philosophising on life for hours on end, it’s hard to pull yourself away! Especially in the precinct scenes and you have Russell (Hornsby), David (Giuntoli), myself and Sasha (Roiz), we could stay there forever. But that’s such a gift. I couldn’t be more thankful to the folks at NBS for continuing this little show.

Fans of Grimm are really passionate about the show – how much do you see it on a personal level?

It’s gotten more evident. I’ve always been grateful for people just watching the show and appreciating your work, but yeah it’s gotten a little nuts. But they’re very appreciative, especially in Portland.

We were at the Monte Carlo Television Festival last year and there’s nothing like European fans. They’re so wonderfully rabid. I feel the love.

Is there word yet on season four?

No, we don’t know yet but we’re very optimistic about it; it’s done really well. It’s kind of like a little staple for NBC, so we’re hopeful.

Reggie Lee, thank you very much!

Grimm season 3 airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on WATCH in the UK (Sky TV 109 & Virgin TV 124).

Read our interview with Grimm's Sasha Roiz, here.

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