Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interview: Claire Coffee Is a Killer Lawyer

Claire Coffee, Photo by Whit Anderson
Claire Coffee is living the Hollywood dream: After already having worked on shows like "The West Wing," "General Hospital," "Cold Case," "Bones," "CSI," "NCIS," and many others, she is now gainfully employed — twice. Claire is pulling double lawyer duty: as a demon lawyer on NBC’s “Grimm” and a regular lawyer on TNT’s “Franklin and Bash.” I spoke with her recently about her roles, and the vast difference between the two.

Celebrity Extra: “Grimm,” which is a modern-day retelling of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales,” is very inventive and super scary. What about the show caught your attention and made you really want the part of reaper/assassin/lawyer Adalind Schade?

Claire Coffee: I think the look of the show is so neat. They combined a lot of elements that people are familiar with, but it’s also kind of police procedural with fairy-tale elements. I just really like the whole idea of the show. I like the genre of television in terms of what I want to watch myself. As for my character, I really wanted this one because I’ve never gotten to play any sort of supernatural character before. I’ve played lawyers before, and she’s a lawyer, but I’ve never played an evil witch who has fight scenes and kills people. I got to put some new special skills on my resume through this job.

CE: What’s good about this concept is you have so many Grimm’s tales to choose from — conceivably, the show could go on for decades!

CC: That’s what’s so great. I’ve been reading a lot of the “Grimm’s Fairy Tales,” and I think the ones that we are all familiar with are certainly the best of the bunch, but there are hundreds. They are all very moralistic tales. In the morals of the stories, the characters die or get killed or eaten constantly. It’s not for the Disney Channel — that’s for sure.

CE: Can you give me some clues as to what is coming up later in the season?

CC: The show’s going to be exploring this new world that Nick (Burkhardt, played by David Giuntoli) is coming to and the politics of this magical realm — who’s good and who’s bad — and the unpredictability of not knowing where people stand.

CE: Now, what about “Franklin and Bash”? I know you recently started shooting for the second season.

CC: I do know a little bit about what’s going to happen. Fun times ahead; that’s all I can say.

CE: You play lawyer Janie Ross in “FB,” but I’d say she’s a different kind of lawyer altogether from your “Grimm” character.

CC: Oh yeah — I wear similar suits, but the bad guys are VERY different.

CE: It must be fun for you to get to play two completely different characters like this, at the same time.

CC: It’s really fun. It’s fun to have two jobs, first and foremost. I’m very grateful for that. I feel very lucky that both sets are so pleasant to work on, with people who are really cooperative and have a great sense of humor. That’s a plus.

CE: You are living the dream of almost every girl who grew up in the ’90s by starring with Mark-Paul Gosselaar and James Van Der Beek.

CC: Including myself! It’s too bad I didn’t get a job like this when I first came to town — or maybe it’s a good thing, because I probably would have lost my mind. Mark-Paul and James are similar in that they’re total pros. They know how to work, but they also know that it’s all about the team, and they are very good at being helpful. It’s funny, they get mistaken for each other a lot. We did a joke about that on one of the episodes.

CE: What are some funny moments on the set?

CC: There was one scene where my character and James’ character, who plays my boyfriend, get in a fight, and I run off and the camera holds on James. He says: “Can we please just not hold on this tight angle of me watching a girl walk away?” Because all of “Dawson’s Creek” you could make a montage of Dawson looking, weeping, watching a girl walk away. That was pretty funny.

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