By Dustin Fitzharris
On NBC’s Grimm, Silas Weir Mitchell plays Monroe, a reformed descendant of a dangerous, mythological creature known as a “Blutbad.” The series, which puts a unique crime spin on Grimm’s Fairy Tales, has returned for a second season and Mitchell couldn’t be happier.
“It’s a new world the writers are creating,” Mitchell says. “It’s not DC Comics. It’s not superheroes. It’s not supernatural. It’s kind of psycho-mythological.” Over the years Mitchell has portrayed an array of characters on a variety of shows, including 24, Prison Break, and My Name is Earl, but Monroe is very special to him. “The character is very conflicted. That’s always fun to play,” he says. “There’s an inner conflict and that’s what makes drama and story. He’s trying to forget his dark past and trying to do good in the world, but he also has these very dark tendencies. It’s a fun world to live in.”
While fans of Grimm are curious to know more about Monroe and the secrets of the new season, TAILS caught up with Mitchell to learn more about Atticus, his 2-year-old Blue Doberman.
TAILS: Tell us about Atticus.
Silas Weir Mitchell: He’s so sweet…it’s ridiculous. He loves people. Even when he was a teeny puppy and we’d take him for a walk, he’d just run up to strangers.
There’s a lot of misconceptions about Dobermans. What are your thoughts?
That whole thing about Dobermans is only because they were raised and bred to be police and protector dogs.
But Atticus is a sweetheart.
Nothing but love. When people come to the house, he gets so excited. There’s not a mean bone in his body. When babies are around, he understands that he has to be gentle. He’ll just sniff the baby because he knows.
What are your favorite things to do with him?
Watch TV. He puts his butt on the couch and his feet on the floor, and he’ll watch TV with us.
When it comes time for bed, where does he sleep?
In our bedroom on a mat.
He never gets in your bed?
Dogs are not allowed on the bed. There are rules. Dogs are not allowed on the bed, and they are never to be fed off the table. Growing up with dogs, that was a cardinal sin.
How does he manage to get on the couch?
That grew out of the fact that Dobermans are so attached to people. They want to lean on you. Atticus would want to be next to us while we were watching TV or reading on the couch. He would try to get on the couch, but we’d tell him, “Down.” He discovered there was a half measure—if he just backs up to you and sits his butt next to you. We let that happen because he’s not fully on the couch.
Does he snore when he sleeps?
Is he an early riser or does he sleep in?
He’s lazy in the morning, especially when it’s sunny out. He just likes to lie around. Then around 2 pm, he’ll want to go for a walk.
Is Atticus your first dog?
He is the first dog that I’ve [parented] on my own, as an adult. I have two cats. When you’re an actor, your schedule is not your own, and I have no structure. Now that I’m married and there are two of us to take care of a dog, it’s much easier.
How does Atticus do with the cats?
Atticus is great with them—they aren’t so great with Atticus, though! He loves the cats, but they don’t understand that love comes in strange packages sometimes.
Do you think he dreams?
I’m reading an absolutely fabulous book. It’s called Dog Sense by John Bradshaw. He’s a British zoologist. It talks about how dogs are not trying to dominate everyone around them. There’s this school of thought that dogs are like wolves and every time a dog does something you don’t like, it’s because they are trying to raise their status, and you have to kind of alpha the dog or the dog will alpha you. This book says that is wrong. Dogs aren’t wolves. This book talks about dogs and their emotional lives, which is why I thought of it when you asked about dreams.
You can be sure that dogs have some kind of emotion. Emotion creates behavior. When you’re scared or happy about something, you can see that the dog’s body behaves in a different way. I don’t know if humans can yet conceive what a dream might be for a dog. Dogs have an awareness of things, but it doesn’t have a human corollary. Maybe they dream in smells. I don’t think dogs have a sense of narrative or story. If dogs dream, I don’t know if it’s the way we conceive of as a dream.
What do you still have dreams of doing?
I’d like to direct. I’m going to do more theater. I don’t know when or how, but I’m going to do that. I love to sail, so I’m having sailing dreams.
Any words of advise for our readers?
Consider your dog a member of the family, and not some wolf that needs to be dominated.
Image: Jeff Katz Photography