Hollywood’s Shimmering Star: Actress Bree Turner Talks ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’ and the Renaissance Era of Television Series
Bree Turner glows beneath that soft beauty that the screen wants to squeeze close.
There are many different ways an actor can draw you in. Turner is like a magnetized down comforter. Her big round eyes and medium-length blonde hair are offset by that ethereal bone structure. She invites you in, only to show you her frightening depth and by then, it’s too late.
Right now, she is showcasing her ability to be both seductive and dark in her role as Rosalee on Grimm. The show draws a loose inspiration from the eponymous fairy tales and centers around a Portland detective who begins digging up the supernatural. Rosalee is a character with a haunted past, who has become quite a central figure, due in large part to Turner’s depth and charisma. We see Rosalee deal with isolation, addiction and psychological turmoil — all modes of existence that Turner deals with deftly and convincingly.
The animated actress has had an impressive career and only promises greater things in the future. She has worked on many notable films throughout the years including The Wedding Planner, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, The Ugly Truth and Smashed. A place in the limelight was not handed to Turner. Hard work was the key to her success. Getting her start as a dancer in Los Angeles, she worked her way up to big time films and TV projects. Her admirable drive has surely helped at trying times in her career, most notably filming the second season of Grimm while pregnant.
Turner was kind enough to give us an interview, touching on what it takes to make it as an actor, the new golden age of television and body image in Hollywood.
GALO: I understand you grew up in California and went to school at UCLA. In college, you must have been surrounded by people in the movie business. Can you tell us about your decision to become an actress and how you got your start?
Bree Turner: I was a dancer when I was young. I was 18 when I got to UCLA. I had decided to come down to LA and I wanted to continue my dance and turn it into a profession, so I auditioned for a dance agent and they signed me. And so, I worked as a dancer professionally doing commercials and videos, different award shows for a while, and that just put me onto film sets. I’d always been a huge movie buff growing up. I always loved watching movies and I loved television. So I just fell in love with the process of making cinema and television and all these different acting jobs in Hollywood. It just made sense to segue from dancing into acting, and luckily I was fairly good at it, so it worked out. That’s how I got my start, and I just basically worked my way up the ranks, started with commercials, did guest star spots on Saturday morning shows. I’ve had a very slow and steady career, which I would never change because it’s really allowed me to have a full life and enjoy it and, you know, not get burnt out or anything.
GALO: You’ve worked on spooky projects before, such as Masters of Horror. Are you interested in darker stories? Did you read Grimm’s Fairy Tales or other scary, supernatural tales as a child?
BT: I am. I’ve liked the underbelly of things — I think fantastical tales touch us deep in our subconscious. My grandmother gave me her original Grimm’s Fairy Tales book series and I remember they had these really old-fashioned illustrations, and when I was learning to read, I just devoured them in my room. They were just so exciting. It was like a secret bad thing I was doing. I felt so edgy reading them. It’s come full circle being on the show because it was truly a big part of my childhood. I like genre films. I loved all that superhero stuff growing up and Greek mythology and just fantasy. Horror — I’m kind of a big scaredy cat. I like our show because it’s definitely scary and creepy, but it doesn’t ever really cross a line for me, so I can watch it and have a good time doing it. I was a big scaredy cat with all the Freddy Krueger, Jason Halloween stuff — that’s too scary for me.
GALO: I understand you were pregnant during season two of Grimm. Actresses are mercilessly judged in the tabloids for the way they look, particularly during a pregnancy. Was there a lot of pressure to conform to a certain body image?
BT: No, I mean I don’t subscribe to that bullshit in media. I think it’s incredibly damaging and anti-woman, honestly, to put this pressure on people, celebrating how quickly these women lose their baby weight after having their baby, and [how] we celebrate that. All I see is that that’s so unhealthy. It’s unhealthy for your body to not be gentle to it after delivering a baby. Your milk supply must be really low because you’re not eating enough food. I look at it as incredibly damaging and I don’t like it.
Luckily, the group of people on Grimm was so supportive. I had a really complicated pregnancy on top of everything. I had to leave work way earlier than I was supposed to. They had to shoot episodes out of sequence because I was on bed rest for most of the time, and never did anyone bat an eyelash at me, or ever make me feel like I was straining the production or anything. It’s just the loveliest group of people I’ve ever worked with. I just think it was destiny to be with these people at such a miraculous and delicate time in my life. I never felt like I had to hide. You know, we tried to work around it as much as we could, but it was just kind of funny in the end. “The Quill” episode from last season, where I got the yellow fever and I mauled Monroe [played by Silas Weir Mitchell] in the spice shop — I was five and a half months pregnant that whole episode and I just laugh — I’m making out with him, I’m mauling him in the counter and I just have this huge belly. I mostly feel bad for Silas because he had to make out with a big old pregnant lady. I look back and I’m like, “oh, there’s my baby in my belly.”
(Interview continued on next page)