Amy Acker is no stranger to the fantasy/supernatural genre, so it’s hardly surprising that she should find herself on not one but two fairy-tale-themed series. First up, she reconnects with her Angel roots (and producers!) as a life-sucking Black Widow in tonight’s episode of Grimm (NBC, 9/8c). Then, in a few weeks, she’ll don a pink dress to play Grumpy’s new gal on Once Upon a Time. Here, she shares with TVLine her observations about the differences between the two fantasy realms, and tells all (well, almost all) about her Grimm alter ego’s double life.
TVLINE | Your Grimm character, the Spinnetod, seemed very remorseful after her kills, which is unlike the show’s typical villain. How did you get into the Black Widow mindset?
I think that was the exciting part about playing the character — it wasn’t that she was just a killer. There is a difficult choice between having to do something you don’t want to in order to survive and deciding if your life is more valuable than someone else’s. It was interesting to see how that struggle would affect someone — on top of being a spider. [Laughs]
TVLINE | The first kill is actually a bit of a shock. It seems like she’s not going to go for it, but then she attacks.
I thought that was a fun scene, because you think, “Oh no, she’s gonna get hurt by that guy!” but she doesn’t. I love when that stuff happens — when you think that it’s gonna be one way, but then it turns on you.
TVLINE | What about the moral dilemma — she had to suck the life out of young men every five years to keep from rapidly aging?
The real interesting part of this character — and it sort of goes in with the bigger picture of what they’re doing with the characters in Grimm – is distinguishing between what’s right and what’s wrong when the lines aren’t clear. I think she just wants her family to have a normal life and wishes for the other part to go away, but there’s no way to do both that she knows of.
TVLINE | Did you watch Grimm before you guest-starred?
I was actually super excited to see it from the beginning, because I worked with David [Greenwalt, one of the show's creators] before on Angel. I loved the idea of all these fairy-tale shows that were coming out, because it just seemed so much fun to see how they twist things that you think you know about.
TVLINE | What was it like reuniting with David and his Grimm partner (and fellow Angel producer), Jim Kouf?
I was so excited when they called! I hadn’t gotten to see them for awhile. Back on Angel, David was one of my favorite people and has remained so. I was just so excited that he was doing such a cool show. When it came on the air, I was watching it with my husband, and I was like, “Oh, I hope I get to be on that! I want to audition for that.” So when they called and asked me to do it, I was like, “Oh, even better!” [Laughs]
TVLINE | You also have a role coming up on Once Upon a Time. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I can say that it’s basically the total opposite of the character in Grimm. My character is very pink!
TVLINE | Was it more fun being in one fairy tale world than the other?
I think I enjoyed them both so much because I got to do both of them — because they were so different. It really was night and day. It was so fun to go to Once because I had just done Grimm, and it was this very heavy, dark thing; going to Once, I got to play something totally different, yet it was all kind of within this fairy-tale realm.
TVLINE | What do you see as the main differences between Grimm and Once? How were the vibes different between the two sets?
I’ve seen episodes of Once that are darker than the one that I did, but I do feel like Grimm has more of a gritty feel. The location in Portland was damp and rainy, and it has a lot more prosthetics — more of a creature vibe — whereas Once has more of a magical vibe with all the costumes. At Once, everything just felt… grand, in the best sense of the word. When I saw my costume, I was just like, “GASP! — I get to wear that?” [Laughs]
TVLINE | You are very familiar with the sci-fi/supernatural genre. How was the work on Grimm and Once different than your work on Angel or Dollhouse? Do you have a favorite?
That’s the thing that I love about doing these genre shows. I just feel so lucky to have worked with these amazing writers — like Joss [Whedon] and the people who he hired to work on Angel – who went on to make other great shows. When I think back, it’s so hard to even be like, “Oh, which one’s my favorite?” because I feel like I’ve been really blessed as an actress to play so many different types of characters. They’re all in a similar genre, I guess, but they all feel so different, and they’re all written so well — they all feel so real.