The upcoming NBC drama Grimm takes place in a world where the villains of fairy tales that children have adored for generations are real, and one man, Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) is the only one who can stop them. At the NBC portion of the TCA Press Tour executive producer Sean Hayes (best known as Jack McFarland on Will & Grace, but also currently the executive producer on the TV Land comedy series Hot In Cleveland) talked about his success as a producer, what he enjoys about juggling acting and producing, and his return to being in front of the camera, in a comedy for the network.
He also talked about the recently wrapped role he completed as Larry (with Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe and Will Sasso as Curly) in the Farrelly brothers’ version of The Three Stooges, the great co-stars they had in the film, and what a privilege it was to be a part of bringing something back to life that changed comedy forever. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
Question: Who first got the idea for Grimm, and what made you realize there are great monster tales within the Grimm’s stories?
SEAN HAYES: (Executive producer) Todd [Milliner] called me at my apartment, and he had the seed of the idea of, “What if the Grimm fairy tales actually happened and are coming to life and actually were real. From that seed, we developed with (executive producers) David [Greenwalt] (a producer/writer/director on Buffy and Angel) and Jim [Kouf] (a producer/writer on Angel), what you now see.
What do you think has happened in the five years since you originally conceived this series, that made the network see this as a marketable series now?
HAYES: I think with any good idea, it starts with a whisper. Somebody may overhear something somewhere, at some time. Any good idea will trickle its way through this town, and I think that’s what happens, any time that this phenomenon happens where a lot of ideas happen at the same time.
What fairy tales will you be exploring, in future episodes?
HAYES: A lot of people don’t know that there are over 200 Grimm fairy tales. We’re familiar with about 30 of them or so. It’s going to be fun educating people, as to what those other ones are, that aren’t as popular.
After the success of Hot in Cleveland, did you find that you were suddenly a hot commodity, as a producer?
HAYES: With anything in this business, as soon as you prove yourself in whatever facet that is, doors open slightly easier than before. But, we’ve been at it for about seven years. People had to take us seriously first before giving us chances and rolling the dice on us, and I think that’s what’s happened.
Were you on to Betty White before the public latched on and started this great love affair with her?
HAYES: We were lucky enough to book Betty White before the Betty White phenomenon happened. That was just pure luck on our part, but 100% talent on hers. We just were lucky enough to get her.
As a producer doing Grimm and Hot in Cleveland at the same time, is that balance something that you wanted or did things just happen that way?
HAYES: No, my entire life is planned. It’s called time management. Todd [Milliner] and I have had our company, Hazy Mills Productions, for about seven years now or so. Just as with anything in life, you have to have persistence, ambition, drive and belief that what you are doing is good.
With acting versus producing, do you have a preference?
HAYES: No, it just exercises different parts of your brain. They’re both enjoyable. The thing about producing is that the pressure is off of being in front of the camera, and being critiqued and judged in that way, but there are other pressures producing. It’s all different.
But, you don’t want to be exclusively one or the other?
HAYES: Right, exactly. I like to be busy and I like to have places to go in the morning, when I get up.
Do you see yourself doing a guest role on Grimm, at some point?
HAYES: There’s nothing to describe right now, or any talk, as far as me being on the show. Right now, we’re just all in this together, doing our roles as producers or actors. But, possibly sometime down the road.
Who do you think Grimm will appeal to?
HAYES: It appeals to anybody who was a fan of fairy tales, grew up on them or wants to learn about them. It’s all age ranges.
Is there a specific show in mind, for you to get back in front of the camera with?
HAYES: Nothing I can discuss, at the moment. But, we had a conversation and it looks like it’s heading in that direction, and I’m going to be doing something on the network.
Will it be a comedy?
HAYES: Yeah, it’s a comedy.
What do you like to watch?
HAYES: I just finished The Three Stooges, so I spent a lot of time watching Stooges shorts. But, I like watching a bunch of stuff. I’m a huge sci-fi/fantasy/horror guy. I love anything in the sci-fi or fantasy genre.
How was your Stooges experience, with making the movie?
HAYES: We just wrapped two weeks ago. I will never laugh so hard, in my life. I saw some early clips and it looks fantastic.
How close to the spirit of the original shorts do you feel that you guys got, or do you take it in a different direction?
HAYES: It’s a contemporary restructuring of the classic shorts. So, we tried our best to emulate the spirit of those three guys while conducting a contemporary story.
There were no injuries?
HAYES: Well, let’s say the injuries have healed by now.
As a comedy actor, what is it like for you to take on something like that, that’s meant so much to comedy?
HAYES: It was an incredible privilege, working with the Farrelly brothers, who also shared the love of where a lot of people say comedy began because nobody had ever seen anything like that forceful, slapstick, physical comedy. I live for that kind of stuff, so I loved that.
What was it like to have people like Jane Lynch, along with Snooki and JWoww from Jersey Shore?
HAYES: There were great co-stars in the movie. We were very, very lucky to have so many people interested in wanting to explore the Stooges again with us.
Are you looking to go back to Broadway again, anytime soon, or would that be after some projects that are taking priority for you now?
HAYES: Yeah. I did Broadway for almost an entire year, so it’s going to be awhile before I go back. I’m not opposed to it, but it just won’t be tomorrow.