Life hasn’t been easy for Theresa “Trubel” Rubel.
Growing up in foster homes, she believed she was crazy after witnessing people “woge” into terrifying creatures known as Wesen. It wasn’t until she bumped into Nick Burkhardt, a Portland police detective with similar abilities, that she discovered she’s a bona fide Grimm, one of a chosen few charged with keeping the peace between the Human and Wesen worlds. However, with Nick losing his abilities, Trubel has been forced to assume his duties and deal with threats on NBC’s supernatural crime drama Grimm.
Actress Jacqueline Toboni, who was introduced last season as Trubel, spoke with Spinoff Online about joining the series, her character’s adjustment to life as a Grimm, and tonight’s episode.
Spinoff Online: Your casting process was unique. How did you land the role of Trubel on Grimm?
Jacqueline Toboni: I was going to the University of Michigan and I was a senior acting major. At that point, you’re sweating bullets about what’s going to happen in the future once you start auditioning in the real world. Luckily, I didn’t have to sweat too many bullets before I was whisked away on this adventure.
Two producers from Grimm came to the school and were visiting their daughter and just giving advice. I just happened to be an actor reading one of the screenplays they were workshopping. They asked a couple of us to read for them and the next day I’m flying out to Los Angeles.
Trubel freaked out when she first began seeing Wesen. How comfortable is she being a Grimm now?
Prior to her entrance on the show, Trubel had seen Wesen all of her life. She thought it was her imagination and didn’t really know what to think about it. There are people who are trying to kill her and they look like monsters. She believes it is a way of coping with people trying to cause her harm. She doesn’t know the reason she’s being hunted by Wesen, which is because she’s a Grimm and they are trying to protect themselves as well. Once Trubel understands that, she starts to see their side of the coin.
Nick teaches her that you don’t have to always rely on violence. His way of doing things is by the book. If he has to take further action, he will. Nick first wants to act in everybody’s best interest. Trubel is learning that part of it. It’s sort of the cop teaching the criminal how to live within the confines of the law, while still living this crazy and fantastic life. She’s getting a little bit more comfortable because Trubel realizes that she has power. Before, she was kind of the victim. Now that she has a little bit of power — throwing Wesen against the walls — you see she’s a Grimm.
Has Trubel been picking up the slack since Nick lost his mojo?
Definitely. Who else is going to do it? I think her and Hank [Russell Hornsby] see eye to eye on the fact they don’t really have a lot of options while Nick is powerless. She is their eyes and ears. Nick is a little more hesitant because he feels responsible for her and doesn’t want to put her in danger. When Hank asks me to do things, I’m all smiles. Nick is the only one who is like, “If I had any other option, I would take it.”
Will Nick be mentoring Trubel in fighting and weapon training?
I think that’s something that comes naturally to Trubel and something he doesn’t have to worry about as much. She had her own machete. She’s great at the whole fighting aspect. What she doesn’t get is the books. How do I identify Wesen?
Has the series been more physically demanding than you anticipated?
Yeah, it has, but it’s one of the parts I enjoy most about the job. I love doing my fights and stunts and they are really receptive to me wanting to do them. You just don’t know until it’s happening that it’s really 3 a.m. and you are drop-kicking somebody in the face. You just have to have your wits about you. I’m happy that I’m an actor that has a desire to do that part of the job.
Trubel moved in with Nick and Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch). Will we see her bonding more with Juliette?
Juliette is like the mom and older sister that Trubel never had. Juliette and I had this great moment in season three where she says, “Why do you have that chess piece?” I tell her the story of jamming it into a Wesen’s neck, but also how I like the way the chess piece moves because it’s different than any other piece on the board. It’s kind of a loaner in that sense. And, so I open up to her in my own way. Then, she’s like, “Oh, let’s go shopping.” That’s something Trubel has never heard in her entire life. If anything, she’s been shoplifting. It’s really great to have that female influence. The way I created this character was that she didn’t have time to be a little girl. She had to be as intimidating as possible so no one would approach her. This season you get to see more of that with Juliette.
Last week, Trubel was abducted at the end of the episode, “Octopus Head.” How will things get resolved in tonight’s “The Last Fight”?
This was one of my favorite episodes. It was kind of up my alley. With getting abducted, one of the main things with Trubel is what’s going to happen and how am I going to handle what’s next? If I get away, or don’t get away, who do I tell and why? She’s torn about who is safe and who to protect.
How concerned is Trubel about Nick’s current loss of Grimm abilities?
Nick doesn’t want to worry her with that. What I know about Adalind [Claire Coffee] is she’s this horrible woman that mirrored Juliette’s body and who somehow took Nick’s powers away. She is an enemy in the sense she won. I couldn’t stop what Adalind wanted to happen. I couldn’t protect him. Trubel takes it to heart, but I don’t think she knows how long this is going to last. In her heart-of-hearts, she knows if he wants his Grimm powers back, Nick has to take action. I am fully supportive of that because I’m alone right now. As a Grimm, I started out alone, then Nick found me, and I found this entire family and now I’m the only Grimm again and it feels very isolating. More than anyone, I think she wants Nick to get his powers back.
Are you aching to have Trubel and Adalind rumble?
Oh, man. If I could have a showdown with Adalind, I would absolutely love that. They are two characters that are so unbelievably different in their approaches to winning. That would be a really interesting mix. Trubel is never going to quit. Adalind has all these things at her disposal that I don’t even know about. I’m conscious of Wesen, but this entire other world of witches and cauldrons, I haven’t come across. It should be interesting if that ever happened.
Have any of the Wesen stood out for you?
I really like when Brian [Letscher] did Octo-Man. I thought that was fascinating to be stealing peoples’ memories. We are going to get into a little bit more of what I was talking about, which is Wesen versus, not witchcraft, but magic of a different world. We’re going to get more into that in a few episodes. There’s one Wesen coming up in a boxing gym and I think the Wesen chosen is pretty clever.
Trubel is currently the last Grimm standing in Portland. Can you hint a bit more at what’s in store for her on the horizon?
There’s a lot of decision-making that’s going to happen with Trubel. She has to decide what to do because if Nick doesn’t get his powers back, she has to stay and has to protect this world. But, did she really choose this life? Trubel ended up in Portland, where this serendipitous connection happened, but she’s never really gotten to choose her own path while she’s had this power.
If Nick does get his powers back, then Trubel has the option to make a decision. They wouldn’t need her as much anymore. She’s been staying there to learn. Is she going to get her own apartment in Portland? There’s some decision-making that has to happen and some options are going to come up that are tempting for her.
“The Last Fight,” the latest episode of Grimm, airs tonight at 9 ET/PT on NBC.
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