At just five years old, Claire Coffee launched her career with the Mountain Theater Company in Marin, California, establishing her natural flair for the spotlight. Later on she moved to the Windy City to attend Northwestern University and earned her bachelor’s degree in Theater. Since then, she has transitioned from the theatric stage to grace the television screen, including appearances in shows such as NCIS, Bones, and General Hospital. Now as a recent mother of an adorable baby boy, Claire opens up to Composure about the joys of motherhood, as well as her role as Adalind Schade in NBC’s Grimm.
CM: How has your experience on NBC’s Grimm been so far?
CC: Unbelievably great. It’s a wonderful group of people I get to work with. We’re all family at this point.
CM: Your current role as Grimm’s Adaline Schade showcases much intensity as a character that morphs between two forms, zombie and human. How is it like playing a role with dual characteristics?
CC: My character is no longer a witch at the start of Season 5 – she’s lost her powers for the second time. Her focus now is on becoming a good mother to the baby she shares with Nick, and embracing this new level of humanity.
CM: With makeup and costume, your transformation from human to zombie is a drastic change. Did you ever expect to play this kind of role?
CC: I actually play a former Hexenbiest, which is a witch-like character, not a zombie. The witch side is all done with CGI, not makeup, which means I mercifully avoid hours in the makeup chair.
CM: Your pregnancy with your boy Calvin was also played into your role in season four. How did your real-life pregnancy affect your performance as a pregnant Adaline Schade?
CC: As I got far along in my own pregnancy, I was very very appreciative that the character was also pregnant so that I didn’t have to spend so much time on my feet or doing insane stunts or exterior night shoots. My own pregnancy was of course quite different from the character’s, but the discomfort and exhaustion of third trimester pregnancy is pretty universal, so it certainly helped with informing that piece of the work!
CM: You and Calvin were featured on the BabyWatch’s front page. As a Hollywood mother, do you have any intentions of introducing Calvin [and potentially future children] to the acting world?
CC: I would never discourage him from doing something he felt passionate about and excelled at, as musical theater shaped my childhood in such a positive way. But the business side of acting can be so brutal! I think I would have a really hard time sending him into that kind of a situation, knowing how much heartbreak lies ahead.
CM: What are some of your favorite activities to do off-screen?
CC: I love home improvement projects. My husband and I bought a 95-year-old house this year and are in the process of renovating it. It’s such a pleasure to be able to restore and update the house. Obsessing over tile, lighting fixtures, door knobs… It’s been so much fun, if totally daunting at times. The house also has a great backyard with lots of mature trees, so I’ve been spending some time out there, trying to green my thumb a bit.
CM: We are all wondering…What is it like being married to a musician?
CC: Ha! Being married to a musician totally depends on the musician! It definitely means tons and tons of frequent flier miles. Chris is on tour 70% of the year, so we fly out to meet him when my schedule allows. At six months of age, Cal has already been on seven round trip flights. He’s a total champ and rarely complains, unless he’s forced to be in the car seat for too long. It’s certainly challenging to be apart for so many long stretches, especially now that we have Cal, but it forces you to establish trust and effective communication early on, which is good for any relationship.
CM: Any dreams, career-wise and in general, that you are looking to pursue and fulfill?
CC: I think I am in the midst of fulfillment right now! I love my character, the work is constantly changing, and I have such respect for the people I get to do it with. Down the road, my husband and I dream of opening a coffee/pastry/wine/florist shop, encompassing all of our hobbies.
CM: What is next for you?
CC: I have no idea what’s next! I hope Grimm continues for another five years, and I hope that PDX starts offering more direct flights to the east coast so that it’s easier for Chris to get home from tour.
CM: Right now you are playing a zombie and human character, a role that requires a lot of transformation, make up, etc. Are there any other roles that you are interested in for the future?
CC: I miss performing in musicals, so it would be great fun to have a chance to do that again – on stage or otherwise.
Grimm returns to NBC, Friday January 22nd, 9/8c