Mike Dopud as Marnassier and the Mauvais Dentes he becomes in "Grimm." (NBC )
Minutes after meeting Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Mike Dopud smacked the Academy Award nominee in the face.
Dopud was guest starring in NBC's "Grimm" as a French assassin named Marnassier who morphs into a Mauvais Dentes, a lion-like creature. Marnassier was sent to Portland to kill Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), the city's resident beastie-fighting Grimm.
In "The Kiss," which premieres at 8 p.m. Aug. 20, the Mauvais Dentes comes up against not only Nick, but his butt-kicking mom, Kelly, played by Mastrantonio. (Watch the preview below.)
"Your first thought about working with Mary Elizabeth would be, 'Ah this is going to be fantastic--some dialogue scenes, something great, something creative,'" Dupod said last week by phone from his home in Tsawwassen, Canada, south of Vancouver. "Next thing you know my first introduction to her is throwing an elbow at her."
Dopud said the production didn't have much time to shoot the fight scene between the three characters. He had to run from one filming unit still working on scenes from last week's season premiere, "Bad Teeth," to a new location before they lost daylight.
"I run over there and I literally had time to look at her and say, 'Oh, hi.' And she said, 'Hi,'" before they started shooting the scene, he said. The actor, who began his career as a stunt man, was impressed by how Mastrantonio handled the fights.
"She was great. We had long hours during these fight sequences and there were no complaints," he said. "And she's a really nice person."
Dopud filmed the two episodes over about 16 working days in Portland, which included being called back for about 24 hours to film an additional scene. Only once did he wear the full Mauvais Dentes make-up, fangs and all, because the schooting schedule was so tight it didn't allow actors to go in and out of make-up often. A double was used at times, and the creature fully morphed was often achieved through CGI.
"I'll shoot the scene up until I get ready to morph and then when I'm about to morph they put these dots on my face so the computer software can see my facial expressions as I change," Dopud said. "After that, if it's me or if it's the double for the creature, they'll put his face in there as I morph and then he'll take my spot. And then he'll be the creature for a bit and then when I morph back into myself we go through that same process again."
Dopud enjoyed having a chance to bust out his French playing Marnassier, but was surprised by how bloody his Mauvais Dentes scenes got considering the show isn't on cable. "I remember at one point someone asking for more blood and I asked 'Is this too much or is this OK?' [The director] goes, 'Well, they haven't said anything yet,'' he said with a laugh.
"It was just a fun experience, especially playing a creature like this. They were all excited about how the creature looked."
The former "Stargate Universe" actor had one other unexpected experience shooting "Grimm:" He learned that he and "Grimm" co-star Sasha Roiz grew up about five blocks from each other in Montreal.
"We had never met until 'Grimm,'" Dopud said. "We had mutual friends that people assume that we know each other and we've worked on the same shows but never at the same time. ... And now it's as if we've known each other for years because of all the people we both know."
WHAT ELSE IS MIKE DOING?
Mike Dopud has several projects cooking at the moment. "I guess I'm at a good stage of my career right now where I'm starting to be able to pick and choose a few different things but I'm working so it's a good thing," he said. "As an actor when you're working you're happy." Here's rundown: