Aryan Samhadri, the actor behind Grover, revealed why Percy Jackson and the Olympians did not include one key trait of the iconic Satyr.
It probably helps that the series has been very faithful to the original books—much more than the first two movies starring Logan Lerman were. But that does not mean there have not been changes.
Grover Hasn't Eaten a Single Tin Can
While speaking exclusively with The Direct’s Russ Milheim, Percy Jackson and the Olympian actor Aryan Samhadri, who plays Grover, revealed one key trait that was changed about his Satyr from the books.
Those who have read the books know that his diet consists of aluminum and tin cans—something viewers haven't witnessed him eat once. So, did the show change his food of choice?
"It did," confirmed the actor. And he thinks the change might have something to do with avoiding setting the wrong example for younger kids:
"It did, unfortunately. Now it's mostly consisting of enchiladas and banana bread, I think. The props team came up with like a fondant tin can. And I downed two of those things. And I'm pretty sure the fear was if they put those in the show, I wouldn't stop eating them. But I think also, because you know, a lot of younger kids are going to be watching the show, and we don't really want any eight-year-olds eating tin cans. So, yeah, we've maybe went a little light on eating sharp metal objects."
Grover’s diet is hardly the only thing the show has changed from the books. One change saw the Satyr sharing a meal with Ares at a diner instead of following Percy and Annabeth to Waterland.
The actor revealed that his time with Adam Copeland’s Ares "was probably one of [his] favorite scenes to film in the entire show:"
"That was probably one of my favorite scenes to film in the entire show, I guess. Adam is just such an incredible actor. He's the nicest person you'll ever meet off-camera. There's no acting in that [scene]. Genuine fear in my eyes. Truly. He is terrifying once the cameras are on. Especially that interrogation lighting with that weird, flickering light over us in the diner booth. And him just leaning forward."
He continued, praising Copeland, calling him "such a professional:"
"He's so tall. And he's just this like presence... It was definitely terrifying. But he's also such a professional, and he's so willing to go with whatever happened in the scene. In one of the takes, he slams the table, and just like a bunch of stuff goes flying off of it, like a coffee falls over and like forks are spilling, and Jet [Wilkinson], our director, is in the background cracking up. And he just kept going... After that, he would intentionally try and knock stuff off the table with, you know, every like slam... just to emphasize his presence on screen. It was incredible."
But how sad was Samhadri that he got to miss out on all the fun at Waterland?
While he was upset at first, the actor admitted how, at the end of the day, he was "good staying dry:"
"I was, [but] not so much when I saw the BTS [laughs]. I actually went and visited the set just because I wanted to see what was going on. And I saw the stuff that they were making Walker [Scobell] and Leah [Jeffries] do. And I was—I'm good staying dry, honestly. Thankfully, the water was warm, or so I've heard."
Samhadri shared he was a little jealous of Scobell for getting to mess around with a portable jet while filming the sequence:
"But yeah, I heard Walker got to, like, play around with a portable jet. He just got to swim around on one of those. Like, you know those propeller things? You know what I'm talking about?... I guess I regret not getting to mess around with that. But that was an intense day for both of them. And I think me being there would have kind of—I'm really glad that they got to have that moment."
He noted he was actually "glad that they changed [the scene] from the books:"
"That's something I'm glad that they changed from the books is that they got to have that moment alone together. I mean, that scene is just heartbreaking. Every time I watch it... they killed it. And I think me being there would have taken away from that. So I'm glad that they got that kind of space and that time to just work together because I think that's very important for that scene."
Another change from the books involved a notable adjustment to the events at the Lotus Casino, where Grover meets Augustus, another Satyr who was once on the journey to find Pan.
"He was a fantastic actor," exclaimed Samhadri, and he "was so willing to do whatever:"
”He was a fantastic actor. He was so like, [laughs], he would just look at me and be like, 'Hey, you can grab me if you want. He would just like keep coming up with stuff to try. And he was so willing to do whatever. Yeah, I love that guy…”
Samhadri added how "[he] think[s] it was smart" to also split Grover up from Annabeth and Percy:
"Yeah, I think it was smart. Because I think separating Grover and Percy and Annabeth, one, it gives them again, that chance to kind of—less so Percybeth development, because, you know, I think it's a little too soon for that. But it's more so just helping them get over that constant state of bickering. It kind of gives Grover [laughs], this is a very selfish way to look at it, but it gives Grover more space to play instead of just, you know, being focused on keeping those two in check."
He explained how getting Percy and Annabeth alone and giving them focus helps demonstrate how the duo are "ready to make some of the hard decisions:"
“It, you know, kind of shows the audience, okay, they're ready to kind of go on this quest themselves. They're ready to do what it takes. They're ready to make some of the hard decisions that come up in books. There's some changes in Episode Seven that I think will kind of shed light as to why a lot of those decisions were made in Episode Six. Episode Seven is one of my favorites, and I'm so excited for people to see it. But yeah, I think just giving Grover time alone reemphasizes his journey for Pan.”
The actor clarified that "the allure of Pan" is what draws Grover into the Lotus casino in the first place:
“The reason the Lotus casino draws him in is because, you know, the allure is Pan. That's his entire thing. That's his reason for being, you know if you're to look at it that way, is searching for Pan. So I'm glad that Rick [Riordan] and the writers kind of reemphasize that.”
The entire interview can be found below:
Does Grover's Changed Diet Matter?
It does seem like a bit much to have completely omitted Grover’s trait of eating tin cans just because children could hypothetically hurt themselves doing the same.
Audiences could probably pull together a laundry list of things characters do in Percy Jackson and the Olympians that young folk, or even adults, should avoid doing.
That reasoning probably has little to do with why they chose not to do it. They likely thought it simply was an unnecessary hassle to have Grover casually eating cans in the background (or foreground) of various shots.
Honestly, though, at the end of the day, the exclusion of the Satyr’s particular diet does not affect the show too much. But it certainly would have been nice to retain Grover’s classic trait.
Perhaps after everything the character goes through in The Sea of Monsters, the second book in the series, and probably the second season of the show, fans will finally start to see him nervously chew on soda cans.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians is now streaming on Disney+.