4:59PM EDT October 18. 2012 - Kristin Kreuk revels in her new role as a female detective with an unusual new man in her life.
She plays Catherine Chandler, in the drama Beauty and the Beast, which airs Thursday night on CW (9 ET/PT). Yes, she’s the Beauty to Jay Ryan’s Beast, who goes by the name of Vincent. Smallville devotees will remember Kreuk as Lana Lang.
Kreuk, 29, is a little too young to remember very much of the original late 1980s CBS television series, starring Linda Hamilton and Sons of Anarchy star Ron Perlman. “I watched a bit of it after we started. But our show’s quite different,” Kreuk explains.
For example, Hamilton’s Catherine was an assistant district attorney. And Perlman’s Vincent was born with his unique appearance, while Ryan’s character turns into a beast, à la the Incredible Hulk, when he is enraged.
The lead role is perfect for Kreuk, who with business partner Kendra Voth started a website designed to encourage girls to feel empowered.
The actress recently took some time out from shootingBeauty and the Beast in Toronto to talk about the series.
Q: How did the role come about for you?
A: ”Someone called me about it. I met with the producers … and they were just really lovely and I liked talking with them and I thought that it would be really interesting to collaborate with them on this project.”
Q: Had you ever seen the earlier series with Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman?
A: "Oh, I think that I missed it. Being born in ‘82, I never really watched it. I have a recollection a little bit maybe of reruns, something, but I never really watched the show. I remember the poster for some reason."
Q: How would you describe your character, Catherine?
A: ”She kind of has her life split in two: which is kind of pre-Mom being assassinated in front of her and post-Mom being assassinated in front of her. She’s a very driven woman who has really decided to be a detective in order to take control of everything to make sure that bad stuff doesn’t happen anymore, to kind of make sense of the world. (There are) the good guys and the bad guys, and if you get the bad guys, then everything’s OK. She is kind of Type A. She’s not very good with men. She’s pretty funny. She’s really quite solid. And she’s pretty exciting primarily as a strong urban woman.”
Q: What is the most challenging thing about playing this character or working on this show?
A: "Being a cop. There’s a certain authority that being a cop or being a detective — you carry with you at all times. You’re the one that’s behind that yellow line. You’re the one that is there when the public isn’t allowed to be there. You see everything, everything about humanity that most people don’t want to look at and don’t want to believe, in some ways, exists. And so for me, it’s tough to carry that authority with me all the time. I tend to be a little more shy, maybe a little more reserved, maybe less like … I’m a little more Canadian, you know. So to carry that is challenging."
Q: What is the most rewarding thing?
A: "She’s so layered and interesting. I get to play a lot because she’s living a dual existence. She has her cop life and she now has this whole world with this beast creature who is kind of difficult to understand and unpredictable and is counter to everything — all the structure that she’s put in place in her life to feel OK. For me, that unraveling is fascinating."
Q: Do you think that there are a lot of people who compartmentalize everything going on in their lives?
A: "I think there are degrees obviously. I mean, I compartmentalize aspects of my life. I have a certain awareness of it, but I know that I do it. Literally, when you’re in one compartment, you don’t remember what happened in the other compartment. … I think that to cope, people do that sometimes. For Catherine, it’s to cope, but it’s also to protect a secret. That’s tough."
Q: You’ve done TV series before, but is there anything different about this experience for you?
A: "Oh so much is different about this experience. I think coming into this being nearly 30 is really wonderful. I have a certain insight and experience. I have a certain perspective. I have certain realistic expectations about television and the process, and I don’t get as caught up in things or stressed out about things. I feel like I can share my voice. I have a certain confidence in myself now that I didn’t before. That feels so freeing and I love it."
Q: So if you weren’t an actor, what would you be doing?
A: Interesting question. I haven’t thought about that in a long time. I want to produce. That’s ultimately where I would love to move into from acting into creative production. There are many other things I’m interested in, but realistically, that’s where I’d want to go without going back to school.”
Q: I’ve read about your involvement in a website called Girls By Design (girlsbydesign.com). Can you please tell me in your own words a little something about it?
A: "The intent for Girls by Design was to have a place where young women could come to, you know, mostly teenagers, could come and have a very real experience. Right now, it’s mostly a blog and we have girls that write articles on it. Ultimately, it would be great if we could have a full magazine-style website — with a self-esteem-building contest — that is really focused on empowering as opposed to selling."
Q: Why is this project so important to you?
A: "I think empowering young women is really important. I think that a lot of the way that we have been marketed to and the way that we have been represented and the way we represent ourselves — not to take our responsibility out of it — is really limiting. I really struggled with that in school, and I got really angry about the way that we were represented. I wanted to change that and be part of getting girls out there and excited and driven to participate in society in a powerful way. And I think that if we did do that, we’d have a lot wonderful effects. I’m a little idealistic, and I want to live in a peaceful loving world."
Q: Do you have any other projects coming up that your fans can look forward to?
A: "I finished a funny little (sci-fi) comedy a while ago called Space Milkshake (with Amanda Tapping, Robin Dunne and Billy Boyd). I don’t know when it’s being released or how it’s being released. I imagine it’ll be small. It’s pretty goofy and fun.”
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — Kristin Kreuk increased The CW’s army of butt-kicking females when her new drama, “Beauty and the Beast,” premiered last month.
The debut episode of the reimagined 1980s series had Kristin’s Catherine Chandler, a smart New York City detective, taking down two secret agents bent on killing her (Nikita – need some backup?), before her ally and secret protector – Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan) – swooped in and took out the third.
Slotted in right after “Vampire Diaries,” at 9/8c on Thursday nights, the show has gone head-to-head in the ratings with two election debates. But for post-debate newcomers looking for a little drama, tonight’s the night to tune in. Muirfield, the secret group that conducted the experiments that turned soldier (and doctor) Vincent into a “Beast,” is about to come into the light – and into play, challenging Catherine’s growing feelings for Vincent. Kristin told AccessHollywood.com what to expect, and how she’s handling her physically
In Beauty and the Beast, Kristin Kreuk plays cop Catherine Chandler. Her mother was killed in front of her years ago and she was saved by a mysterious man. That man, Vincent (Jay Ryan), is the Beast in our tale. I got a chance to chat with Kreuk during a break in filming about the love triangle that isn’t, whether or not Evan (Max Brown) will become a bad guy and what’s coming in tonight’s episode.
Q: How does it feel being back on TV?
Kristin Kreuk: It’s good! It’s nice because we’re in Toronto. I went down to LA when we had a little break around Canadian Thanksgiving and those billboards there are kind of crazy. It’s good. It’s a lot of work. It’s my life now, which is such a funny and strange thing about our job.
Q: Every time I go out driving, I see your face.
Kreuk: [laughs] It’s crazy, right?
Q: I waved! Tell me a little about Catherine and how she’s going to evolve over the season.
Kreuk: We know the basics. She is this really interesting young woman. Her mother is murdered in front of her when she’s nineteen years old. And really decides that it’s her fault, even though it obviously is not her fault. But she feels like she could have done something. Like she could have changed it. Everyone in her family’s lives are affected by it. She takes the whole thing on herself and takes on roles of control in her life. So as a cop, as a detective. Even with her sister. Everything she does is making sure everything is okay for everybody. As the season goes on, you kind of see her in some ways loosen up as she gets to know Vincent. They develop a relationship together. In many ways, they understand each other. It feels really safe, even though it’s scary. They care about each other and that’s scary sometimes. I think you see her kind of come to terms with, to a certain degree, what happened to her mother. She also learns more about what actually happened. But she gets kind of silly. Catherine is kind of awkward around men. [laughs] As much as she can turn it on for a case, she doesn’t date very well. She chooses weird guys. She’s very much a girl. She’s great with her career, but she can’t make a relationship work.
Evan will become a threat to Catherine and Vincent, and in a way that’s really interesting because she cares about him so much.
Q: I love the relationship between Catherine and her sister. Are we going to see that evolve in any way?
Kreuk: Yeah, we’re actually shooting an episode right now — I love Nicole (Gale Anderson) who plays Heather. She is so fun. She’s like a ray of light. She’s just the sweetest creature ever. And I love their relationship because Heather didn’t take on the murder the way that Catherine did. And Heather is so bright and she parties and she goes out with guys. Catherine is just not what Heather is. So we get to see them get closer and stuff starts to happen with Catherine. What we’re shooting right now — there is a big cliff hanger at the end of this episode. Heather witnesses something. Also, Heather may or may not have a crush on someone in Catherine’s life, which is interesting later on.
Q: Well, let’s just jump right into the love triangle. How are the relationships going to develop?
Kreuk: Well, it’s interesting because Evan in Catherine’s life — he’s a really good friend. And they have kind of a rapport together that she really enjoys. It feels safe for her and they obviously care about each other. Evan, I think, may care more about Catherine than she does about him. But the love triangle is a triangle, but it isn’t a triangle because nobody’s together! [laughs] So it’s more like — Evan will become a threat to Catherine and Vincent, and in a way that’s really interesting because she cares about him so much. And she has to start lying to him all the time. And he is really on Vincent’s trail. And he’s discovering things she doesn’t want him to discover. She has to start lying to the person she cares about to protect the other person that she cares about. It gets kind of messy for her. He’s smart. He’s not just going to let stuff go. So it really comes to a head and he finds out a whole bunch of stuff.
Q: Is there a possibility that he becomes the enemy at some point?
Kreuk: At this point I’m not sure. It could go any way. All I know for now is that he’s the one who’s known about the cross-species DNA for a while. He has something happen later on in episode 6 or 7 that will put us back on trail of trying to figure out who this creature is.
Q: Are we going to see Catherine’s dad at any point?
Kreuk: Yes. Dad comes in pretty soon because he’s getting married. You’ll meet dad in the sixth episode. He’s quite important as well.
Q: A Twitter fan of the show asked if there is any significance to the ring that you wear on the index finger of your right hand every week.
Kreuk: Oh, that’s so funny! Yeah, I wanted to have Catherine have one of her mom’s rings. She wears it all the time. It’s a reminder of her mother and I just decided that on the pilot. Catherine wears it all the time and it’s just always reminding her of what happened to her mom. She carries all her responsibility and her love with that ring. I love that someone noticed it.
Q: How dark is the show going to go?
Kreuk: You know, our show is really interesting because we jump between really dark story lines and sometimes straight comedy. Today is comedy. Pure comedy all day. It’s really light. It’s really banter-y. And then you’ll jump. At the base of this is a guy who was at war. He went through a horrifying experience. There is the darkness of that and all the Muirfield stuff mixed with some really light, fun and playful things. You’re really going to see what happened to Vincent — oh yeah, and this episode, this week, you learn way more about how violent he really is, and what he’s capable of, and that’s going to escalate in the next two to three episodes, where you really see that Vincent may not be in control of this and people may not be safe around him.
Many thanks to Auckland, New Zealand for giving us the dashing and talented Jay Ryan, who plays Vincent Keller (AKA, the Beast) on the CW’s Beauty and the Beast. He took time out of his busy schedule to document a day on set and what it takes to get into character—not that he’s complaining, but 3 hours in a make-up chair can’t be easy! Take a look behind-the-scenes with Jay, and don’t forget, an all new episode of Beauty and the Beast airs tonight at 9/8c!