Today at Comic-Con, Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan, the stars of CBS Television Studios’ highly-anticipated fall series, Beauty and the Beast, sat down with us for roundtable interviews. The new CW fall series is a re-imagining of the classic fairy tale loosely based on the late 1980’s cult-classic CBS television show that was a romantic love story with a procedural twist. This modern-day take centers on Catherine Chandler (Kreuk), a tough-minded NYPD homicide detective haunted by a tragic past, and the mysterious beast, Vincent Keller (Ryan), she discovers played a role in it and now leads a secret life in hiding.
Kreuk and Ryan told us about the challenges of telling a story that’s romantic and mysterious set in a high-tech age of Google, Facebook and Twitter, how the backstory for this updated version of Beauty and the Beast is more focused on the Beast’s humanity and his internal struggle with noble versus savage behavior, and why it’s exciting to bring a new Beauty and the Beast to a younger audience. They also discussed the extensive make-up required for the role of the Beast and what’s in store for his transformation as the series continues. Check out our recap of the Beauty and the Beast panel and hit the jump for the interview.
Question: This story is set in a modern age where everyone Googles and Facebooks each other, how do you think that affects your characters in terms of the things they want to discover about each other and the things other people could discover about them?
Kristin Kreuk: Vincent obviously has to be very careful about what gets out there. We’ve been talking about this a little bit. They’ve got to stay away from those kinds of communications and try to get away from it.
Jay Ryan: They’ve got to go back to the old ways in terms of communication which brings in our romantic element very much because it’s this courting that they have to do away from Facebook and all this quick stuff. That’s what I’m really excited about bringing into the series – how they communicate through imagery, signs, and whatever we’ll discover along the way. It’s not going to be through technology, and [it’s exciting] bringing that to a younger audience as well because they’re so used to seeing people on Twitter and Facebook. I think it’s going to be great to see that kind of romance evolve.
Kreuk: I don’t think Catherine has a Facebook page. She doesn’t seem like she’d have a Facebook profile.
Ryan: Vincent definitely doesn’t.
Kreuk: That’s what he does in his spare time.
Ryan: He has a date Matchbook.com sort of thing.
Of course, he’d have to change his photos.
Kreuk: Yes, he’d have to work them a little bit.
Are you bummed out that you have to play against such a horrible beast?
Kreuk: I know. It’s awful and it’s just the worst experience of my life. I really should leave now.
Ryan: You couldn’t look at me when I was in make-up.
Kreuk: No. Actually it’s really uncomfortable to look at him when he’s in full make-up because I can’t see Jay. He disappears a little bit. I’m like “Where are you in there?”
In the pilot, there’s only 30 seconds of you in full make-up.
Ryan: I think the idea with the pilot was ‘less is more’ because we’re still discovering what the beast looks like so we didn’t want to go “This is him.” We wanted that kind of mysterious element to give us somewhere to go with the beast as well – not put it all on the table straight away.
How long does it take to get you into make-up?
Ryan: It was four hours for the pilot.
Kreuk: It was ridiculous.
Ryan: We just did a new test today and we shaved down the beast and rearranged him a little bit, so now it’s two hours.
Kreuk: That’s way better.
Ryan: There’s a mix of CGI and prosthetics in the pilot for the beast stuff. But as the series continues, his transformation will become larger, I think, as the chemicals take over his body.
In the 80’s version, he was always rather unpleasant from the outside.
Ryan: He was that lioness form. Because of the back story of our beast, it’s very different. Ours is about this internal demon which is inside of him which is chemical and comes out. For me, it’s not about what he looks like. That’s just a sidebar to it. It’s about how he behaves and how his mind is like this tangled nest of noble and savage impulses and how he can regain himself to become human again. So it’s not about the look for me.
Do you ever feel beastly?
Ryan: On set, or myself personally?
Can you tap into being beastly?
Ryan: Wow! I take testosterone capsules. (laughs) No, I use lots of personal stuff in my work, and even with this, it’s based in a reality. So yeah, I use stuff that I probably don’t want to talk about. But everyone has this beast quality within them. Beast or bitch, I guess you could call it.
Beauty and the Beast premieres on the CW on October 11th.
Catch up on all of our continuing Comic-Con coverage here.