On the new drama series Beauty and the Beast, premiering on The CW on October 11th, Catherine Chandler (Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk) is a smart, no-nonsense homicide detective haunted by the murder of her mother, which she witnessed as a teenager. She would have been killed as well, if a mysterious beast hadn’t been there to save her. Years later, a case leads her right to Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan) and possibly some of the answers that she has been waiting for.
While at The CW portion of the TCA Press Tour, actress Kristin Kreuk talked about the concept of everyone having a dark side, the challenges of playing a cop, getting to do fight scenes, what she loved about the original Linda Hamilton/Ron Perlman series, how she would love for Linda Hamilton to do a guest appearance on the show, working with Jay Ryan and developing their chemistry, the possibility of other love interests, what she’s currently watching on TV, and what it’s like to be a part of this generation’s Superman, with her work on Smallville. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
KRISTIN KREUK: I think the whole concept is that we all do. It’s not necessarily a dark side, but there are things about ourselves that we want to hide and that we think are bad, and sometimes they are destructive and violent. Even if it’s something where you say something to me and I get pissed, and I say something mean to you, that’s violent. Catherine has got a lot of stuff that she’s buried down, and her impulse towards revenge, which is a violent act that isn’t okay, she understands is an impulse towards stopping these people that hurt her mom. She believes that somehow it’s going to make it better. But Vincent, in some ways, knows that it won’t. No matter how much you exact justice in the world, it won’t make the feeling go away. That is her darkness.
What’s it like, playing a cop?
KREUK: That’s tough for me. I don’t walk into a room with an authoritative stance. I tend to be a little more submissive, even though I think I have a certain amount of strength. So, it’s tough for me to play authority without feeling uncomfortable. I love it because it’s such a challenge for me to go out there and take that position.
Have you done any ride-alongs for research?
KREUK: I haven’t gone yet, but I’d like to. I talked to a couple female detectives, which was amazing. One of them is a consultant on our show now. She’s got long blonde hair, and is small and show, like me. She’s been a detective for 20 years, and she consults on Southland, as well. It was really interesting to talk to her and hear what her experience has been like. People have been like, “How could Kristin be a detective?” But, there are women in my position that are like me, and who do this, all the time. I think that’s really interesting. It would be very challenging to go in and be with dead bodies, every day.
KREUK: I don’t think they’ll be in every episode, but I think there will be some to carry it through. That wouldn’t make sense. She’s a detective. She’s not going to go around taking people, all the time. I think that will happen sometimes. I think people will respond to it a lot, so they’re going to want to do more. It will be interesting to see how it goes.
How long did it take to shoot the subway fight scene in the pilot?
KREUK: I was really sick, during the shoot of the pilot. We did a two week shoot, and I was really sick, so I didn’t learn the fight sequence until pretty late in the game. I think we had a full day to shoot that. Since then, I’ve done a huge fight that was at the end of the day, after multiple chase scenes. It’s started getting faster, but I learn most things quick. I have a dance background.
In the original series, Catherine’s purpose was to be rescued a lot, but this Catherine is a really good martial arts fighter. Is it fun to play someone who is really good at defending herself?
KREUK: Yeah. After Catherine sees her mom killed in front of her, she’s very committed to being somebody who doesn’t have that happen, ever again. So, it’s cool for me to be able to take all that I’ve learned, in the span of my life, and have that be something I can pull from. I started doing martial arts when I was a kid. I don’t often get that kind of role, although I get to do it periodically, which is a lot of fun for me.
KREUK: I can’t use it. I would get destroyed. I’m not Maggie Q. I can look decent doing it, but I’d probably not want to fight anybody.
What’s fun about the discipline?
KREUK: I love physical movement. Dance was my favorite thing, and I was a gymnast. I find that expression through movement is easier, in some ways, than expression through words. There’s something very satisfying about the practice of it, even in yoga. It feels centering to use my body, in that way.
Have you seen the original series, with Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman?
KREUK: I’ve only seen a little bit. I didn’t have TV, growing up. My parents didn’t watch TV either.
What did you like about what you saw of it?
KREUK: I loved the romance between them, and his goodness. I’m very interested in morality, so that was really important. How we become moral and understand good and bad, and how we overcome our impulse towards violence, is all really important to me, as a person. I liked that about it.
Are you glad that you’re not visiting the sewer to see Vincent?
KREUK: In many ways, I’m glad that we’re not in the sewer. That’s helpful.
KREUK: Yes! She’s been shooting in Toronto, doing a guest spot on Lost Girl, and she actually signed photos for Jay [Ryan] and I. It was unexpected and surprising and wonderful. I got it on our first day of work, and it’s in my trailer. It feels really cool to have her know about what we’re doing, and wish us well. It’s rad!
Do you think she might ever do a guest appearance?
KREUK: We would love her to. I think all of us have talked about it.
Do you watch more TV now?
KREUK: I do watch more TV than I used to watch. I love Breaking Bad. I know everyone says that, but I love it. And I love Game of Thrones. I like to take series and watch them, all the way through. The Wire is my favorite show ever made. There is some really good TV right now.
What was it like to move to the east side of the country, going from Vancouver to Toronto?
KREUK: It was tough. Honestly, it was really hard. This cast is incredible and we’re really tight, so that makes it easy. And I work every day and am in every scene, which also makes it easy, in that sense. But, it was hard. I have my boyfriend, down here. I’ve got my dog, my family and my best friends that I’ve had, for years and years and years. You can’t build those old friendships right away. They take a long time.
What’s it like working with Jay Ryan?
KREUK: Jay and I get along really well. It’s so wonderful. I feel very comfortable with him. I feel like we giggle a lot. There’s an easiness to it. So, we have a good friendship developing already and that makes it so easy.
How did you develop that slow-burn romantic tension, which is at the core of the show?
KREUK: That’s an interesting question. I think that’s just the nature of how the two characters relate, based on their own individual struggles. Catherine doesn’t want to acknowledge that she might feel vulnerable, in that way, so she’s making it about the case. She’s like, “We need to just figure out what happened to my mom, and this will be over.” She really doesn’t want to connect to that vulnerability. It’s uncomfortable for her.
KREUK: Yes, I think so.
Jay talked about auditioning with you, with half of his head shaved and having to wear an awful wig. What went through your head, when you see him looking like that?
KREUK: Well, I came in and he had the side of his head shaved, and I was like, “That’s an interesting hairdo,” but I didn’t really think about it. I think he focuses on it more than I focused on it, to be honest. It was a terrible wig and he was self-conscious about it, but it was fine. I wasn’t focusing on that. I’ve seen bad wigs before.
Do you look forward to pushing the envelope with this?
KREUK: Absolutely! I want to push the envelope. I want to really challenge myself. Where we started and where we ended with Smallville was a huge shift. I think that we can do that, faster and better here, so I’m excited about that.
KREUK: I don’t think I realized it before, but you can play with metaphor, in a really intense way. You can look at Beast as someone who actually, physically turns into a beast, which is a great metaphor. When you’re more of a straight drama that’s very realistic, you still explore those concepts, but you don’t get to amp it up to the degree that you do when you have something that’s supernatural, where your metaphors can be really fun.
How does it feel to be a part of this generation’s Superman, with your work on Smallville?
KREUK: It’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I haven’t reflected on it, in that sense. I saw the trailer for the new Superman that’s coming out and I was like, “That feels so different than what’s been done before.” It’s got such a gritty realism to it that could be really intriguing. I don’t know how it will turn out because it’s such a short trailer and I can’t tell, but I love it. I am a sucker for what it takes to build character. I like that stuff.
When you were a teenager, you were working and busy, almost always in your hometown of Vancouver. Do you see yourself as having lived a charmed life, so far?
KREUK: I do. I have had a very charmed life. I look at what’s happened in my life, and I feel so lucky. I don’t know how it occurred. I didn’t plan it, but I got to be with my family when I needed to be with my family. I got to go and travel the world, doing these amazing projects, and I feel like I’m so privileged and grateful.