BEAUTY & THE BEAST: Jay Ryan Interview re Season 1 (2012)

beauty and the beast

Last week introduced viewers to the murky world of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, a world where Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan) hides in the shadows, trying to keep the beast in side him at bay. But in a twist of fate, a young woman he had rescued years before came back into his life in such a way that he could no longer hide from the outside world. Detective Catherine Chandler (Kristin Kreuk) may not have intended to unearth the one person who may hold the key to her mother’s unsolved murder, but recognizing Vincent from that fateful day, she could not stay away. Alas, this only tipped off a government organization that had been searching for Vincent and now they are both caught in the crosshairs as Muirfield circles closer and closer.

In an exclusive interview, star Jay Ryan took a few moments to share the inner turmoil that Vincent struggles with and what kind of threat the beast within still poses to everyone around him.

In this upcoming second episode, how much of presence does Muirfield have in it? Are we going to start seeing one identifiable villain, or will it more black suit-kind of guys?
JAY: In episodes 2 and 3, Muirfield reveals one of the villains of the series. Muirfield has started to pick up on Vincent’s connection with Catherine, and it gives them bait to not only go after Vincent, but to go after something that is precious to him: Catherine. So we start to see a character called Silver Fox, who we saw in the pilot. He sort of heads up Muirfield — or rather the Vincent-beast part of it — and he sort of starts to creep his way in. But not by going directly after Vincent, but by going after Catherine knowing that once Vincent finds out that he’s going to let himself be a little more easily drawn into their net.

What kind of effect does the threat of Muirfield closing in have on Catherine and Vincent’s potential relationship?
JAY: Vincent had been lulled into some sense of a normal life when he meets Catherine, but he learns very quickly the risks. He’s not stupid, so he understands the consequences that Catherine’s involvement with him puts on her and he knows how vicious and deadly Muirfield are. So he starts to question whether the relationship with Catherine is worth it for her in terms of her safety, and there is a moment where he starts to back away from Catherine and their burgeoning relationship. So I guess Muirfield makes a dent in their relationship very quickly. However, Catherine is very alpha and strong-willed, so she just finds Muirfield another challenge that she wants to overcome to save Vincent.

Talking a bit about the beast transformation, when Vincent becomes the beast does he lose all self-control or mind-control? How does that affect him?
JAY: Initially when they experimented and created these beasts, almost unintentionally — they were supposed to be super soldiers, but they turned into these beast creatures — but right from the start when the genetic experiments added these beasts within them, they were uncontrollable. That’s why Muirfield shut down the experiment very quickly; because once they made them, they could not control them. They were playing God and it went awry. But over the past decade, since Vincent has been hiding with J.T. — and J.T. is a biochemist and Vincent has his medical background — together they have been researching what creates this beast within him and what the triggers are. So Vincent has gained some sense of self-control over the beast and when it triggers. I guess that’s why he allows himself to get a little closer to Cat. He feels now that he is not putting her in danger or risk, even though he is still a bit uncertain. He is not sure what this demon inside of him can do at any time. We also play with the idea that Vincent has possibly had relationships in the past that have not turned out well because of this creature within him that has a very killer-instinct. But I guess now, he feels he has some measure of self-control; yet he is just beginning to see how much he trusts himself around Catherine. However, as the series goes along, we do discover that this beast is perhaps becoming stronger and beginning to overtake him a little bit.

At this point is Vincent medically treating himself. Has he and J.T. come up with something to keep the beast contained?
JAY: In the pilot, Vincent has given up. He spent a long time searching for this antidote that will turn him back into the person he was before he enlisted. But I think he’d definitely given up — and then Catherine’s entrance into his life gave him that emotional hope he needed to have a reason to try to find an antidote again. Also, Catherine holds some clues to where that antidote may lie and that could be — without giving too much away — that’s maybe the connection Vincent has with Catherine’s mother.

For you, as an actor, what kind of emotions do you tap into in order to portray the beast?
JAY: I use a lot of imagery to conjure the beast itself and just jump into it on a very physical level when I’m portraying the beast. Vincent, for me, is kind of the vessel for the emotional stuff which triggers the beast and his physicality. But because the way the beast is portrayed in our version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, we don’t give a lot if it away — because it is quite dark in this version of the beast. Vincent goes to such lengths to contain his killer-instinct. So I portray it more on a physical level because we sort of only see flashes at this point in time. It’s almost through a hazy point of view, whenever Catherine around or when there is a person he is attacking. So I guess the triggers that get me in there are with Vincent, it is the emotional level, and for the beast, it is a very physical role — more animalistic. As the series goes on, we’ll get more into the sort of super senses and abilities that the beast has.

What do you think Vincent most appreciates of J.T.’s friendship over the decade they’ve spent together searching for a cure?
JAY: J.T. is the only person that Vincent could go to and without him, Vincent would be a very lonely individual. He probably would not have made it through. Vincent could not have been tracking Catherine for the past 10 years; he would have basically given up because of his guilt over what he had done and the burden of being inhabited by this creature. So J.T. is Vincent’s life-line and it gives him a sense of normality, since he knew Vincent before he became the beast. J.T. is very rationale, and I guess he’s like the foreboding yet nurturing mother — in an odd kind of way. So J.T. is sort of a moral compass to help keep Vincent’s head straight. Thus when Catherine enters Vincent’s life, that relationship between Vincent and J.T. shifts. Vincent is targeting a more personal relationship — emotional and intimate relationship — with Catherine. For him, that’s his next level of trying to reenter society as a normal human being. But it’s J.T.’s job to remind Vincent that he is not a normal person and he cannot be reckless about what he could do to anyone who enters his life.

Even though Vincent and J.T. have such a strong bond, is it still conceivable that Vincent could still pose a threat towards his friend?
JAY: Yes, he is still a threat, but J.T. is aware of all the beasts’ threats. So it’s almost like J.T. can take care of himself around Vincent. That’s the only reason he can stay close and watch over him. Because J.T. knew Vincent before he had this atrocity done to him, Vincent feels like J.T. is the link to his past. But Vincent is definitely a threat to J.T. and that threat will grow since they are both lulled into a false sense of safety. Vincent is threat to anyone and everyone, including himself.

Then what can you share about how Vincent gets involved in the upcoming episode in Cat’s investigation?
JAY: Vincent feels like he can do a lot to help Catherine’s journey as a detective because of his super senses. These are abilities that he can use for good, like his sense of smell, his heightened strength, and his sort of sixth sense; and he sees that as a way into Catherine’s life, to further their relationship. So in this next episode, Vincent is tracking Catherine because he is aware of Muirfield targeting her, and he’s very closely watching her without her knowing. And as he’s following her, he sees something. But because she doesn’t know that she’s being watched by him, he hesitates to tell her. Yet he feels he has to tell her because in this particular case, she’s taken the wrong path. She’s after someone who is innocent. So Vincent’s morals say he has to let her know, even though he does not want her to know that he’s sort of been stalking her for her own protection. So he kind tells her that he wants to help her with her case because he doesn’t want the wrong person to go to jail. At first, Catherine feels uncomfortable, but she then realizes that this is a way he can help her. And that is the way they start to form a relationship. It’s not a romantic one initially because Vincent is a bit of a mess and Catherine also has a lot of issues with relationships. So, for them, this is the best way to start a relationship — sharing common knowledge to save people.

Destiny will not be denied, and no beast could ever keep Catherine and Vincent apart. To see how they rise to the challenge of containing and subduing the beast and evading Muirfield’s thorny net, be sure to tune in for an all new episode of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST on Thursday, October 18th at 9PM on The CW (Showcase in Canada)

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