When The CW re-make of the cult classic TV series “Beauty and the Beast” premieres Thursday night (Oct. 11), you can take an educated guess as to which lead Kristin Kreuk will be playing.
The 29-year-old Canadian-born actress, who rose to fame as “Smallville’s” Lana Lang, is now the object of affection of a different kind of legendary heroic figure. In "Beast," Kreuk's character Catherine Chandler is re-imagined as a street smart police detective determined to uncover the secrets behind her mother’s murder, with the aid of a genetically altered mystery man named Vincent (Jay Ryan).
Kreuk settled in for a chat about the allure of reinventing the much beloved series, which itself was a contemporary spin on the enduring fairy tale.
Have you seen the original series?
I've only seen a little bit. I missed it – I didn't have TV growing up. I love the romance between them and I love what I saw as his goodness. I'm very interested in morality, and so that to me is really important. How is it that we become moral and understand good and bad, and how do we overcome our impulse towards violence?
Are you glad you're not visiting the sewers to see Vincent, like in the original?
In many ways I'm glad that we're not in the sewer! That's helpful.
Does Catherine have her own dark side?
I think the whole concept is that we all do. It's not like a dark side…I think there's things about ourselves that we want to hide, that we think are bad – sometimes they are destructive and sometimes they are violent. Even if it's something you say to me and I get pissed and I say something mean to you, that's violent. So for Catherine, she's got a lot of stuff that she's buried down and her impulse towards revenge, which is a violent act and isn't okay. She understands it's her impulse towards stopping these people that hurt her mom – she believes that somehow that's going to make it better. But Vincent in some ways knows that it won't, that no matter how much you exact justice in the world it won't make the feeling go away. That is her darkness.
You’ve received a formal blessing from the original Catherine, Linda Hamilton?
She's been shooting in Toronto doing a guest spot on "Lost Girl," and she actually signed photos for Jay and I both, and it was unexpected and surprising and wonderful. I got it on our first day of work, and it's in my trailer, and it feels really cool to have her know about what we're doing and wishing us well.
What's it been like playing a cop?
Tough, for me. I don't walk in to a room with an authoritative stance. I tend to be a little more submissive, in a sense, 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.
What's it like working with your Beast, Jay Ryan?
Jay and I get along really well. It's so wonderful. I feel very comfortable with him. I feel like we giggle a lot and 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?
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 making it about, '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.
What do you like about telling stories in these genres, as you also did in “Smallville?”
I don't think I realized this, but you can play with metaphor in a really intense way. You can look at Beast as a beast, someone who actually physically turns into a beast, which is a great metaphor. Whereas I think when you're more straight drama that's very realistic, you explore those concepts still, 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.
"Beauty & the Beast" airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on the CW network.