The CW’s Beauty and the Beast is a modern retelling of the 1980s network drama. But this version, on The CW, is not so “on the surface” obvious about what is “beastly” about its male lead, Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan). Though the production company did acquire the rights to the original show and instructed new series creators Sherri Cooper and Jennifer Lavin that the pilot would be a retelling, both women felt some they would do the audience a disservice not to think outside the box a little bit.
“It’s about the beast in our lives,” Lavin explained during the TCA presentation in Los Angeles earlier today.
“The beasts in our lives don’t look like beasts [but] what happens when you fall in love with a beast? It’s more beastliness that is inside that was more interesting to us.”
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“Which one of us doesn’t love a beast– a guy with a lot of baggage?” She continued, implying that Vincent may just be the prototypical “bad boy” that this network does so well.
But this particular bad boy riles up into savage rages he can’t control, taking the stereotype a bit farther than usual. At least, that was the vibe in the room during the show’s panel. The notion that Vincent’s “beastliness” would only grow over the course of the season as he was triggered by new things led journalists to wonder just how far things would go. Though series producers promised he would never turn it around on Catherine (Kristin Kreuk) and put her in danger, the truth of the matter is, they are embarking on a very contentious relationship, with both of them hardened, guarded, and quick to react out of anger. As new threats present themselves– to both characters (including the addition of other beasts and potentially even a female one)– they are bound to butt heads and perhaps even come to blows.
Series star Ryan considers Vincent and his Beast more of a “Jekyll & Hyde,” noting that as the series goes on, the beast element will develop into more of a serial killer, while Vincent tries to suppress him.
In the pilot, Vincent’s beast side comes out when he is enraged– but thus far he has been able to focus those violent tendencies toward others who are homicidal, so he is almost a superhero. However, the producers pointed out that he has some other skeletons in his closet and the first season will take time to explore a past situation that went badly– a person Vincent’s beast killed wasn’t a murderer himself.
Still, Cooper doesn’t want the audience to think the show is glamorizing or justifying any type of violent behavior or abusive relationships.
“We’re very aware of that line, and I guess there is this moral code underneath it. We’re careful not to cross that. We don’t want to put that out there for women whatsoever. He’s got the baggage…but he’s not attacking her,” she defended the romanticism of the relationship.
Ryan pointed out that Catherine comes in and makes Vincent more comfortable with his beastly side, helping him turn it into something he can use at his advantage– for good– rather than to destroy. The conflict between the two characters will be balanced, and Catherine will be able to “give as good as she gets” when it comes to physically taking on enemies.
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But it is the obstacle of the first season– above and beyond the overall mystery of the who and why of Catherine’s mother’s murder– that Vincent and Catherine will undoubtedly dance around a push and pull to each other that neither of them wants to commit to, especially in the beginning.
“At the start of this series, she’s going to see things in very black and white,” Cooper explained. “Most cops do in a lot of ways and a lot of us do in a lot of ways. It’s very complicated. You want to get out, but you’re already half-in, ad he’s got this moral code, but is it his fault or is it a disease?”
Cooper drove home that though Vincent does have this “little bit of an issue,” both characters have a sense of darkness and loss, and they may find more to relate to in each other than they expected at first glance. Though the series is a case of the week procedural, Cooper vowed that the heart of the show is in the romance between Vincent and Catherine– but the romance, for a number of reasons, obviously, is not your typical (television or otherwise) one.
“Our version of love today is that you save each other,” Lavin stated.
But we have to wonder, in 2012, should we still expect/need someone else to save us, or shouldn’t we know enough to work on ourselves? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Beauty and the Beast premieres on October 11th 2012 at 9 p.m. Stay tuned right here for our advance review of the pilot.
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