Beauty and the Beast, traditionally, is a very romantic tale about a young woman who sees the good in a man who looks quite scary. But The CW’s retelling is not nearly as straightforward as that. For one thing, the Beast (Jay Ryan) doesn’t look scary 90% of the time. It is only when he is “triggered” that he transforms into a violent creature. For another, in the original, there was a good heart lying with the man, but Ryan’s Beast may start out well-intentioned but may find that regardless of how good he wants to be—or how good he once was before—he is losing more and more control of that part of him everyday. And honestly, diving into that kind of dark and complex role is what appealed most to Ryan.
“It’s a survival thing. Originally these beasts were made to protect and hunt, but there’s a genetic problem, basically, so he doesn’t actually know, himself, Vincent, what actually triggers him. There’s an element to the series that it can be anything,” he told LA TV Insider Examiner about what excited him most about the character.
“In this point of the game, we believe it’s from anger and emotional sort of triggers as tipping point. But I think for me as the performer, it could be much more spontaneous than that. So I want the character of the Beast to almost overtake Vincent at some point and become more dangerous to himself and others.”
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Ryan considered the Beast within Vincent to be a serial killer type, who we may have seen act as a vigilante thus far in the pilot episode, but as stories will unfold, will be revealed that he may have killed a lot of people—not all of whom necessarily deserved it. And he may not be the only one. Ryan shared that a dream storyline for him would be to come up against another one of his platoon members who isn’t actually dead, either—a guy who hasn’t gone this vigilante route and who Vincent is faced with stopping, even though he may be the only other person in the world who truly understands who he is and what he’s gone through.
His ability, or lack thereof, to get a handle on his new strength and situation will be an on-going battle, and thus far Ryan feels they are barely scratching the surfaces of what he is capable of—let alone why.
“I think the connection, the key to unraveling the secrets for our audience is through Catherine’s mother and her murder, and that’s the biggest secret that Vincent holds from Catherine,” he considered. “It becomes this kind of push and pull relationship where after a while he just gets so sick of her. All she wants is this relationship about her mother…It’s going to unravel; that’s almost like our B storyline, besides the procedural element.”
Ryan was adamant that the relationship was going to be a back and forth between both “Alpha characters,” clinging to a “huge connection” between the two characters that may be unexplainable but will certainly drive the story throughout the course of the whole series.
“You know how with some people you just have a connection—who knows what it is? It’s just chemistry there. They have that. He’s been following her for years and almost protecting her,” Ryan pointed out.
“It’s that relationship that a lot of us have had where when it’s amazing, it’s amazing; you’re on cloud nine. When you’re fighting, you’re throwing plates at each other; you really want to stab each other’s skin open. That kind of kinetic energy is going to be exciting to watch…but the romance, the courting from the original Beauty and the Beast is going to be in our show [too],” he spoke of a surprisingly softer side to Vincent.
“Vincent’s in hiding, so they can’t contact each other the same way. No Facebook, no phones, no Twitter—none of the things we take for granted. They have to do the old Shakespearean way, writing notes, throwing pebbles…that stuff is sort of fun, as well, to balance out the craziness.”
Be sure to check out our full video chat with Ryan for more insight on the character relationships and back story he hopes will be explored through flashbacks!
Beauty and the Beast airs on The CW on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. beginning October 11th 2012. Come back here closer to premiere for our take on the pilot episode.
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