Kristin Kreuk on ‘Beauty and the Beast’

The former ‘Smallville’ costar talks about coming home to The CW and playing a tough cop.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

The CW is where Kristin Kreuk got her start, or at least half of it is. “Smallville” premiered on the WB; which later merged with UPN to become the CW.

Now Kreuk stars in the new version of “Beauty and the Beast.” Catherine (Kreuk) is now a detective and the Beast, Vincent (Jay Ryan) is an Iraqi War veteran. We got to speak with Kreuk at the Television Critics Association press tour after the CW’s “Beauty and the Beast” panel.

CraveOnline: Will there be fights for Catherine in every episode?
Kristin Kreuk: I don't think every episode but I think there will be some to carry it through but it doesn’t make sense. She’s a detective, right? She’s not going to go around kicking people all the time. It’s really I think that we’ll have it sometimes.
CraveOnline: Well, in movies and TV, that is what detectives do all the time.
Kristin Kreuk: Right, they do, not on every show but I don't think it’ll be all the time. I think people responded a lot to it so then they’re going to want to do more. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes.
CraveOnline: How long did it take to shoot the fight scene in the subway, and how did you learn the moves like dodging the knife?
Kristin Kreuk: That fight, I was really sick shooting 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 might’ve had a full day to shoot that. Now we have a huge fight that we’re shooting on Tuesday. It’s the end of the day after multiple chase scenes and a full scene. It’s at the very end of the day so it’ll start getting a little faster but I learn those things quick. Dance background.
CraveOnline: Was that shot in the secret subway station that’s below the actual one?
Kristin Kreuk: Yes, yes, yes. There’s a secret subway station in Toronto. There’s one below the main subway that used to be running and doesn’t run anymore so you can shoot in there all night long and it doesn’t matter.
CraveOnline: In real life, what is your strength as a fighter if you had to use it?
Kristin Kreuk: No, I can’t use it. I would get destroyed. I’m not Maggie Q. I can look decent doing it and I would probably not want to fight anybody, so there’s that.
CraveOnline: What is fun about the discipline for you?
Kristin Kreuk: I love physical movement. Dance was my favorite thing and I was a gymnast and I find that expression through movement is easier in some ways than expression through words. There’s something very satisfying about, even in yoga, the practice of it. It feels centering to use my body in that way.
CraveOnline: Does Catherine have her own dark side?
Kristin Kreuk: I think the whole concept is we all do. And it’s not like a dark side, but there are 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 you say something to me and I get pissed and I say something mean to you.

So for Catherine, she has a lot of stuff that she’s buried down and her impulse towards revenge which is a violent act isn’t okay. Her impulse, and she understands it’s her impulse towards stopping these people that hurt her mom, and 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, I don't know, justice in the world, it won’t make that feeling go away and that is her darkness.
CraveOnline: What is the dynamic between you and Jay Ryan?
Kristin 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 and there’s an easiness to it so we have a good friendship developing already and that makes it so easy.
CraveOnline: How did you develop that slow burn romantic tension?
Kristin Kreuk: That’s an interesting question. I think that it’s just the nature of how the two characters relate, based on their own individual struggles. Catherine doesn’t want to acknowledge that she may feel vulnerable in that way so she’s making it about a 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.
CraveOnline: Will there be other love interests for her to challenge Vincent?
Kristin Kreuk: Yes. I think so. Yes, yes.
What went through your head when you saw Jay at the audition with a half shaved head from his previous role?
Kristin Kreuk: Well, I came in and he just had the side of his head shaved. I was just 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.
CraveOnline: Did they make him wear a wig?
Kristin Kreuk:
It was a terrible wig and he was a little self-conscious about it but it was fine. I wasn’t focusing on that. I’ve seen bad wigs before.


CraveOnline: Is being on The CW like coming home?
Kristin Kreuk: A little bit. I know almost everybody in all the departments, so I feel like I can say hi. I like that. I like the comfort level of that.
CraveOnline: You did some interesting movies, but were movies not all they were cracked up to be?
Kristin Kreuk: No, I did a whole bunch of indies that probably didn’t come to the States.
CraveOnline: I did see Vampire at Sundance.
Kristin Kreuk: Oh, that was creepy and I loved doing that. It was such an amazing experience for me. I love doing independent film. It’s just different and I did think that this show offered me an opportunity to build an interesting, complex female character in a role that truly young women could look up to. Not because she kicks people but because of the other aspects of her character that I hope we can develop as time goes by.
CraveOnline: Any word on Linda Hamilton coming on your “Beauty and the Beast?”
Kristin Kreuk: We would love her to. I think all of us have talked about it. We’ll see what happens. I think she’s a Canadian resident now.
CraveOnline: Did she autograph pictures from the original series for you?
Kristin Kreuk: Well, they were of the original series. I think they were probably just printed from online. It was sweet.
CraveOnline: Have you seen the original series?
Kristin Kreuk: I’ve only seen a little bit. I missed it. I didn’t have TV growing up.
CraveOnline: Did your parents tell you about it?
Kristin Kreuk: No, because my parents didn’t watch TV either.
CraveOnline: What did you like about what you saw?
Kristin Kreuk:
You know what, I love the romance between them and I love, what I saw, his goodness. I’m very interested in morality so that to me is really important. How is it that we become moral and understand good and bad? How do we overcome our impulse towards violence? All of that is really important to me as a person so yeah, I liked that about it.
CraveOnline: Are you borrowing anything from any other versions of “Beauty and the Beast?”
Kristin Kreuk: No, I don’t want to play from any of that. I think this is so different so I’d want to tell the story that this team wants to tell. I think that the scenes are going to bleed through and those are the things we’re exploring.
CraveOnline: Are you glad you’re not visiting the sewer to go see Vincent?
Kristin Kreuk: In many ways I am glad that we’re not in the sewer. That’s helpful.
CraveOnline: Have you talked to any of the cast of “Arrow” about doing a superhero show?
Kristin Kreuk: Stephen Amell and I seem to cross paths. We’ll do a photo shoot together. It’s funny because he’s from Toronto and they’re shooting in Vancouver. We haven’t talked about that a lot. I think that Stephen’s got a good handle on things and I think that show’s going to be a big hit for The CW and I think that he’s excited about it which is great. He’s going into it with a sense of what may happen and being excited about it.
CraveOnline: What do you like about telling stories in these types of genres?
Kristin Kreuk: I don’t think I realized this, but you can play with metaphor in a really intense way. You can look at Beast as like a Beast, someone who actually physically turns into a beast, which is a great metaphor, you know. 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.


CraveOnline: What does it mean to be part of your generation of Superman? “Smallville” will be to a lot of people an example of the way you’re supposed to do Superman.
Kristin Kreuk: Yeah, it’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I think that I haven’t reflected on it in that sense but I look at the trailer for the new Superman that’s coming out. I saw it the other night and obviously there’s nothing in it. It’s just the voiceover and the imagery but I’m 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’ll turn out and it’s such a short trailer and I can’t tell, but I love it. And I am a sucker for what does it take to build character? I like that stuff.
CraveOnline: Did you see that trailer while going to see The Dark Knight Rises?
Kristin Kreuk: I did.
CraveOnline: How did you like The Dark Knight Rises?
Kristin Kreuk: I liked it. I mean, I loved his last one more obviously.
CraveOnline: That’s okay, I think we all love The Dark Knight more but Rises is still good.
Kristin Kreuk: I know. I know. I thought Anne Hathaway was wonderful in that role. I thought she was really complicated and interesting.
CraveOnline: There’s nothing I don’t like about Rises. I just love it a little less than the other two, which I think is the most positive way you can put something like that.
Kristin Kreuk: It’s true. It was well shot, it was interesting but again, I keep talking about the same things. The psychological exploration in The Dark Knight itself was just so incredible to me. I left uncomfortable and faced with a lot of human nature that doesn’t feel good to me, and I thought that was important.
CraveOnline: Do comic book companies ever court you to try to create something?
Kristin Kreuk: No, no. I don't know comic books well and I don't know if I’d do them justice I can think of other people that understand the comic book world way [better]. I don't know anything.
CraveOnline: What’s it like playing a cop?
Kristin Kreuk: Tough for me. You guys know me, you see me right now. My position doesn’t tend to be one of authority. I don’t walk into a room with an authoritative stand. 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. So I love it because it’s such a challenge for me to go out there and take that position.
CraveOnline: Would you do ride-alongs as research?
Kristin Kreuk: I didn’t go yet but I’d like to. I talked to a couple of female detectives which was amazing to talk with them. One of them who is a consultant on our show now, she’s blonde, like long blonde hair, small like me, she’s short and she’s been a detective for like 20 years. She I think consults on “Southland” as well so it was really interesting to talk to her and what her experience is like because as a woman, and I think with the show too.

It’s like "Kristin? How could she be a detective?" But there are women that are in my position that are like me that do this all the time and I think that’s really interesting because I think about it and I think it’d be very challenging to go and be with dead bodies every day.
CraveOnline: What was it like pulling up roots and moving to the east?
Kristin 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, I’m in every scene which also makes it easy in that sense, but it was hard. I mean, I have my boyfriend down here, I’ve got my dog, my family, my best friends that I’ve had for years and years and years. And those old friendships, you can’t build them right away. They take a whole time.
CraveOnline: What do you like about Toronto?
Kristin Kreuk: Toronto’s a city. Vancouver’s not a real city like that and I love it but Toronto’s vibrant and the culture’s vibrant and the food and there’s people out and they’re out at night, until the morning. Vancouver isn’t that way at all and I love that. I mean, Toronto’s a great city. It’s just my issue moving myself.
CraveOnline: Are you bumping into other Vancouver actors in Toronto?
Kristin Kreuk: Everyone is moving. Let me tell you, everyone is moving to Toronto because a lot of production has moved to Toronto. Where things used to shoot in Vancouver, they’re shooting in Toronto so a lot of my friends are in Toronto now, actors especially.