Kristin Kreuk isn't just another 'Beauty' in this roleLorena Blas, USA TODAY 4:59p.m. EDT October 18, 2012
Former 'Smallville' actress takes on action role in new CW series. "Being a cop" is a challenge, Kreuk says.
STORY HIGHLIGHTSShe played Lana Lang in 'Smallville,' and now plays the Beauty alongside the BeastHer character is a woman with power, and "empowering young women is really important"Fans should keep an eye out for 'Space Milkshake'
Kristin Kreuk revels in her new role as a female detective with an unusual new man in her life.
She plays Catherine Chandler, in the drama Beauty and the Beast, which airs Thursday night on CW (9 ET/PT). Yes, she's the Beauty to Jay Ryan's Beast, who goes by the name of Vincent. Smallville devotees will remember Kreuk as Lana Lang.
Kreuk, 29, is a little too young to remember very much of the original late 1980s CBS television series, starring Linda Hamilton and Sons of Anarchy star Ron Perlman. "I watched a bit of it after we started. But our show's quite different," Kreuk explains.
For example, Hamilton's Catherine was an assistant district attorney. And Perlman's Vincent was born with his unique appearance, while Ryan's character turns into a beast, à la the Incredible Hulk, when he is enraged.
The lead role is perfect for Kreuk, who with business partner Kendra Voth started a website designed to encourage girls to feel empowered.
The actress recently took some time out from shootingBeauty and the Beast in Toronto to talk about the series.
Q: How did the role come about for you?
A: "Someone called me about it. I met with the producers ... and they were just really lovely and I liked talking with them and I thought that it would be really interesting to collaborate with them on this project."
Q: Had you ever seen the earlier series with Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman?
A: "Oh, I think that I missed it. Being born in '82, I never really watched it. I have a recollection a little bit maybe of reruns, something, but I never really watched the show. I remember the poster for some reason."
Q: How would you describe your character, Catherine?
A: "She kind of has her life split in two: which is kind of pre-Mom being assassinated in front of her and post-Mom being assassinated in front of her. She's a very driven woman who has really decided to be a detective in order to take control of everything to make sure that bad stuff doesn't happen anymore, to kind of make sense of the world. (There are) the good guys and the bad guys, and if you get the bad guys, then everything's OK. She is kind of Type A. She's not very good with men. She's pretty funny. She's really quite solid. And she's pretty exciting primarily as a strong urban woman."
Q: What is the most challenging thing about playing this character or working on this show?
A: "Being a cop. There's a certain authority that being a cop or being a detective — you carry with you at all times. You're the one that's behind that yellow line. You're the one that is there when the public isn't allowed to be there. You see everything, everything about humanity that most people don't want to look at and don't want to believe, in some ways, exists. And so for me, it's tough to carry that authority with me all the time. I tend to be a little more shy, maybe a little more reserved, maybe less like ... I'm a little more Canadian, you know. So to carry that is challenging."
Q: What is the most rewarding thing?
A: "She's so layered and interesting. I get to play a lot because she's living a dual existence. She has her cop life and she now has this whole world with this beast creature who is kind of difficult to understand and unpredictable and is counter to everything — all the structure that she's put in place in her life to feel OK. For me, that unraveling is fascinating."
Q: Do you think that there are a lot of people who compartmentalize everything going on in their lives?
A: "I think there are degrees obviously. I mean, I compartmentalize aspects of my life. I have a certain awareness of it, but I know that I do it. Literally, when you're in one compartment, you don't remember what happened in the other compartment. ... I think that to cope, people do that sometimes. For Catherine, it's to cope, but it's also to protect a secret. That's tough."
Q: You've done TV series before, but is there anything different about this experience for you?
A: "Oh so much is different about this experience. I think coming into this being nearly 30 is really wonderful. I have a certain insight and experience. I have a certain perspective. I have certain realistic expectations about television and the process, and I don't get as caught up in things or stressed out about things. I feel like I can share my voice. I have a certain confidence in myself now that I didn't before. That feels so freeing and I love it."
Q: So if you weren't an actor, what would you be doing?
A: Interesting question. I haven't thought about that in a long time. I want to produce. That's ultimately where I would love to move into from acting into creative production. There are many other things I'm interested in, but realistically, that's where I'd want to go without going back to school."
Q: I've read about your involvement in a website called Girls By Design (girlsbydesign.com). Can you please tell me in your own words a little something about it?
A: "The intent for Girls by Design was to have a place where young women could come to, you know, mostly teenagers, could come and have a very real experience. Right now, it's mostly a blog and we have girls that write articles on it. Ultimately, it would be great if we could have a full magazine-style website — with a self-esteem-building contest — that is really focused on empowering as opposed to selling."
Q: Why is this project so important to you?
A: "I think empowering young women is really important. I think that a lot of the way that we have been marketed to and the way that we have been represented and the way we represent ourselves — not to take our responsibility out of it — is really limiting. I really struggled with that in school, and I got really angry about the way that we were represented. I wanted to change that and be part of getting girls out there and excited and driven to participate in society in a powerful way. And I think that if we did do that, we'd have a lot wonderful effects. I'm a little idealistic, and I want to live in a peaceful loving world."
Q: Do you have any other projects coming up that your fans can look forward to?
A: "I finished a funny little (sci-fi) comedy a while ago called Space Milkshake (with Amanda Tapping, Robin Dunne and Billy Boyd). I don't know when it's being released or how it's being released. I imagine it'll be small. It's pretty goofy and fun."