Kristin Kreuk increased The CW’s army of butt-kicking females when her new drama, “Beauty and the Beast,” premiered last month.
The debut episode of the reimagined 1980s series had Kristin’s Catherine Chandler, a smart New York City detective, taking down two secret agents bent on killing her (Nikita – need some backup?), before her ally and secret protector – Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan) – swooped in and took out the third.
Slotted in right after “Vampire Diaries,” at 9/8c on Thursday nights, the show has gone head-to-head in the ratings with two election debates. But for post-debate newcomers looking for a little drama, tonight’s the night to tune in. Muirfield, the secret group that conducted the experiments that turned soldier (and doctor) Vincent into a “Beast,” is about to come into the light – and into play, challenging Catherine’s growing feelings for Vincent. Kristin told AccessHollywood.com what to expect, and how she’s handling her physically intensive role.
AccessHollywood.com: Poor you in this series — you’re sliding under fences in the dirt, you’re running all the time. We’re you surprised at how physical this role ended up being?
Kristin Kreuk: I was… We really established Catherine in the first four episodes as someone who is capable of physically taking care of herself, which is great for her dynamic as a person because it makes sense that she would do that. But it’s been fun. I like that she’s not prissy – a detective wouldn’t be. You’d get under the fence like, ‘Who cares if you’re gonna get dirty?’ Right?
Access: When I talked to your co-star Jay at the beginning of the season — and he considers Vincent to be very physical – we talked about how he started buying fitness magazines, got a trainer, and a new diet. You’ve always been physically fit, but did you ramp up your routine somehow?
Kristin: No, not really (laughs). I am pretty physically fit and capable to a certain degree and I just work out. I don’t do as much yoga as I did before because it’s harder to get to classes because I’m more at the gym than I was before, which changes my physicality to a certain degree… For him, it’s a different thing because he’s a super soldier and his DNA is supposed to be crazy animal like, so it makes sense for him to really change the shape of his body. For me, I wanted to make myself a little more muscular looking, but that was it.
Access: Every episode I think you’re running at least three times.
Kristin: The episode where Nina [Lisandrella, who plays Catherine’s partner, Tess] and I have this massive chase scene — I think it was the first episode after the pilot — I was sore for two weeks. We were sprinting so fast for so long, the two of us were like, ‘What is happening!’ It was the middle of summer… How often do you sprint, like really sprint? Since high school I haven’t sprinted.
Access: Last week, Vincent gave Catherine his cell phone number, which due to his fears over Muirfield, is only active for three days. Does that mean he’s into her, at least for a short period of time?
Kristin: For three days! I think that, for her, it means he trusts her, and that’s a big deal for her.
Access: In a normal relationship, that’s probably a deal breaker.
Kristin: Yes, it would be, but in their circumstances, it’s a leap of faith, although he has been following her for 10 years, so he knows her pretty well. For her, he’s saying that he trusts her — and that’s really important — and that he wants to continue to relate with her, which is also very important to her because she cares about him a lot.
Access: Do you think he kind of wants to spend time with her because she’s the only girl he’s had interactions with in the last five years? He can’t exactly date.
Kristin: From Catherine’s perspective, God, I hope not (laughs)! Like, ‘I only want to hang out with you because you’re the only girl that talks to me,’ would suck for her. I can’t answer it from his perspective, [but] from her perspective, there’s so much that goes on with her relationship to Vincent and it’s tangled in so many traumatic experiences and fears and hopes and he’s mixed up in all of that for her.
Access: So, the secret group Muirfield that turned Vincent into a super soldier — this week they are going to try and use Catherine to get to Vincent. She’s smart enough to know these people aren’t trustworthy, right?
Kristin: Yeah, she knows they’re not trustworthy and she knows that they’re involved in some way in her mother’s murder. She doesn’t know the full thing yet. But that’s part of Catherine’s weakness – is that anything that has to do with her mom and what happened to her mom has been her motivating factor for 10 years and I think that this episode, they’re going to try and use her against Vincent and you’ll see how that happens exactly. But she struggles between her heart, which says, ‘This is a good man,’ and, ‘He’s a victim in many ways; he’s like her mom,’ [and then] they provide her with all this information [where she thinks], ‘There’s also all these things he does that aren’t OK.’
Access: How dangerous are they to her or is she somewhat protected because she’s a high profile detective?
Kristin: She’s not protected in any way. [They are a] big organization that they could make something happen and no one would know… She is definitely not safe and neither is anyone in her life. Catherine has been — for the last few episodes — kind of naive to all of this and it’s becoming more and more clear to her that they’re really a scary group of people and it’s important to take them seriously.
Access: Speaking of taking people seriously, when I did talk to Jay, I remember he said all of the guys on set — their jaws drop open when they see you do fight scenes. Are you aware of this?
Kristin: No! I don’t know if that’s true. I think Jay is exaggerating.
Access: He seemed sincere when he said it — and awestruck! Are you noticing the crew guys get nervous around you?
Kristin: No, I’m a goofball. Like I can turn it on and do the fight scene, but ultimately I’m pretty silly, so I don’t think anyone feels threatened by me. I think that sometimes people have certain expectations and when you don’t meet them, they’re kind of like, ‘Whoa! What the heck just happened?’ And I think that maybe that this is the case [here]. I’m not sure (laughs).
“Beauty and the Beast” airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.
-- Jolie Lash