Jay Ryan: We Achieved Something ‘Kind Of Special’ With Beauty And The Beast Season 1

It’s the end of a long, tough and very physically demanding television season for “Beauty and The Beast” star Jay Ryan, and with the finale of the show rolling out tonight on The CW, the actor is in very good spirits.

“It feels great,” Jay, who plays Vincent Keller/The Beast in the show, told AccessHollywood.com of completing his first “BATB” season.

“I’m kind of enjoying doing nothing and sleeping in at the moment and just being an everyday slob, which suits me perfectly,” he continued, with a laugh. “But yeah, it feels great. It feels like we achieved something as a cast that feels kind of special. We kind of came through the troubled patches at the beginning of the series and ‘teething problems,’ so to speak, of the story and the tone of the show and [we’ve] come up with something really good and strong and especially in this finale, I think it’s all there and [we’re] ready to [go] headstrong into Season 2.”

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Jay was (as he told Access at the end of last summer when we profiled him as one of our Fresh Faces of Fall TV) “living in a little beach shack on the coast of Auckland, [New Zealand], basically becoming a little reclusive,” when he got the call that they wanted to see him for the role of Vincent last year.

Although prepping for the Jane Campion miniseries “Top of The Lake” put him in a beastly head space (he was gearing up to play a drug addict and local thug in that project), he wasn’t in a supernatural beastly kind of place. But, because they wanted to see him, specifically, Jay took the chance, tackled a chemistry read with Kristin Kreuk, and after landing the role, spent the season as half of one of TV’s favorite new couples.

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“It’s kind of humbling,” Jay said of the incredibly dedicated fan community (search #BATB on Twitter for proof) that sprung up around the show, rooting on the romance between Kristin’s Catherine and Jay’s Vincent. “It’s lovely to know that they are so emotionally attached to the show and that you have people rooting for you and giving you an opportunity to continue it and make the show that we really wanna make. That fan base is just unbelievable. … It’s such a surreal kind of phenomenon to have this massive group of people around the world to click into the show.”

And the “BATB” devotees also extend down into Jay’s native New Zealand. The original version of the show, with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton, was a hit with Jay and his friends growing up, and his version too has found an audience — including impressing his pals and the next generation.

“It’s been a really big hit in New Zealand, which has been great. There’s a strong fan base there and I did get one comment from one of my friend’s kids who watches it. He said, ‘Man, it’s like you’re a real American actor,’” Jay laughed. “I guess for him to know me as a kiwi guy and see me playing this very sort of supernatural American character in New York City was kind of a bit of a mind boggle for him.”

There will be plenty of the supernatural side of Jay’s American character of Vincent (the former soldier, who underwent military experiments and turns into a beast when triggered) in tonight’s Season 1 finale. With Sendhil Ramamurthy’s Gabe ready to let Jay’s Vincent die so that he can live, viewers can expect a showdown between the two characters that can Beast out.

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“I think Gabe is a good guy at heart, but when Gabe realizes that he’s going to die and the only way that he can continue to live his life is to basically kill Vincent and take Vincent’s DNA and blood, Gabe becomes a very different person very quickly,” Jay explained.

But, with Vincent having recently taken Gabe’s beast-calming pills, and a fight on the way, he will face some serious obstacles.

“When Vincent enters into that [fight], he’s been taking Gabe’s medication so his beast qualities are sort of at level 1, so his strength and his aggressiveness [are] basically at the human level of what he is as Vincent,” the actor hinted.

“Beauty and The Beast” wraps up its first season tonight at 9/8c on The CW.

-- Jolie Lash

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