Beauty and the Beast at TCAs: The "Beastliness" Is On the Inside

Guys, Beauty and the Beast is the new show that will be airing on The CW this fall following The Vampire Diaries. It's theoretically based on the old '80s show that starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman as interspecies (?) crime-fighting pals, but you may not know that from watching it. Whereas the original Vincent was some kind of lion-esque subspecies of hobo, the new Vincent is the unfortunate recipient of animal DNA via military testing, with some residual split-personality issues. He has a scar on his face. Great body though.

Star Jay Ryan explains: "He's actually more like Jekyll & Hyde. The beast side is more like a serial killer. You don't see much of that in the pilot, but you will later." Executive Producer Jennifer Levin concurs: "It's more a beastliness on the inside." When reminded that this beast also fights bad guys and thus he's good on the inside as well, Executive Producer Sherri Cooper clarifies: "He's a super soldier gone bad... He's gonna become beastlier, and story-wise we're going to explore why. He is going to get worse."

Star Kristin Kreuk's Catherine will have a similar moxie to Linda Hamilton's original district attorney heroine, but with a slightly more tragic back story: "I think after she sees her mom getting killed in front her her, she becomes committed to never seeing that happen again." Despite that underlying heaviness, Kreuk seems genuinely upbeat about getting to be a bit more physical than Lana Lang. "I don't often get that kind of role, although I do get to do that periodically, which is fun for me."

If you're wondering how exactly this show came to nab a coveted spot on the limited CW lineup, here's the official explanation. Says Cooper: "We had the rights to the '80s show, we were told this would be a reboot, a re-imagining. That's why we named them Catherine and Vincent." Asked why the property will be so different from the original, Cooper elaborates: "We love the '80s show but felt like we didn't want to copy that. We wanted Catherine to be somebody who'd be saved by Vincent but could also save him. We wanted to understand why Vincent was a beast. For some reason we just really wanted to understand how Vincent came to be. The great thing The CW told us is, we didn't have to be beholden to anything. We also talked a lot about 9/11 and how that affected our generation."

As for what a potential first season looks like, Executive Producer Brian Peterson teases: "We want the show to be very fast-moving. We'll answer questions immediately." Adds Levin: "There definitely will be more villains coming up. We've talked about other beasts. A female beast."

When asked whether centering a show on a romance in which the male character is literally dangerous to the heroine could constitute a blase attitude toward domestic violence, Cooper is quick to clarify: "We're very aware of that line. I guess there is this moral code underneath it and we're careful not to cross it. We don't want to put that [idea] out there for women whatsoever. There's that fine line, he's got that baggage. He's not attacking her."

Beauty & The Beast premieres Thursday, October 11 at 9pm on The CW.

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