'Beauty and the Beast's' Kristin Kreuk Talks Season 3, Beasties and 'Smallville'

It's been a long stretch between seasons of "Beauty and the Beast," but star Kristin Kreuk promises Season 3 will be worth the wait.

As the cult CW series kicks off a more compact 13-episode summer run tonight, the actress reprises her role as Catherine Chandler, whose romantic relationship with the beastly Vincent (Jay Ryan) finally has been exposed to the world. Whether that's a good development or a bad one will be at the center of much of the storyline.

Speaking with SPINOFF, Kreuk offered a few tantalizing teases about the likely rocky road ahead for the star-crossed couple, the introduction of each of their extended families, the pioneering qualities of her previous series "Smallville," and the intense devotion of the international fan base known as the "Beasties," whose dedication has already guaranteed a fourth season.

Spinoff Online: What were the elements that got you particularly excited about the third time around?

Kristin Kreuk: What’s interesting about this season is that Vincent and Catherine are together through the season, so it’s not a "will they/won’t they" kind of story. They’re together, but how do they handle it? And how do they handle differing opinions on things? Like in the beginning, we find out Catherine has been withholding certain information from Vincent, while Vincent’s happily been leading this very normal existence and wants to continue leading this normal existence, but she’s starting to question whether or not that’s possible and that kind of drives the beginning of the story. But it’s really very much about their relationship, than about them coming together.

Which new sides or new elements of Catherine were intriguing for you to dig into this time around?

Well, I think what’s interesting for Catherine this season is that she’s kind of wrestling with … it’s not a secret that there’s a proposal that comes up pretty soon in the beginning of the season. She begins to process, I think, in part what that means and how is it possible to have like a normal, healthy relationship with somebody in the midst of the drama that Vincent and Catherine are always going through. So I felt that was interesting this year, for sure.

With a more condensed set of episodes to tell your story, what's been the effect on the season? Did you see that as a positive thing in terms of telling the story?

Yeah, I do think that, generally, 22 episodes is too many [laughs]. I kind of like having a 13-episode season. I think it allows for more concise storytelling where you don’t have to drag things out. So that was really lovely for us to be able to do something short like that.

What’s it been like to have the opportunity to evolve the Catherine/Vincent relationship with Jay Ryan, and to have that experience of growing these characters out?

It’s been great. Jay is a pretty special actor, and I think he’ll go on to do really, if he wants to, really fantastic work. And I feel lucky that I get to work with someone who’s so naturally skilled. He just makes things work, and makes them interesting, and I love that. And in regards to characters, it’s fun for us because for me I think that we both want the best for these two characters. And we want for there to be drama, but we want for these two people to always be involved. And I think that that’s a big part of what the fans respond to.

Am I right that we’re going to see some new family members pop up?

Yeah, definitely! You’re going to see new family members from both sides of the family, from Catherine and from Vincent’s side. There are many ways in which they need to reconcile their pasts before they can move forward as a team. Especially for Catherine because there are some things that subconsciously are pulling her into a past, and she needs to let go of those things and heal those things before she can move forward with Vincent.

What has it meant to you to have started your career on what is now a complete genre, the superhero series? "Smallville" set the model for so many of the shows that are hits today.

The CW is littered with superhero show these days. Back when it was the WB, it was pretty much just us. So it’s pretty neat to see the evolution. I didn’t realize at the time when we were shooting “Smallville” that superheroes would make the comeback that they have. It feels like every other movie and pretty much every other television series is based on a comic book these days, which is neat.

It’s funny, because I think “Smallville” is making a bit of a comeback in Canada because [a national network is] airing all the episodes, so there’s a new generation that’s starting to watch it. I get recognized: I was at my sister’s wedding in Corona and this little girl came up to me and she was like, "Oh, my God, I love 'Smallville' so much!" And I was shocked because that age group could never watch the show, and I realized that “Smallville” is so innocent – so innocent –compared to what’s out there now.

Speaking of fans, not just the show, but the whole “Beauty and the Beast” myth has such a passionate fan base; it still continues to resonate with people. After your involvement in the show for three seasons, what has that come to mean to you -- that sort of broader “Beauty and the Beast” love that’s out there?

Well, there’s a couple of distinctions. There’s people that fell in love with this show -- the Beasties -- and they are super-passionate. And they’re not tied one way or the other to the original story of “Beauty and the Beast,” and they’re, like, in their own league. They’re just awesome fans. Then there are the people that have followed all the “Beauty and the Beast” stories. I think any iconic tale, anything that’s become sort of mythological in our pop culture, I think the scenes are so universal. And that’s the intent. Like every fairy tale has a moral, and every superhero story is generally good versus evil. There’s something that appeals to us that’s very primitive. And that’s cool that people can tap into that in any incarnation.

And on the topic of specifically the "Beasties," your show's devoted fans, their passion has guaranteed you a fourth season.

Yeah, they are the reason. I hope they know. I think they know. But they are the reason that we are still here. The fact that this show is still going is because they have worked so hard to keep it on the air. And I feel like they have ownership of it, and they should.

What do you love about them – especially the fact that they’re such an international group of fans?

They are. Well, they’re funny because I think that they come together really strongly online. It’s interesting because guest stars come on the show, and the minute they announce that they’re on the show, they get bombarded with Beastie love. And questions, of course, because they’re always curious as to what’s going on and who’s playing what, and if there’s another love interest, which makes them really angry all the time. So they are really unique.

I asked someone over here at The CW which shows have the most intense fans. It really seems to be “Beauty and the Beast” and “Supernatural,” which I thought was really interesting that our fans are so intense, and I think that a part of that is because the show’s constantly on the bubble. They never know if it’s going to come back, and they really, really are invested in it.

”Beauty and the Beast” returns tonight at 8 ET/PT on The CW.

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