For those of you who are fans of the CW’s Beauty and the Beast you are in for a real treat. I got to talk to actor Austin Basis who plays JT Forbes on the People’s Choice Award winning show. In this interview Austin talks about some of his favorite things about playing JT, what superpowers would he and JT pick, what fans of Beauty and the Beast can look forward to this season, along with letting us know his geeky side by telling us his favorite comic book movies!
Austin was kind enough to take the time for this interview and was a lot of fun to chat with. Check it out!
First off, congratulations on the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Sci-Fi Fantasy Show.
What is one of your favorite things about playing JT Forbes on Beauty and the Beast?
One of my favorite things is getting to have the awesome one-liners that the writer’s write and I am lucky in that respect. Another character, Tess (played by Nina Lisandrello), also gets some zingers, but I feel like JT maybe unfairly gets a lion share of awesome one-liners that kind of stand out in the show as a word or phrase that people will remember. It’s always fun to kind of challenge myself to try and say it in as many different ways as possible, but also try to get the most funny out of the line in a way that doesn’t violate the reality or the circumstance that we’re trying to portray in the world of Beauty and the Beast.
Vincent’s condition is kind of like a superpower. If you could pick out a superpower for yourself which one would you pick and why?
The superpower that Vincent has, what we call the “blur effect”, is that speed he has. My brother, my wife, and my dad will tell you that I’m a little slow of foot and pace (laughs). I’m late quite a bit, so if I had to choose one superpower it would be to do things as fast as possible whether it is to run, or to cook dinner, or to get dressed, shower, all that stuff. The superpower would be to just do it as fast as possible.
If JT could pick a superpower for himself, which one do you think he would pick?
I think if JT picked a superpower it would be like Superman when he does the lasers out of his eyes, like to cut steel. So he can just go through a bank vault door or a wall by doing the lasers out of his eyes. JT could do more of his official science stuff because he could use the lasers to heat up chemicals, splice DNA, and use it to do all of that stuff instead of using scalpels or finely made instruments that any biochemist would use to do that.
It would also be cool if he had lasers that came out of his eyes because maybe he would get laid! (laughs).
There you go! I’m a big Supernatural fan, so I’m a little biased in that my favorite role you’ve done is Spruce from Ghostfacers.
But what’s your favorite role that you’ve done?
Usually actors I guess have to say their current role because that’s what they are focused on at the time and hopefully for a while into the future, and for me that would be JT Forbes. He brings me so much to do as an actor and to allow me as a person to let myself shine through, but also my talent shine through in a lot of different ways whether its with heavy intellectual dialogue, or comedic one-liners, or the romantic side that he’s trying to show towards Tess, or his loyalty and love of his best friend Vincent, and also the guilt that it has given him all these years, and to have all these sides of one character that was originally kind of for the comedy relief, but the writers have trusted in me to make the characters more three dimensional. I think I’m lucky in that respect because I have not played a supporting role that has been this three dimensional as a character.
I would have to say JT Forbes, though I do love Spruce. Partly because of the collaboration with the writers and directors on Supernatural that allowed us to improv and contribute our own ideas and words to the character as much as they did, which was part of the success of that show specifically.
Without getting in too much trouble, what can you tell fans of Beauty and the Beast that they can look forward to this season?
They have more JT pursuing Tess to look forward to and where that goes. I think they also have to look forward to with JT specifically more scenes like they saw last season with JT and Vincent being buddies and his confidant and resident motivational speaker. There are some fun scenes and some poignant scenes between the two of them that I don’t know if you get to see that too much on the CW or anywhere on TV to see two friends and their relationship play out and their dependence on each other and their loyalty and their comradery with one another.
In the general sense of the show all roads lead to VinCat, all roads lead to Vincent and Catherine getting back together. I think it’s just a matter of how that comes to be and the road that the writers have decided to take is a rough road, but also an earned road so that when it does happen I think it will be that much more gratifying. Also, the mythology of who the beauty and the beast are in the greater sense, not just Vincent and Catherine, but in the fairy tale sense of the word, but what that mythology is going back thousands of years and the true destiny that is Vincent’s and Catherine’s relationship and not just a simple, “You saved my life and now I’m in love with you and we save each other.” I think it’s a bigger concept than that and it connects both of them to each other in a permanent way and in a way more grounded in the fairy tale as opposed to your average romantic love affair on TV.
You get to look forward to that, I look forward to reading more into the mythology because in every episode there’s a new tidbit that comes out. It allows for some twists and turns, some new villains, and people who are leading down the path for Vincent and Catherine, and JT and Tess and Gabe, to find out who they are as individuals, but in the case of Vincent and Catherine who they are as a couple and who they are together as the beauty and the beast.
What is your dream role?
My dream role is any role where I get to do what I love and to play every aspect of what I’ve grown up doing or studied to do, to play the reality, the drama, the comedy, the lost of the trail, the heartbreak, the elation of the human experience, and if one role can contain all of those things that to me would be amazing. When you’re thinking about characters and types of roles there’s two things that I look forward to doing. One is a more broad slapstick more physical type of comedy, where I could be a little bigger with the choices that I would make as an actor whether it’s a sitcom or a movie, like Anchorman or Knocked Up, or The Hangover. The flip side of that is to play more dark characters. Maybe a villain or a criminal mastermind, or a total mental case like a serial killer or something. I am challenged from that because it’s so far form who I am that I feel like I’ll get to play as an actor and have fun in the evil or the darkness that is that character because I’m so not usually in that space.
For my last question, what is your favorite comic book movie and why?
My favorite comic book movie… hmm. Well I used to be a huge Superman fan, not that I necessarily read the comics, but I was a huge fan of the movies with Christopher Reeve. I would have to say either Superman or … again I didn’t read comics, but I had comic book type toys like Superman unders and Batman unders and that kind of stuff when I was a kid, so the other one would be Batman. I liked Spiderman 2, but I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite movie. I think either Batman Begins or The Dark Knight. That one is awesome too, but I actually like the first one as a complete movie better because I feel like it really changed the genre for comic book movies and it was set in reality.
I think a lot of comic book movies fall into the trap of being too corny and what Christopher Nolan did with the first one was set the tone for all the movies that have come since. He set it in a real world environment and give it a darkness and a roughness that is more human. The best part of the superhero journey is the non-humanness of it. I mean there’s Batman without special powers, so it was easy to make him human, but there are other characters that do have crazy weird powers and are outside the realm of possibility like Two-Face and the Joker. So, Batman and Superman are the ones that I would say.
Make sure to check out Austin on Beauty and the Beast Mondays 9/8c on the CW.
Photos by Bobby Quillard