Kristin Kreuk, the leading lady of TV's Beauty and the Beast, sometimes muses about going back to school and learning another trade. "I'll be turning 30 soon," she says. "Aside from acting, I don't have a lot of other skills." Not that Kreuk needs a career Plan B at the moment. She has been a viewer favorite for more than a decade on the CW, the network airing Beauty and the Beast (8 p.m. Thursday). Before this show, she enjoyed a long run as Lana Lang, Clark Kent's boyhood love, in Smallville. Maybe Kreuk will figure out one day what her career alternative should be. But she knows from playing a homicide detective on Beauty and the Beast that it's not going to be police work. "It's fun to walk onto a staged crime scene and pretend my way through it," she says. "But I would sincerely be at a total loss if the situation were real."
1 Beauty and the Beast is a classic love story that dates back to the 1700s. It has been adapted many times and in many different ways. What was it about the premise that appealed to you?
With these old stories and fairy tales that have been translated over and over, the themes are very timeless and universal. You can take these stories and the metaphors within, you can apply them to whatever context and whatever time period you like, and they still have profound meaning. A story like Beauty and the Beast, with ideas about seeing beyond what is on the surface and about accepting that which you may perceive to be beastly within yourself, that works anywhere, including in post-9-11 New York City.
2 What do you like most about your character, Catherine Chandler?
The fact that I can create a female character that's complex and interesting and strong. Playing a detective is new and unique for me. I haven't had an opportunity like this until now. It's wonderful to come in playing something authoritative right away. It's a great stretch for me personally.
3 How soon before Catherine and Jay Ryan's Vincent, a military doctor turned "beastly" by military experiments to create super-soldiers, become an item?
We're not in a hurry to do that, to be honest. There are going to be many roadblocks that keep them apart.
4 But isn't the point of the show that these two characters are meant to be a couple?
That's true. And after a certain time, they will understand that they have feelings for each other. But that doesn't mean it's best for them -- or best for the show -- for them to do anything about it immediately. When it comes to relationships, I think there's more drama if they continually keep missing each other.
5 What do you like most about your life as an actress?
It's a wonderful way to explore and to express emotion. Maybe it's a little weird to do it in such a public way, but I love how it allows me to explore the human psychodynamic and to try to figure out what human beings are like and why. That's something about my job that never gets old.
-- David Martindale, Special to the Star-Telegram