Beauty And The Beast Q&A: Austin Basis On J.T. Joining Forces With Evan, His New View On Catherine

“Beauty and the Beast’s” former soldier with mutating DNA and a problem beasting out – Vincent Keller — knows he’s very lucky to have a best friend as loyal, dedicated and as smart with science as J.T. Forbes.

And if last week was any indication, J.T. might be – through Evan (Max Brown) – within arm’s reach of the kind of expensive technology he needs to seek out a cure to stop his childhood pal from turning into an animal.

From the set in Toronto, actor Austin Basis, who plays J.T., told, a path is opening up to properly conduct that research. But, there’s plenty to get in the way too. Evan knows someone broke into his lab previously, which could put J.T. in peril, and Vincent still has beastly episodes J.T. needs to monitor.

Austin explained what’s coming into play as The CW drama continues Thursday night at 9 PM, and, as a result of the redhead who entered the picture last week – Alex — he hinted things might be shifting in how J.T. views Kristin Kreuk’s Catherine! Evan made J.T. a research offer. Will that be a partnership or trouble?

Austin: J.T. and Evan are kind of becoming like a little team. For me, it was exciting because finally I got to work with Max Brown, but other than that, for the story line, I feel it’s this other new dynamic of these two adversaries and contemporaries. They’re both in the science field and they’re working together, kind of, but… I don’t think [J.T.] has much of a choice, especially in light of the fact that Evan seemed to be close on the tail of Vincent… I think that’s the No. 1 reason JT goes in for this, just to be a fly on the wall, participate, but not really fully, and… if it gets to the point where he needs to sabotage something… then he’s willing to do that… To be honest, he’s gonna be going back to the same lab (laughs) that he broke into episodes earlier.

Access: Does J.T. have any idea that Evan has a sketch of the man who broke into his lab?

Austin: I don’t think J.T. has any idea that there’s a sketch out there. Austin does, because I have a loose leaf notebook where I keep my scripts and the mug shot is right on the front cover, so I stare at it every time I study my lines.

Access: Evan’s co-worker, Tess, was the one who saw J.T. in the lab. Is Evan going to be investigating J.T.?

Austin: As an actor and a character, I always have to think that J.T. has to be worried about that and cautious about that because I think that plays into everything. Every time he goes to the police station –will he leave? Will he get caught? You never know. It’s a very tentative, superficial trust he has with Evan… The thing with Tess, she saw him in the lab and here’s what I’ll tell you, when I was watching the episode with my wife, she didn’t recognize me at first when I had the hat on and no glasses, and I was waiting in the car. She had no idea it was me!

Access: Are you being serious?

Austin: I’m totally serious and I think in a lot of ways, anyone with glasses more so than people without glasses – if someone with glasses takes them off, there’s such a different character it gives your face, and also, I was wearing a hat…

Access: You’ve just explained why Jimmy and Lois had no idea that Clark and Superman were the same person.

Austin: Exactly. They were exactly like my wife.

Access: We met Alex (played by Bridget Regan) last week, and she now knows Vincent is alive. J.T. can’t be happy with this. I would imagine he’d see Catherine in a kinder light now. He knows Catherine, but Alex has been out of the picture for years and represents an unknown. How worrisome is Alex being back in the picture for J.T.?

Austin: I feel like, personally, ‘cause there’s not much dealing with J.T.’s relationship with Alex, but obviously J.T. knew Alex. They all grew up together. The way I saw it – my imagination and backstory –she was the cutest girl, she was the coolest girl, she hung out with the guys.

Access: She was on ‘Legend of the Seeker’!

Austin: Yes! Exactly. That is a big status symbol in the story (laughs) of Queens, circa mid-1990s, so ultimately, Vincent won her… and so there’s an envious/jealous kind of thing, but I also know the kind of lifestyle we [had] – it’s going to bars and hanging out and living a casual, kind of immature, to a degree, lifestyle. I haven’t seen her in 10 years and 10 years is a long time… A lot changes in your life from 22 to 32.

Access: She’s a doctor now.

Austin: She’s a doctor now, she doesn’t go out partying and drinking and hanging out in the schoolyard or whatever. That being said, I also feel, with respect to Catherine, that J.T. definitely sees Catherine in a new light and is constantly shocked that he is (laughs) taking Catherine’s side and trying to provide a situation where Catherine and Vincent would be together and partly because..

Access: Wait! He’s endorsing their romance? He’s finally saying, ‘OK Vincent, you and Catherine…’

Austin: I feel like by default more so than saying, ‘I was wrong, you should have been with her from the beginning.’ But part of the loyalty and what J.T. has seen in Catherine [is] her dedication to protecting and saving Vincent, quite like himself. He sees that in Vincent, his best friend and brother, that Catherine brings out the best [in him] or makes him happy. As friends, as brothers, there’s nothing more that you want for the ones you love [than for them to] have that happiness after so many years of darkness and loneliness. Alex is that x-factor that is coming into the equation that is screwing up the process of the equation.

“Beauty and The Beast” airs at 9/8c on Thursday on The CW.

-- Jolie Lash

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