After a very long wait, Beauty and the Beast Season 3 has finally commenced.
One of our favorite characters, JT Forbes, has been having a heck of a time this season after taking quite a beating at the end of Beauty and the Beast Season 2, and his portrayer, Austin Basis, was kind enough to jump on the phone with us to talk about the new season and even give a few hints at Beauty and the Beast Season 4.
Please enjoy excerpts from our conversation below.
When asked how the new season is treating him so far, Basis said, "He takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. That's JT's motto this season."
At first it seemed as though JT was being a bit of a hypochondriac, but Basis admitted there is probably a reason for his alter-ego to be a tad concerned at this point in the story and throughout pretty much of the whole season. "He could still be a hypochondriac, or he could have real symptoms and real issues, and that's kind of what he's investigating and why he's experimenting on himself."
Despite JT's trauma at the end of last season, he'll continue to be contributing member of the team, yet always observing at the same time, analyzing what's going on with himself biologically. "He's juggling a lot in the first few episodes, and he definitely sustains multiple injuries throughout the season, which is always fun to reconnect to see what happened to JT," Basis laughs. "He has a cane in the first episode and in the second episode he's electrocuted multiple times...but he's a very resilient fellow!"
As we were speaking, Basis was busily filming Beauty and the Beast Season 4, so our questioning got a little sticky in some areas. When asked if he'd be targeted for his blood for cure time and again, he laughed, pretending to scroll through his Rolodex for relevant plot points for this season.
"I'll say this," he offered. "Because there may be positive effects, like life-saving effects of the serum, it doesn't necessarily count out the fact that there may be adverse side effects that may not lead people to believe that that's the cure. But, you know, it could be the cure, too. There are effects on his blood and whether people think he's a target or not. But the question is whether that's justified or whether there is still information that will unfold that will reveal a bigger picture from what people get initially in the first few episodes."
Now that he and his leading lady, Nina Lisandrello (Tess), are getting more screen time, will they see more stories independent of Cat and Vincent? Basis laughed again, admitting he and Lisandrello often find themselves defending their characters. "Why do they always have to get wrapped up in Vincent and Cat's problems? Why can't we have our own fun? Why can't we ignore them and not answer or phones and go on a vacation or something?"
"We talk about that a lot. I'm not sure how interesting that would be, but more specifically, you never see JT or Tess in a situation when they are not being affected by what's going on with Vincent and Cat, unfortunately. So you never see them to themselves. They have momentary joy and stuff like that, but it's kind of ripped away but the chaos that is the world of VinCat."
Even though there's a lot of drama and conflict, there is still room for comedy and the more heart-warming scenes away from the beast world and the super-human, DNA enhanced people who will be populating the season as a new threat. "They can even be found in those situations," Basis shared,"Even drama that JT and Tess will get to play." He's in awe of Lisandrello's skills as an actor and how working along side her requires him to raise the stakes to match her note for note.
In a season where Vincent and Cat were striving for normalcy, it seems JT and Tess are the once who are achieving it. Even when there is drama, or JT has a freak-out moment, such as at the birthday party in Beauty and the Beast Season 3 Episode 2, the two are grounded and secure in the way they interact. Their friendship is important to the series because of the way it balances out the craziness that has become Cat and Vincent's life.
"I agree," Basis said, "I like being on our side of the equation. On our side of the grounded, kind of real relationship where you're gonna share a laugh and then maybe a poignant moment. You never really know what to expect from JT and Tess, but in a way, you always expect that, to be surprised and grounded by their interactions so that you have the elevation, or the romanticized version of what a relationship is between Vincent and Catherine, and you have the relatable version of a relationship between JT and Tess. I wouldn't have it any other way, even if I was in a romanticized relationship."
"You know, we don't make up lines, but we try to create our own moments that may not be in the script because that's what makes it spontaneous and real and grounded and for people to buy into it in a way that is relatable. You know, they can't necessarily relate, because they're looking up to Vincent and Catherine as an epic romance. Our romance, or our love affair, is just as epic, but in a more real way, on a more actual level."
If Basis was going to pick any future for JT, he'd book him a massage and a day at a spa. Although he admits he's pleased that JT has relaxed quite a bit since the dawn of the series without the threat of Muirfield to come knocking. "He has a relationship that was impossible for years, to even suggest. Now it's pushing him into manhood. I feel like his life before that didn't allow him to mature and he was a little stunted. I would only wish him happiness, whatever that happiness is, but also identity, because that's another thing he's trying to search for."
"He continues that search in Season 4. He's trying to find who he is as an individual, even though it juxtaposes his relationship with Tess, and also his loyalty and connection to Vincent, within that he has to know who he is and be comfortable and happy. He's never really had the time or the faith to allow that to happen, so he's struggling to do that."
"I hope that whatever it is, he finds it gratifying enough that he doesn't have to keep searching. Not that he has to stop searching and learning about himself, but there is a time for that kind of process, when you're on the right path." Basis continued, "Like I can feel the groove in the road now, and I'm going in the right direction. Hopefully he finds that."
Be sure to tune into Beauty and the Beast Season Season 3 Episode 3 on The CW tonight for more from Austin Basis!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.