Jay Ryan lands plum role as The Beast

James Croot asks the NZ ac­tor about his ma­jor new role on an Amer­i­can dra­matic se­ries.

The Press - The Box - - FRONT PAGE -

Jay Ryan is a man on the go. The 21-year-old former Go Girls star has traded Taka­puna for Toronto, hav­ing landed the male lead on a new ver­sion of Beauty and the Beast, which airs on a ma­jor United States net­work. It won a 2012 Peo­ple’s Choice Award for Fa­vorite New TV Drama.

How are you cop­ing with your new­found fame?

It’s been funny. Be­cause we’re shoot­ing the se­ries up here, we’re away from some of the hype.

That’s kind of nice be­cause it means we can fo­cus on mak­ing the show which has some very am­bi­tious scripts.

A friend sent me a photo of a big bill­board with my face on it on Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard right near Madame Tus­sauds. I can tick that off my bucket list now.

How did you land this mas­sive part?

I’ve been au­di­tion­ing in the Los An­ge­les mar­ket for a while now, get­ting close but to no avail be­cause of the red tape of visas and work per­mits.

I was go­ing to take a year off and had just got a role in Top of the Lake with Jane Cam­pion. She had me shave half my head, so I had this big mo­hawk thing.

I looked quite a char­ac­ter, but thought no-one in Amer­ica was go­ing to cast me like this.

Then, my agent called and said they were mak­ing Beauty and the Beast, based on the 1980s se­ries, and they had seen a tape of me I put down two years ago for a film and they liked it and wanted to see me for the role of the Beast/ Vin­cent Keller.

They flew me to Los An­ge­les for 24 hours, and made me au­di­tion in front of about 30 stu­dio, net­work and pro­duc­tion peo­ple for about half an hour.

I prob­a­bly looked like a wreck. I still had half my head shaved, had just got off the plane and was mum­bling my words.

It wasn’t un­til I got back home to Auck­land that I got the mes­sage that they’d like me to come straight back and do a ‘‘chem­istry read­ing’’ with Kristin Kreuk.

So it was back on the plane and straight into makeup, where they put a wig on me for the read­ing.

‘‘You’ll know in an­other hour,’’ they said, but it was two weeks be­fore they told me I had the part. So they really dragged it out and nearly gave me a heart at­tack.

What sort of or­deal do you have to un­dergo to be­come the Beast?

There are two forms of the Beast. The pre-formed Beast uses CGI (com­puter gen­er­ated im­agery) – they sim­ply put blue dots over my face and away we go.

The ac­tual pros­thet­ics take up to five hours. There are eight pieces that cover half my torso, neck and face, as well as con­tacts, a wig and some teeth.

Once I’m in it, I’m in it for 10 to 12 hours, then it takes half an hour to get off. Usu­ally, I’m in it once or twice a week.

How would you de­scribe the show?

The first few episodes are a tra­di­tional cop drama with mythol­ogy weaved through it. Af­ter episode five, though, it be­comes very mythol­ogy based.

The cast were push­ing for that a lot. The mythol­ogy is kind of more in­ter­est­ing – the Beast’s back­story and his and Cather­ine’s ro­mance.

What are the dif­fer­ences be­tween work­ing in New Zealand and the US?

Back home, it is all very team based. Here, it’s very unionised, very much a hi­er­ar­chy.

There are a lot more rules about how things are done, which you have to stick to like a bi­ble.

Or­deal: It can take up to five hours for Jay Ryan to don all the pros­thet­ics and makeup for his role in Beauty and the Beast.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.