Austin Basis first broke into the acting world in the early 2000s. Over the years, he's appeared in different TV series, including Supernatural, Life Unexpected and Grey's Anatomy. But fans know him best as J.T. Forbes (the college professor/medical researcher and best friend since childhood to main character Vincent) on The CW series Beauty and the Beast, which kicks of its final season this Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET.
Last season ended with main Catherine (the eponymous beauty) and Vincent (the beast) having a spur of the moment wedding, while J.T. focused on what's next in his romance with Tess. Basis chatted with Enstars about what can be expected for the final chapter, what the show represents and his advocacy for diabetes awareness.
Enstars: How will this season differ from previous seasons?
Austin Basis: There's a sense of the final chapter being written that's gonna come through a lot of storylines. And the idea that the beast has not been discovered, that there is a beast living in the world among us, has not been discovered by someone with a random cell phone or security camera is now gonna be an aspect of the show, whether the exposure of our secret that we've been hiding for all these years will come to the public's knowledge.
Is there going to be a sense of closure by the last episode?
I feel like the characters and the story and the bigger concept of Beauty and the Beast throughout the years, there's always stories to tell in that world. But with our story, I feel like there will be as much closure as we could possibly have with these characters and it's gonna be a roller coaster ride of emotions and life and death situations as per usual.
How do you think your character as J.T. has changed over the years?
In the beginning, J.T. was living with his best friend alone off the grid...and with Catherine coming into their lives, it threw him into a world of unexpected consequences and circumstances where he had to come out of his shell and be heroic and crazy and romantic and grow into the man he had to be to survive, and also because of Vincent and Catherine's love, he was able to take a risk and put himself out there to find his own perfect match with Tess...if I'm not paying attention to the title, the main plot of the show, it's really been the story of J.T.'s coming into his own manhood.
What is married life going to be like for Vincent and Catherine?
They've been around the block and back in their relationship before getting married. Now that they're married, it's kind of like the calm after the storm, but as a married couple, the storm that's coming is more about protecting that relationship and that calm with their lives. Obviously it's pretty un-calm with this discourse. But it's not a discourse between Cat and Vincent, but it's like throwing a boulder into a nice little lake with ducks in it. I think that's more what they're battling, holding on for dear life to the positivity they're finally getting to experience with their lives at stake.
What can you say about J.T.'s relationship with Tess?
J.T.'s moving out of his gentlemen's club and getting ready to take that big man step and move in with Tess. He [also] goes back to teaching students, and whether that's fulfilling for him is a constant question throughout the course of the season and it's starting to affect how quickly he moves in with Tess and how she feels about it too. J.T. wants to find his creative purpose, but he also wants to be there and love Tess like a normal boyfriend-partner would.
The series delves into some deep messages like 'Love is tough' and 'It can never be too late to make amends.' Do you think other messages get brought out?
I like that no matter how tough it gets, it's never too late to make amends. That's something I never actually thought of. I feel like this [message] is kind of general, but love and friendship really are the strongest weapons we have against the negativity of the world. The family that size, that love really got them through everything and it was that love that brought out the courageous side of J.T. or Vincent or Cat...love can always win out evil or hate.
You're an advocate for diabetes awareness. What kind of work does that entail?
When I was diagnosed it was called juvenile diabetes, which implies that only kids got it...kids, because of technology and innovation, were able to live healthy lives as adults, so [like me] a 39-year-old guy with juvenile diabetes is kind of an awkward thing to say so they changed it to Type 1 diabetes. And later in life, people in their sixties were being diagnosed, which means their whole lives, they were genetically predisposed to having it, and trying to bring awareness to the fact that Type 1 diabetes is actually different than Type 2 diabetes. On TV, you see all these infomercials about diabetes care. They usually don't say Type 2 diabetes. And I've read articles about obesity leading to diabetes, that's a different diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes have no control...so part of the awareness is raising the level of knowledge that people have.
[This interview has been edited and condensed]