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Exclusive : Story Specs for CW’sBeauty and the Beast reboot

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The CW’s contemporary reboot of “Beauty & The Beast” will be flashy, funky and less schmaltzy than the ’80s original. But will the network be able to find actors as adorably apt as Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton to play the title characters? I think that’s ultimately what it’s success or failure hinges on. 

Now before we get into The CW’s reboot, here’s the plot of the original 1987 series’s pilot :

Wealthy socialite Catherine Chandler works for her father’s firm as a corporate attorney in NYC.  Leaving a party unescorted, she is mistaken for someone else.  She is shoved into a van where her face is slashed as a warning to keep her mouth shut.  Dumped in Central Park she is found by Vincent, a man-beast, who takes her to his home in the forgotten tunnels beneath the city streets.  During her 10 days of recovery, Vincent discovers that he has developed an empathic bond with her.  He returns her to the world above where Catherine immediately changes her life.  She repairs the damage to her face, takes self-defense classes and quits her father’s firm to work as an investigator at the DA’s office.  Eight months later she is looking into her own assault. Nearing the end of the investigation, she is again threatened and attacked.  Vincent, feeling her fear through the bond, arrives just in time to save her.  They realize that they are now a part of each other but each must return to their own worlds.(Source : ClassicAlliance.Net)

Here’s what you need to know about “Beauty & The Beast” 2012 :

A. How do Catherine and Vincent meet?

Well, they first meet when she’s younger. When Catherine’s mother was killed in a car-jacking (or whatever it was –  Catherine’s never been convinced it was a simple car-jacking) Vincent was the one who snatched the young girl and saved her from the same fate. As the newspapers tell us, Catherine claimed ‘the beast’ saved her but nobody has laid eyes on him since.

Years later, they’ll meet again under different circumstances. Catherine is now a feisty, slightly troubled (She can’t keep a relationship; struggles with her mother’s passing) New York City cop who comes across Vincent, the beast, at an old abandoned chemical warehouse.

She’s there to speak to a man named TJ, whose car was spotted at a crime scene nights before — a young woman was poisoned. Dead. T.J isn’t there, but instead, she speaks to his ‘roomie’… who remains shrouded in shadows for the most part. 

Catherine is alarmed to discover her ‘Beast’ – the one that saved her as a youngster -is the one behind the shadow. She is taken back by Vincent – once he emerges from the shadows – but despite his features, trusts him when he declares he and his friend did not hurt the girl, but only tried to help her (just as he had done numerous other times; Vincent’s become sort-of like a local ‘Batman’ to the people). At his request, Catherine promises not to let anyone know his whereabouts, let alone that he’s alive.

B. What’s Vincent’s story?

Vincent worked as a doctor at the New York University hospital – and was working On September 11, 2001 when the towers came down.

Long story short, a wounded Vincent ends up in a medical clinic where he’s injected with a DNA-changing drug. The drug turns him into an unstoppable soldier type that is used in Afghanistan. Think ‘Captain America’ or a ‘Universal Soldier’. Unfortunately, the strength and stamina comes with a price…it also changes Vincent’s look — in particular, hair sprouts hair everywhere.

When he returned from Afghanistan, looking like he is, he hid himself away- – with the help of T.J.

C. So Vincent has a ”roomie” in this one?

Vincent now lives with friend TJ and …a Wii and an endless supply of beer.

D. Catherine has a ‘bestie’ too

Catherine has an “Evan”. Catherine’s medical examiner friend, in his 30’s like her, who is also secretly in love with the young cop, helps out on the cases. He comes to the conclusion that the girls found dead of late weren’t strangled but slipped some kind of poison.

(Oh, and no Evan’s got no chance in hell of scoring with Catherine.  
She’s into jerks – as we learn in the first few minutes of the pilot when she has a bust-up with her latest deadhead squeeze, Jake. She has him arrested – for the pot he’s carrying – as revenge for treating her like dirt. Got some gonads this girl!)

E. Who does Catherine live with?

Her younger sister Heather. She’s got issues, but not as many as older sister Catherine who she thinks is going a little loopy. If she’s not dating jerks, Catherine’s still yammering on about the murder of their mother – nine years ago. They talk to their father, but he’s getting married again; neither are much excited about the prospect of attending the upcoming engagement party. 

F. Does Vincent save ‘grown-up’ Catherine, too?

Sure does. Patches her up, too – after a bout with the ‘poisoner’.  It’s then, while being looked after at Vincent and T.J’s, that Catherine learns more about her beastly pal — his determination to find a cure to his illness (he has science equipment all over his room; much like Bruce Banner would), that he may have actually known her mother.

G. How does the pilot wrap?

With a killer found.
And two unlikely friends – or rather, lost souls coming together. 
Vincent helps Catherine feel better about her mothers death, and Catherine returns the favour by recognizing what a special person he is by going out at night and helping innocent people in trouble.
As an Adele song (Somebody Like You) plays, we watch as Catherine wanders into her fathers engagement party. She’s feeling alone, out of place, and unenthused. We all know where she belongs, right? And with whom?

Conclusion
How many episodes will it take for the young copper to own up to her feelings to Vincent though?
Whatever the case, classy, fun writing and a nice job at ‘hipping’ up a well-worn but always-effective tale. In some ways this reminded me less of the original “Beauty and the Beast” and more of say, a TV spin- off of Tim Burton’s “Batman” (Catherine being Vicki Vale, Vincent being the hidden-away Bruce Wayne, secret superhero) crossed with a bit of “Magnum PI”.
If it doesn’t get too bogged down in that “villain of the week”  template that the pilot hints at, and concentrates more on the relationships between the key characters, then this could be one of the year’s highlights. If the actors cast as are solid as the writing team, The CW might have it’s new “Buffy” or “Smallville”. 

DID YOU KNOW? There’s a second “Beauty & the Beast” project in the works at ABC.  That one is believed to be closer in tone to the ‘Beauty & The Beast’ yarn we know (via the Disney film and so on) with a Princess and a Beast coming together in some-sort of fantastical fairy-tale world. 

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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