In a world that seems to spin faster by the day, where social networking allows us to make friends with one another at a click of the mouse, we may be able to see what people have tagged or who they’ve ‘poked,’ but it can sometimes be difficult to really get to know someone and what they’re about. Feeling friendly, cutting to the chase, and learning something about current film and television artists who represent the best of what they do, Buzzine has set a table and would like to introduce you to your Speed Date:
What is your name and where do we know you from?
My name is Austin Basis & you probably know me as Math from The CW series Life Unexpected or Spruce in Supernatural – OR maybe the waiter from the tip scene in Curb Your Enthusiasm – depending on what age & religion you are!
Where are you right now? Can we get a picture to prove it?
I am currently working in Toronto, Canada... See the attached photo to prove it!
If we were being set up on a blind date, what 3 things would your mom tell my mom about you?
"He's so funny. He's got a great sense of humor – ever since he was a little kid."
"He's VERY talented – he acts, he writes, he draws, he's surprisingly good at sports, and he makes a mean bowl of chicken soup!"
"He's very kind, smart & respectful. And of course – he takes after his MOTHER!!!" ...and then she would laugh.
If you could see any movie at its midnight premiere (costume optional), what would it be and who would you be?
I would see The Wizard of Oz and dress up as the Scarecrow… or a member of the Lollipop Guild – love those guys!!! Before my family got a VCR or cable TV, The Wizard of Oz was the ONLY movie I had ever seen more than once. It would air every year during the holidays – and every year I would do my homework early & glue myself to my parents' TV. I loved that it started in black-and-white & became color when Dorothy landed in Munchkin Land. Plus – the songs are pretty amazing & singing along is almost a requirement.
Why are you answering these questions (what are you promoting)?
I don't really know! ...OH, YEAH – I play J.T. Forbes on the new CW show Beauty & the Beast that premieres right after The Vampire Diarie 9/8 central on Thursday 10.11.12
What drew you to this project?
Gary Fleder directed the pilot & brought me in to meet the producers Jennifer Levin & Sherri Cooper. Gary & I worked together on Life Unexpected and Life on Mars... Needless to say – it was love at first sight on both ends & a few days later I had the part.
What does the world need to know about this show?
Beauty & the Beast is a modern re-imagining of the classic fairytale. It is a dark, supernatural romance with a procedural twist – set against a post-9/11 New York City. It brings humanity to the superhero genre with elements of action, suspense & a little bit of comedy (a.k.a. ME...!!) – everything that makes great TV. Plus, Kristin Kreuk kicks some major butt in every episode (literally) ...and Jay Ryan wears less & less as the series progresses!
What first made you want to be an actor?
I like to think of it as a natural evolution – it's in my genes. So it definitely started at home, where my mom & dad were natural entertainers & provided an environment for my brother & I to have fun playing dress–up & performing for guests in our living room or on front porch. Halloween was my absolute favorite holiday. I actually loved going to the local costume & magic store Abra-Cadabra at Caesar’s Bay Bazaar (our neighborhood flea market) and picking out a new prop or wig or mask to add to the costume chest I kept in my playroom... So it's no surprise that I was a huge Pee-Wee Herman fan growing up! In fact, I have quite a long history of "costume contest" wins.
What actors/directors would you most like to work with?
Actors: Daniel Day-Lewis, Bryan Cranston, Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman, John C. Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Ellen Burstyn, Meryl Streep, Jodi Foster, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Melissa McCarthy, Tiny Fey, Amy Poehler
Directors: Martin Scorsese, Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, Ben Affleck, David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, Joel Coen... and the lists go on!!!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
First, with children... and with my family happy, healthy, safe & secure... then, with a veteran TV career (Beauty & the Beast in Season 5) & an established film career... with possibly some theatre credits to my name... and maybe some directing or writing credits, too... and, ultimately, the respect of my industry peers & audiences everywhere.
What has been your best day on a set so far?
Well, it just happened this past Tuesday – it was the final day of filming on the 7th episode ... We shot 4 scenes and I got to work with Kristin & Jay ALL day, and do both comedy & drama. I think we all felt pretty good about the day. BUT, at one point, we were doing a "pick–up" (just a small piece of a scene) and I started to laugh... and couldn't STOP!!! All I had to say was: "You're gonna need this" and I just couldn't look Kristin in the face without breaking... and it wasn't even MY shot – my back was turned to the cameras! They actually made us take a 20–minute break because of it! ...So sorry to Kristin & Jay, & the entire crew for screwin’ that one up. I take FULL responsibility.
What is the best piece of professional advice that you have been given?
Do your work. Always be prepared. And treat people as you would like to be treated. If you constantly strive to do your BEST work EVERY time out & RESPECT the people you work with – cast & crew alike – good things will come... and they have.
If we were to show the 12-year-old you a highlight reel of your career to date, what off-camera moment would most blow your pre-teen mind?
It's about as "off-camera" as it gets... because it actually happened during an audition! I got to read a scene with DANIEL DAY-LEWIS right around the time he was nominated for Best Actor in Gangs of New York. We read this short scene twice and, upon finishing, he asked me if I would do an IMPROV with him...!!! So for 10 minutes we stayed in character & did a scene that wasn't even in the script – we just made it all up on the spot. I was thinking to myself the whole time: “I am doing an IMPROV with DANIEL DAY-LEWIS!!!” When we were done, he just smiled. And I smiled, too – knowing that I just went toe-to-toe with one of the best actors ever!!!
What are the best online places for fans to find out more about you?
Anything more to add?
Tune in to The CW at 9/8 central on Thursday 10.11.12 to watch the series premiere of Beauty & the Beast... and if you like it – TELL your friends & family about it!
'Beauty and the Beast' airs Thursday nights on the CW at 9PM PT.
Photos by Vince Trupsin.