The Beast: Interview with Larry Gilliard Jr. - Featured

The Beast starring Patrick Swayze has been a hit already for Swayze and crime drama fans, so if you're a fan or haven't yet gotten to tune in, check out what Beast cast member Larry Gilliard Jr. has to say about this gritty drama in SideReel's exclusive interview!

Larry Gilliard Jr. has most recently appeared in The Wire as Baltimore drug dealer D'Angelo Barksdale, and has also appeared in CSI: NY, Law & Order, Gangs of New York and various other films.

I got the chance to talk with Larry Gilliard Jr. who plays Ray Beaumont, an FBI agent on The Beast investigating Patrick Swayze's character, Charles Barker, which includes attempting to get information out of Barker's new partner, Ellis Dove (Travis Fimmel) to prove Barker has become a dirty agent. Here's the scoop from my chat with Gilliard!

How did Gilliard become involved with The Beast?

He auditioned after a call about the show from his agent where he had the happy coincidence of finding out he knew one of the show's executive producers who he worked with on the film The Substitute, Part 2. The casting folks liked what he did and brought him on for the part of Ray.

In the first few episodes, we've seen Ray's tough and mysterious nature - is this the main side of Ray we'll be seeing in the series?

At first in the season, the show's focused on Patrick and Travis' characters and what they're going through. Then later on it'll delve more into the other characters.

Was there meaning to Ray giving Ellis the evidence disc on Barker in a "Close Encounters" case in Episode 2?

That's something you'll have to remember and wait and see if it develops!

The show has a very dark and serious tone - how does this effect the feeling on set?

The show's tone continues to be dark and gritty in general with the tenseness in the undercover world. They'll be keeping it gritty. But in between filming, the cast and crew keep it light and happy to offset the grittiness which makes for a fun work environment.

Does Gilliard's character Ray have much involvement with other characters?

He's initially isolated from Patrick's character, but connected with Travis' as Ray tries to convince Ellis to help. Outside of the show the cast all spend time together and get along great.

How many episodes have been filmed?

The entire first season has been filmed - 13 episodes. At this point, they're all waiting to see how the show does and if they get picked up for more.

How much of the filming was actually done in Chicago?

The entire show is shot in Chicago. They started filming with the pilot in December/winter, and returned to filming in June, so the show will move into the summer for more of the show.

What background and insight can be given into why the FBI suspects Patrick Swayze's character, Charles Barker, of straying?

We won't get background for a while, but it will unfold.

What kind of viewers does/should The Beast attract?

It attracts Patrick Swayze fans, people who like action shows, drama shows, cops and robbers type shows. They'll spend a lot of this season catching those bad guys!

What has Gilliard enjoyed most about his time so far on The Beast?

Working with Patrick as an artist and a person, and working in Chicago, a city Gilliard had never gotten to visit.

How would Gilliard like to see the show develop beyond this season?

He likes the current direction of the show and would like to see that continue with the strong storylines and getting more into character development. He would like to see it get more into the backgrounds of the characters and see how much they have to change and hide about their inside lives.


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