An Interview with
Beauty and the Beast
Some of us had the pleasure of
meeting you at the convention last summer in
I was surprised by the invitation to
Tell us a little about yourself in general - where you grew up, your acting background, and how you got started in show business, etc.
I grew up in
How old were you when you appeared on Beauty and the Beast? Did you continue in other acting work after the show was cancelled?
I was Kipper for a season and a half. I believe I was 11ish. I actually left the show in the second season because I wasn't signed to a guaranteed contract of a minimum of episodes per season. During the second season of BATB, I received an offer from Disney to appear on another show, The Magical World of Disney. This series provided a guarantee and required me to not appear on another series. That marked the end of my days on BATB.
How did you originally get the role of Kipper? Another boy had played him in the pilot episode. How did the change come about?
The young man that played Kipper in
the PILOT was Jason Allen, a great young actor from
Did you audition specifically for the part of Kipper, not as a random tunnel child? Were you aware at the time that he would be a recurring character?
The interview was initially for Kipper, and the first episode to be shot was for the episode “Children's Story.” At the time, we knew that the role would be recurring.
How much of yourself went into creating Kipper and what kind of instruction were you given about his background and how he should be played? Did you have your own ideas about who he was, or a back story for him?
I did receive some backstory on the character and the fact that he was a child that would assist Vincent above ground. Initially that was the intention of the character...hence several episodes involved Kipper running through the streets of the city and doing little errands like in the Children's Story's plot. I can tell you that the most assistance I received in terms of developing the approach of playing Kipper came from Roy, who took an interest in my acting and supporting me as I was learning how to portray the character. He was a very generous actor with so much knowledge, and was always a great mentor to watch and learn from on the set.
From the viewpoint of a child, what was your reaction at your first sight of the tunnels set and of Ron Perlman in full Vincent make-up?
It was incredible. The sets were so elaborate that it was impossible not to be mesmerized by the creativity involved. The show was wildly expensive at the time to shoot and create. The sets were testament to that fact. In terms of Vincent's makeup, I was impressed by it and certainly shocked the first couple of times that I saw him on the sound stages, but funny enough, it became very normal by the second week. I didn't think twice of it by the fourth or fifth week. Funny how the mind works.
Our fans’ minds know it’s TV, but the tunnels still hold some magic for us. Are you, or were you a fan of the show? If so, does having also been part of it spoil some of the magic we fans find?
The tunnels hold magic for everyone on the show, who has ever seen the show, and anyone who appreciated what BATB was about. I'm sure of it. They were remarkable...so special. As I've grown older, I've learned to really appreciate what BATB stands for and how special the bond that Vincent and Catherine share. As a child, many of the stories were a bit to sophisticated for me, but with time, I've learned to appreciate just how special the series is.
Of the episodes you appeared in, did you have a favorite? If you did, why that one?
I would say that “Children's Story” was my favorite because I got to work with Kamie Harper who ended up being the first girl I ever kissed. We took a liking to each other while we were shooting and she ended up being my first kiss...haha...sounds silly, but its true.
Do you have a favorite memory of the show or your time as a part of it?
My favorite memory of the show was hanging around the Renmar sound stages because the Golden Girls were shooting at a soundstage next door. They were really sweet ladies and used to make a big fuss over me. Another thing that I've grown to appreciate is the time I got to spend with mom while I was working. She and I are very close. I miss having those special memories on the set and having her be an important part of it. She was definitely my teacher in terms of lines and how to deliver them.
What was it like for you when Beauty and the Beast became a well-known show and the fan interest began? Were you recognized as Kipper? Did you catch any flack at school?
When the show came out I had already been acting for a while so I had already learned to not make a big deal about it at school, hence I don't know if many of my friends really knew about it. They were young and probably watching Full House instead. It was on at the same time. I used to get recognized a bit outside of school. I always thought that was kind of neat.
Were you aware then that you were being seen in about 90 other countries? Did you ever see yourself dubbed in another language?
I've known about the other countries because there are international press agencies that would periodically contact me over the years relating to BATB debuting in different parts of the world. I remember we did some photos for promotion several years later, long after the show was off the air. But I've never seen the episodes overdubbed...how fun!
How was school handled when you were on set for the entire day?
We had a studio teacher that worked with me. My school would provide work in advance and the teacher on set would see to it that I completed it and would help with any questions I had.
The tunnel garb all appears to be heavy clothing. Was that a problem when filming in warm weather? Were fittings as difficult for you to tolerate as they would be for most boys at the age you were then?
Great question. The clothing was very heavy and had a ton of layers. I remember it was hard to move around with ease once I was fully in costume. But I remember the studio actually being very cool and the clothing didn't seem to overheat me during work.
We’ve interviewed adult members of the cast. From your perspective as a child, what was the working atmosphere like on the set?
It was intense. Everyone was very serious about what they were doing. I've worked on sets where things were very light hearted and fun, but BATB was so expensive and elaborate and carefully orchestrated that it was a very serious environment where everyone was taking their jobs very seriously.
Was there any cast or staff member in particular who took you under his/her wing as a young actor?
Linda was wonderful and so
sweet. Ron was awesome and always kind. No doubt about it,
Do you have any souvenirs from the show and if so, what are they?
I have a bunch of neat artifacts. I have a design for one of Kipper's costumes that is hand done by Judy Evans. I also have scripts galore, photos, notes, etc... My mom saved a lot of stuff knowing it would mean more and more the older I got. She was right!
Have you stayed in touch with anyone else you met while you were filming the show?
I haven't stayed in touch with anyone in years from the show. After the show finished, I saw Ron a few times at various places/events. But unfortunately, haven't seen too many others.
Do you have any ideas about why the show is still remembered and so much enjoyed by its fans after all these years?
It’s a very special story, and it's multi-dimensional. It’s sophisticated and beautiful. It's positive at the core and is inspiring. It's easy for me to see why :)
Have you ever been part of another project that had this kind of devotion?
I've appeared on a few things which
both have an interesting afterlife (like Star Trek TNG and The Burbs), BUT BATB
is different.The people that I met at
Did being a part of Beauty and the Beast specifically, or a child actor in general, affect what you’ve done since those days?
Another great question. I would say that being a child actor was a real privilege. I was lucky, too, because I had great parents, who kept me in line and gave me a lot of support. The most important thing that acting taught me was to not be fazed by rejection. I learned to keep moving forward.
As well as meeting you, those of us at the convention also enjoyed meeting your proud papa. May we assume that he’s played a part in your successes over the years?
My Dad is awesome. Thank you for mentioning him. He and I are very similar and he's definitely the guy I trust most. He gives it to me straight, and has my back. I'm very lucky.
What are you doing currently – your life/career at the moment, your most recent projects?
I own a company called SceneFour in
Is there anything you would like to say to our readers or comments you would like to make about you, Beauty and the Beast or the show’s fans?
I would like to let everyone know that I really appreciate being included in this event. I'm so happy that the show and all the work involved lives on. I know it means a lot to the whole cast and crew. I can't wait to see you all again at a future meet-up!