Casual’s Austin Basis Talks Supernatural, Life Unexpected and Beauty and the Beast
When TV Goodness recently hopped on the phone with Casual guest star Austin Basis, there was a lot to talk about.
Last week, we posted the first part of our interview where the actor told us about his role in the Hulu comedy. He said he was a fan of the series before he was even hired, thanks to his Life Unexpected EP, Liz Tigelaar.
This week, we’re focusing on some of his past roles. To recap: Basis popped up on our radar when he appeared in a season three episode of Supernatural called “Ghostfacers.” Yes, he was one of those quirky paranormal investigators who crossed paths with Sam and Dean. There was even a spin-off web series also called Ghostfacers.
Then he starred in the CW’s Life Unexpected as Math and once that show was (cruelly) cancelled, he joined another CW property: Beauty and the Beast, which ran for four seasons.
During this second part of the interview, we manage to touch on all of these shows plus a hit HBO comedy he once guest starred in that’s about to make its way back to the small screen.
TV Goodness: Based on on your Casual experience, are you searching to star in more projects like this comedy?
Austin Basis: When I finished Beauty and the Beast, just searching out stuff that feels like…not that I get bored easily, but after four years of a show, talking about beasts and being on network tv, and to be honest, living away from home, the goals are three-fold. Something close to home, something that’s gonna be different, and something that maybe is a little more comedy.
What I said in those kind of like check-in meetings with your agent and representatives: to kind of look out or search for certain projects that fit. Not just projects I’m good for, projects that are good for me. The idea that I was looking to do more comedic stuff, whether it’s broad comedy like a multi-camera sitcom, or an over-the-top type film project, or this naturalistic type thing. That fits right in there. It’s more real. I’m able to be more myself.
Or, on the flip side, you go to more of a kind of drama where there’s a little more edge and a little more rawness of emotions. You’re able to curse, and there’s stuff that happens in real life that doesn’t have to be censored because of the format you’re working within. That’s the stuff I looked out for.
Like I did things since Beauty and the Beast. I did How to Get Away with Murder, more dramatic and edgy of a character ’cause I’m a murderer. I didn’t get away with — spoiler alert. And Casual, which is definitely in the wheelhouse that I feel I can contribute the most.
TV Goodness: I want to ask a few questions about some of the shows that you’ve been on. It’s been awhile since Beauty and the Beast ended. What kind of feedback from fans did you get about the way the show ended?
Basis: I feel like, from my perspective, it was pretty positive. It’s been a year and a half, I don’t feel like anyone’s like…the idea that the major characters possibly died probably pulled at people’s heartstrings in a way that you can only do once. On a show that you’re supposed to, every episode, fear for the lives of your main characters, what other way to kind of scare the shit out of people than to actually kill your major characters? And have people wonder if it was real or not, or if it actually happened and the writers were that sadistic.
TV Goodness: That’s funny.
Basis: Feedback was good. Feedback was good because they weren’t dead, it was a happy reunion and finished in a way that, as [BatB EP] Brad Kern said, ‘To finish a series, the best and most successful series that last after they’ve ended, that people continue to kind of watch, often don’t have finite endings.’ I think he referenced like Cheers, or Barney Miller, ’cause he’s in that generation. They’re two comedies, but the ending of the series basically closed the police station and the bar. You know, in that imaginary world, you cannot imagine anything after that because the setting of the entire series that you had come to know was over. So the story was done.
Whereas, with our show and several others, I think, a lot of other successful shows…The show that really closed out the best, but has kind of found a way to keep it going, is Breaking Bad. So they have Better Call Saul that’s a prequel leading up to Breaking Bad, in a way. So they, instead of continuing forward, it’s continuing backward and finding out how it connects to the future that everyone that watches Better Call Saul knows, Breaking Bad.
So the way we did it, they are who they are. Vincent and Catherine are who they are. They continue it on after the series ended, you can imagine them continuing their life of goodness and vigilante, and helping people whether it’s in France or somewhere in Europe, or Asia somewhere. Just continuing on their life of romance and defeating evil.
TV Goodness: Well, one of my favorite shows is Supernatural. You were a Ghostfacer back in the day. Do you still get recognized for that? What was that experience like?
Basis: Totally, totally. This is a funny story. I just went to an event, and I saw, I don’t know if you saw this show, this show, GLOW? Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling on Netflix. So I actually used to watch that when I was a kid, that ages me. It was like late ’80s, early ’90s. I liked regular wrestling, and then I found GLOW. So, like, Matilda the Hun, Mt. Fiji, like I knew all the characters. When I heard it was coming out, first of all I wanted to be in it, but there’s not a lot of male roles.
Anyway, I was at this event and one of the actresses on the show I recognized, because I had another friend. I knew the person that cast her. I had another friend that was on it. So, I had been following all of the trailers and teases of who was playing who. I was like, “Who’s playing Matilda? Who’s playing Mt. Fiji?”
So, the woman that’s playing Mt. Fiji was at this event, and was with a friend just hanging out. My wife and I, we didn’t know that many people. I’m like, ‘Her show hasn’t even come out yet, but I know who she is, and I’m gonna go up and say I’m really excited for the show to come out.’ And I did. She’s like, ‘Do I know you? I feel like I know you from somewhere.’ I was like, ‘I’m an actor. I’ve been on a coupleâ€¦’ It’s always awkward, you go down the list of, Beauty and the Beast. Life Unexpected. How to Get Away with Murder. Like, Casual wasn’t out at that point.
But anyway, we kind of exchanged compliments and whatever. I said, ‘I’m really excited for the show.’ I told her like, ‘I can’t wait.’ So, go back, follow each other on Instagram. Finally, she’s like, Supernatural. That’s where I know you. She’s like a huge Supernatural fan. Also, she’s a huge Beauty and the Beast fan, but the Disney version.
TV Goodness: Oh, that’s funny.
Basis: I was wondering if it was that, but it was Supernatural. It’s amazing how it follows you. To be honest, those were my first quote-unquote “fans.” When we were in that first episode, however many years ago, 10 years ago I think it was, which is crazy. In season three of Supernatural, which is even crazier that it’s still on the air.
TV Goodness: It’s going into season 13.
Basis: I know, it’s crazy. It’s like a world unto itself. Yeah, so when we were on the show in 2007, Myspace was still a thing. There [were] immediate fans of the Ghostfacers that were in the Supernatural family, that went to all the conventions, and were fans of the show, hardcore fans already. Then, on top of that, became even more passionate Ghostfacers. So we had this whole group of, the four of us, or the five of us, had this whole group of U.K. Ghostfacers that would go out on ghost hunting missions and film it like we were doing our web series afterwards. Those were the first fans I had on Myspace.
TV Goodness: That’s hilarious.
Basis: I definitely have a soft spot in my heart. And always hope, in the back of my mind, keep my fingers crossed, that they will fold back in all the Ghostfacers to the Supernatural world. But that doesn’t always happen. I’m like, ‘We should just do something on our own.’ But then it’s like, it’s not our ownership of the characters. So it’s like, you got to get permission to make sure that it doesn’t contradict or conflict with anything going on in the story that they want to tell on Supernatural. So, yeah, maybe one day they’ll do a Ghostfacers reunion on camera.
TV Goodness: That’s great. So you once guest starred on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and now the show is finally coming back after years off. What do you think about that?
Basis: I can’t wait. I’m waiting for the call, but I haven’t gotten it yet. In most shows, your character either dies or goes to jail, that hasn’t happened in Curb Your Enthusiasm. Maybe they’ll go back to the same restaurant and it will be an awful thing, or I’ll show up in something else. But, that’s one of those things. I don’t care if I’m not on it. I look forward to seeing that, the new season. I’ve been waiting for a couple years for that.
TV Goodness: I found some old tweets, I think they’re a year old where you and Shiri Appleby, Liz Tigelaar, and Kristoffer Polaha joke about reuniting the Life Unexpected cast on [the Lifetime drama] UnReal. How can we actually make that a thing?
Basis: [UnREAL] films in Vancouver, where we filmed Life Unexpected. Every time I get an opportunity to work in Vancouver, I know that Shiri is up there, or some of the other cast and crew that we worked with in Vancouver are up there. I kind of work a little harder to get it, not that that’s possible. But just like an extra incentive. It drives you.
But, I don’t know how we would all fit in, and whether it would totally take people out of the story, not that people that watch UnReal have all seen Life Unexpected. I think, if anyone, Kris can definitely come in as an actual series regular character in that type of show. Also Kerr. Maybe Britt and I can figure out a way to be a competition like another show that’s competing against their show. Like little different versions of The Bachelor-like shows that pop up? So, maybe we are somehow behind the scenes or associated with some other show. I don’t think they’ve done that storyline yet.
TV Goodness: No, I don’t think they have. That’s great.
Basis: Where another competitive show is getting better ratings than them, and Britt and I are in charge of it or something.
TV Goodness: Yeah. And Quinn and Rachel have to take you guys out. ‘Cause they’re vicious.
Basis: Oh, yeah, totally.
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