Violett Beane had me at hello. Behind tousled brunette locks and lake-blue eyes, the talented artist is mixing things up as speedster Jesse Quick on The CW hit series, The Flash. We caught up with the Austin native to talk fashion, career and the Hollywood game.
HYDROGEN MAGAZINE: You are an Austin girl through and through. Tell me about those early years in Texas…
VIOLETT BEANE: I absolutely love Austin. I can’t say the same for the rest of Texas, but Austin is so culturally diverse and is perfect for anyone who loves being outside or eating every type of food imaginable. It’s a city that allows for creativity to grow and is open to exploration of every craft.
HM: You took up theater through high school and then in your senior year shifted your focus to television and film. Tell me about that…
VB: I was in theater class for all of middle and high school, but towards the end of my junior year, when college is staring you in the face, I realized that I wanted to make acting more than a dream. My grades were good, and I could’ve attended a decent school, but I really wanted to focus on acting and for a lot of the creative jobs out there, hands-on experience is better than academic knowledge.
HM: Hollywood is notoriously an eat-or-be-eaten kind of town where there are only so many roles to go around and everyone is pretty much one gig away from the unemployment line. Was there any trepidation when you first dipped your toes into the choppy waters?
VB: I actually have a unique relationship with Hollywood. I managed to build a bit of a name for myself outside of the LA community so when I finally moved here, I luckily didn’t have to start from the very bottom. That being said, every actor at every moment, is worried about the “unemployment line.” We are always looking for the next gig and nervous about the possibility that it may never come. Those nerves though, are what everyone needs to push themselves to continue and to push them to work harder each and every day!
HM: Big break…
VB: I don’t know if I would call it a big break, but I had the privilege of working on The Leftovers while still in my hometown of Austin TX, and that job is sort of what jump-started the wheel-turning on my career. From there, I met some amazing people, and began to develop my team, whom I am so thankful for!
HM: Kate Winslet, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Kerry Washington, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis…whose career do you look at and think, “I wouldn’t mind a bit of that action?”
VB: Meryl Streep is the epitome of inspiration, to me and pretty much everyone else. Obviously, her career is irreplaceable but what I respect even more, is her energy and ambition towards bettering the world to this day. She’s always been a voice for her generation, but I feel like she has a way with words and action that go beyond that, and she makes me want to be a better person every day!
HM: Let’s talk about your role in season 3 of The CW hit series, The Flash. For those who might just be jumping on board, The Flash is based on the DC Comics character Barry Allen / Flash (Grant Gustin), a superhero crime-fighter with the power to move at superhuman speeds. How did the role of Jesse Quick come your way?
VB: This audition process was relatively *quick* compared to most. Auditioning can be anywhere from 3-10 different sessions with casting associates and producers and directors, but all I did was send in a self-tape from Austin. About a week later, I got the call that I had booked the role, it was so surreal!
HM: Jesse is the daughter of Earth-2 Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) and her superpower is speed. Tell me about her. What makes her tick?
VB: In season two, Jesse goes through a lot of (teenage) struggles with her father and finding herself while being so far away from home. Right away, she’s kidnapped by a very haunting villain, and throughout the rest of the season struggles to find her place as part of Team Flash. When she finally gets her powers (superspeed), she finally finds her purpose and begins to fight evil criminals.
HM: What was your approach to playing Jesse and is your process the same with every character you play?
VB: On my first day on the set of The Flash, I was locked in a cage with my hands tied up to bars, so that process wasn’t all that similar to anything I had done before! Jesse is extremely smart and witty and you don’t see that a whole lot amongst the female characters in television today, so I always want to make sure those aspects shine when I’m playing her. I just try and make sure my characters are as real as possible, and channel their written experiences with one’s I may have similarly had or someone I know has.
HM: You played Taylor Truitt, one of the disappeared on the HBO’s The Leftovers. Tell me about that experience…
VB: Being a part of The Leftovers was incredibly fun! I got to work in my hometown and film in locations that I had known from growing up nearby. I didn’t know a lot about the industry at the time, so I just had a lot of worry-free fun and I met a best friend whom I love, so I really enjoyed it!
HM: Your film credits include indie comedy, Slash and Tower, both of which premiered at South By SouthWest Film Festival. The latter, Tower, exec. produced by Luke Wilson and Meredith Viera, centered around the UT shooting in 1966. It was America’s first mass school shooting and you played Claire Wilson, who was eight months pregnant during the shooting and lost her baby and boyfriend all in one day. Tell me about that role…
VB: Playing Claire has been one of the best experiences of my life. She is so selfless and positive, and reliving her experiences has taught me a lot about myself. She’s gone through more than most people ever have but she’s still so optimistic and holds no aggression for the man who shot her. She fights everyday for stronger gun control and women’s rights. She truly is an inspiration.
HM: Let’s talk a little style. If we caught you on a day off, what would you be wearing?
VB: I love anything comfortable. I probably own a hundred puffy sweaters! I’m all about comfort mixed with style, so if I’m wearing sweatpants, I’ll put on a cool shoe, or if I’m wearing shredded jeans, I’ll put on a cozy sweater.
HM: How would you describe Jesse’s style?
VB: Jesse is from a different Earth, so she brings a little of that vintage and hippie style with her, but she also may mix it up with things like heeled runners and ripped skinnies.
HM: When you are off the clock, I know some of your passions include supporting environmental and animal causes. Tell me a bit about that side of yourself…
VB: I’m passionate about using my voice. People have told me that protesting does nothing, but that’s been proven time and time again to be incorrect. If you don’t like the way a group of people (or animals) are being treated, you have to speak up! I’m a huge supporter of heavier gun control and background checks and working to make America and the world a safer place for everyone. That also applies to the air we’re breathing. Denying climate change is foolish, because it poses an even bigger threat to humanity than violence.
‘THE FLASH’ AIRS ON THE CW, TUESDAYS, 8/7c.
PHOTOGRAPHY: RYAN WEST