DC Universe’s Titans star Ryan Potter has more in common with his character Beast Boy than you’d think. During our interview at the New York Comic Con, Potter explained how Teen Titans, and Beast Boy in particular, played an important role in his life after he came to America from Japan.
DC Universe’s first season of Titans premiered on October 12, 2018. In addition to Potter as Gar Logan/Beast Boy, the cast includes Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson/Robin, Anna Diop as Kory Anders/Starfire, Teagan Croft as Rachel Roth/Raven, Minka Kelly as Dawn Granger/Dove, and Alan Ritchson as Hank Hall/Hawk.
Beast Boy is such a fan favorite character. Were you already a fan or did you dive deep into the comics?
Ryan Potter: “I was. When I moved from Japan to America, Teen Titans was actually the first animated series that I not found relatable but was similar in style – the animation style – to what I watched back home. Teen Titans was really the first animated show I fell in love with. Beast Boy in particular, the way he assimilates to humanity because he’s green, because he’s in exile or a reject or whatever you want to say, his use of pop culture and I guess pop culture knowledge to integrate into humanity and to make friends, I used that as a model to when I didn’t speak English. Like, when my English was rough I used pop culture and toys and music and movies to be able to relate to other kids at school.
Yeah, I mean it’s a full circle, man. Beast Boy’s been a part of my life since I was seven. So, yeah.”
What was it like then to suddenly become Beast Boy and get that role?
Ryan Potter: “It’s frickin’ bizarre. I feel like I’m dreaming. This doesn’t feel real at all. It’s fun but it’s also a bummer sometimes because you almost want to be the animal. Like, you want to tell yourself, ‘Yeah, I’m Beast Boy. Cool, yeah.’ And then you go and they’re like, ‘Okay, so we’re doing the tiger transformation.’ You’re like, ‘I can’t actually do that. So, CGI please.’”
What do you think about the CGI tiger?
Ryan Potter: “To be 100% honest, when I first saw it I was little disappointed. But since then they’ve done multiple passes and I’m really happy with how it’s looking, especially for a first episode of a first season.
Whenever you watch television…I think viewers are becoming smarter. The production value of everything just increases over time and to have the tiger look the way it does straight off the bat, I think it’s a testament to how much effort they’re trying to put into the series and especially attention to detail. They could have just focused on Robin and the suit, but they took the time in making sure the green of the tiger was right. The transformation of the tiger looks anatomically correct. The amount of work they put into it is wild.”
It’s a very dark show but Beast Boy often has lent humor to it. Is that going to happen throughout Titans?
Ryan Potter: “It will be. I think the only way that Beast Boy is grounded in this series is I guess the physical comedy that was a fan favorite in the Teen Titans animated series, there’s only so much I can do. I can’t physically turn into a cat and make a cat face to react to something. So, a lot of the humor is just Beast Boy’s genuine heart in contrast to how dark the world is.
Episode one you see me very briefly. Episode three I start to integrate in. People will see how every character is introduced and the relationships between each one. It’s a slow burn but watching it it’s worth it because you’re waiting for these characters to show up on screen. You’re like, ‘I’m liking everything so far so where’s my favorite character?’ Throughout the series there are more and more characters introduced. So, yeah, I can’t wait for everyone to see Beast Boy.”
Which episode are you most excited for fans to see?
Ryan Potter: “I am a huge fan of John Fawcett and he directed “The Doom Patrol” episode. That episode to me is closer to the tone of the Teen Titans that everybody knows. It’s a little bit more humorous but still there is the grounded dark reality of everything. But, it is a little more vibrant and colorful. The characters are quirky and you’re meeting these family members. That is by far my favorite episode simply because I’m in it. No! (Laughing) But in all seriousness, I think it’s the first time we get to see the Titans kind of in action.”
When you were researching the comics did you wind up with any favorite Beast Boy stories that stuck out in your mind?
Ryan Potter: “I actually made this hat. When the Titans go camping, Gar makes shirts and hats for everybody. Starfire wears it unbeknownst to what it says and the arrow and all that. That is Beast Boy. He’s just trying to make people smile and laugh the entire time. There’s a level of narcissism that Beast Boy has that I try and maintain. Beast Boy was an actor. He had a short-lived acting career that not many people know about.” (The video shows Potter putting on the hat Gar made for the camping outing.)
More on Titans:
- Interview with Brenton Thwaites
- Anna Diop Interview
- Teagan Croft Interview
- Minka Kelly Interview
- Alan Ritchson Interview