WORDS BY PHIL LIMPRASERTWONG
Ryan Potter as the beloved Beastboy is everything that we could ask for in a live-action version of Teen Titans!
Teen Titans is a show that hits home for all of the 90’s kids who grew up watching cartoons every Saturday morning. They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover for a reason and “Titans” is definitely one of those shows worth trying out. The show takes a darker approach that’s fresh and exciting and something that we’ve yet to see in other superhero shows.
In our exclusive interview we got to chat with the Titans star about his role as Beastboy and the pressure that came with taking on the role of such an iconic character.
Fun fact: Ryan was also the voice actor of Hiro from Big Hero 6.
Hi, Ryan! Thank you for chatting with us. Tell us a little about your story. Who is Ryan Potter?
Ultimately I would not be sitting in this chair if it wasn’t for my background, the genetic makeup of my parents, my martial arts history, my immigrant story. My life has been quite interesting up until this point. Trying to find the right words and trying to explain who I am has been increasingly more difficult because I’m finding that there are more responsibilities that I have to take on as who I am in who I am because of where I come from and the people I’m supposed to represent. Who is Ryan Potter? I mean if you heard the name Ryan Potter I’d expect a 6 foot tall, blonde haired, blue eyed, corn-fed kid from Wisconsin. When casting directors hear that name and see me show up it doesn’t quite fit. I have had other names, like my middle name and my uninherited last name that are Japanese and I kinda keep those to myself. Up until this point, it’s been primarily my martial arts that has gotten me into acting because that’s the job that I do. I am an actor, voice actor and that’s Ryan Potter as of now.
Were you a big comic book or superhero fan prior to landing the role?
I’ve always loved visual storytelling. My love for visual storytelling came from the manga/anime background I grew up with so I didn’t grow up with American comics per say but I grew up with the Japanese equivalent which is Manga. I grew up reading Weekly in Shonen Jump and stand alone titles, I grew up reading One Piece, Toriko and Fullmetal Alchemist. It was the only way that I could kinda stay in touch with the pop culture elements of my roots back home because Anime hadn’t made it to the States yet when I moved here. I’d have to go to Japan and buy a bunch of physical copies and bring it back with me to the States. So I like comic books in a certain sense.
Are there any similarities between you and your character Gar?
We both like to eat a lot of food (laughs.) I try and approach every situation with love and optimism and hope and you know all those attributes people strive for. You know I don’t think we could maintain that and do that every minute, every hour of the day but that mentality of attempting to try is something that I share with Gar.
Comic book fans can be very critical when it comes to their favorite characters coming to life on screen. With so many cartoon versions of Beastboy prior to the show such as Teen Titans, Young Justice & Teen Titans Go, was there a lot of pressure to take on the role of such an iconic character?
I kinda knew from the get go that it wouldn’t be an easy job just because of how much of a built in fan base there already is but I also had faith in my abilities to portray him simply because I grew up sitting on my couch every Saturday and Sunday watching Teen Titans and watching Beastboy so I did grew up with the character to a certain degree. I didn’t grow up with him in the comic book sense but I grew up with him in the animation sense. Once I started auditioning for this, I went out and purchased all the comic books that Beastboy was in and ended up kinda speed reading through all of them.
So far we’ve only seen Beastboy turn into a tiger. Which animal would you like to see him turn into next?
In the season finale we might see Garfield turn into some sort of aquatic animal. I can’t say which animal because that’s too much of a give away but he will turn into an amphibious creature of sorts.
If you were a book, what type of book would you be and why?
I would be one of those old dusty books at the top corners of the bookshelf that hasn’t been touched in awhile but you open up and it’s like the most beautifully painted pages you’ve ever seen. I’d be that kind of a book. I don’t know if that answer made any sense but if it made sense to you we’d get along. (Laughs.)
Check out the rest of our interview with Ryan in the video below:
Catch Ryan as Gar aka Beastboy on Titans!