It takes a more than just raw talent to make it in the entertainment industry. The recipe for success calls for hard work, determination, unrelenting drive and a little sprinkle of luck. Most of all, it takes a true passion for the craft. In short, Violett Beane has all the right ingredients on hand to assemble a truly amazing career! A native of Austin, Texas, Violett fell in love with performing and took theatre throughout middle and high school. Though she always knew she was meant to perform, it was not until her senior year of high school that she focused on TV and in film. When the timing was right, she made the jump to Los Angeles and never looked back! It wasn’t long before her work began to turn the heads of fanboys and Hollywood decision-makers alike! Fans of the CW series “The Flash” will instantly recognize Violett from her role as Jesse Wells, the daughter of Earth-2 Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), and speedster Jesse Quick in the beloved series.
Through the years, she has continued to keep her career momentum building by taking on increasingly challenging roles. With that said, there is no doubt that 2018 will be one of her most ambitious and productive years to date. She was recently seen recurring in the Fox medical drama series ‘The Resident,’ which centers on a tough, brilliant senior resident Dr. Conrad Hawkins (Matt Czuchry) who guides an idealistic young doctor Dr. Devon Pravesh (Manish Dayal) through his first day, pulling back the curtain on what really happens, both good and bad, in modern-day medicine. Violett plays “Lily Kendall”, a cancer patient under the care of Dr. Hawkins and Dr. Pravesh. Abandoned by her fiancé and far from home, Lily inspires the hospital staff to be protective and emotionally involved in her outcome. The course of her treatment by famous oncologist, Dr. Lane Hunter (Melina Kanakaredes), is a crucial key to the thriller arc of the season. In her latest big screen project, Violett stars as a lead alongside Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey in the Blumhouse/Universal Pictures horror film, ‘Truth Or Dare’. The film follows a group of friends that play a harmless game of Truth or Dare that turns deadly when someone, or something, begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare. Violett plays character “Markie Cameron,” who is forced to make some truly terrifying moves as the game plays out!
You’ve become quite a familiar face in television and film over the past few years. Let’s go back to the start for a moment. How did you get involved with the arts early on and when did you know this was a path you wanted to pursue professionally?
I was in theater in middle and high school. I really, really enjoyed being onstage, working on lines and developing characters but, as a kid, I definitely didn’t see it as a career. It was just something that I enjoyed. In between my junior and senior year of high school, I really sat down with myself and thought about it. I thought, “I don’t know that I necessarily need the usual college route for what it is that I want to do because the only thing I enjoy is acting.” I think it’s probably the best decision I ever made for myself because I immediately went out, got an agent and started auditioning and sending in taped auditions. I think if I had gone to college at that point in my life, I wouldn’t have been able to jump into it so soon, so I feel it was a great decision for me.
You originally hail from Texas. What type of impact did making the jump to Los Angeles have on you? I imagine there was at least a bit of culture shock.
Oh, absolutely! I was definitely a little scared when I first decided to do it, but I realize now that while you can get your start anywhere, you don’t necessarily have to be in New York or Los Angeles. For me, as you know, I sent in a tape for ‘The Flash’ and I booked it. I was in Austin at the time. It’s a small town in Texas that doesn’t have a huge industry. At the same time, if you want to continue your career and book the next job, you have to be in the room talking to people and having casting directors meet you. That’s a lot of it, you connecting with people on a very real, face-to-face level. I realize now that I probably couldn’t do my job now from anywhere else! I’ve really learned to love LA! Like any new place, you find your people and the things you like to do. LA is so sunny that it’s hard to not be happy here! [laughs]
Let’s talk about ‘The Flash.’ That was your introduction to TV in many ways and you’ve grown alongside your character, Jesse Quick. What impact has the series had on you and your craft?
Oh my gosh, it’s been such a terrific learning experience! I will always remember my first day on set for ‘The Flash.’ I was so nervous! [laughs] I had memorized my lines the week before and when I got in there, I kept forgetting them! I was just so nervous because I had never been on such a big set with such an important role to play! I can’t forget Tom [Cavanaugh] being there for me the whole time. He could tell I was nervous, so he was helping me out as much as he could and I will forever remember that and hope I can do that for another actor down the road.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced with this role over the course of several seasons?
I think with superheroes in general and something like ‘The Flash’ that already has such a huge following, I was definitely thrown a bit when there were so many people weighing in with their opinion at all times. People were mostly excited and the fans have been so supportive but it was a lot to take in. That was definitely a learning a curve, having a fandom and having people care so much about what you’re doing. Overall, it has been such a positive thing. I’ve been able to do so much and get the next jobs because I have these people behind me, so I think that’s been a huge thing.
Where do you hope to see your character go in the future?
I have loved all of my time on ‘The Flash,’ playing Jessie and putting the suit on, so I’m really down with whatever! I know she has a whole Earth to protect, so she can’t keep popping in over on Earth One, but it’s fun when she does!
You have had a very quick rise as a young actress. Has it been difficult to balance your personal life and career?
Yeah, ya know, with anything I have ever done in my life I listen to myself and if I’m enjoying it, I keep doing it. I have had a great experience so far in my acting career. If at some point I feel overwhelmed or if I’m not enjoying it anymore, that’s when I will take a step back and re-evaluate. Right now, it does get crazy at times but you ground yourself with people who support you and my boyfriend is more than that. I have a great team around me!
You have a brand new film hitting theaters this week and it looks like a lot of fun. Tell us a little about ‘Truth or Dare’ and how you got involved.
‘Truth or Dare’ is about a group of college kids who go to Mexico for their final spring break. They get convinced to play a game of ‘Truth or Dare’ but, after they’re done, the guy who convinced them to play tells them that the game is actually haunted and if you don’t play, you die! Obviously, they don’t believe him but once they get back into their regular lives, they realize that he was telling the truth and something is possessing the game. If they don’t tell the truth or do the dare, they die! So it gets spooky! [laughs] I auditioned for the role last summer and I really liked the project. I went back a couple of times and I actually I got offered the role in the room, which is something that doesn’t usually happened. I was doing a chemistry read with Lucy Hale. Jeff [Wadlow], her and the other creators asked me to step outside. I stepped outside for two seconds and they called me back in. They were like, “Do you want the job?” Of course, I did! [laughs] It was pretty crazy and it was another great experience.
Blumhouse is known for their very fast-paced shoots. How did the shooting schedule for this flick compare to what you’ve experienced on past projects? I imagine that can be both fun and challenging!
We shot the whole movie in 25 days, which is insane for a feature length film! I think, with horror, it works because everything is supposed to be fast-paced and cut together. There are also heightened emotions and I think being on a really quick schedule only adds to it because it doesn’t give you time to second guess all of these things. It’s definitely different from TV where you have a set schedule, you have a certain amount of time and you know this from the beginning. It was pretty different. As a cast, we had great chemistry. We all went to Mexico before we started filming and bonded for 24 hours. While we were shooting, we became really good friends. In fact, we still hang out all the time. It really didn’t feel like work because we were hanging out in LA in the summertime! We were on location for everything, which was cool because you get to go to different parts of LA, discover new neighborhoods and find cool buildings that you didn’t know before, which is always fun. It’s also challenging because you don’t know what you’re working with! Basically, the final week of filming, we were being thrown into the dirt for the end sequence! Debris and rocks were falling on us and it was crazy! I remember Lucy and I laughing and being like, “This is our job!” [laughs] It was a lot of fun!
A quick look at your resume shows you have tackled plenty of dark material in the past. Is that something you find yourself naturally drawn to? A lot of the projects you have coming up are the polar opposite in many ways. Is that by design?
Yeah, ya know, if I had the choice of one movie or show I would watch forever, it would be something darker like ‘Black Mirror.’ I love anything that is twisted, dark and not what you expect. I also love being part of those things because they make me want to watch them. But, you’re right, I am switching gears. I just shot a pilot for CBS called ‘God Friended Me.’ It’s a dramedy, so there are comedy elements and it’s a bit light hearted but there are some dark and twisty things in that as well! So, to answer your question, Yes! I guess you could say I’m drawn to it.
What are you looking for in the projects you take on at this point in your career?
Having a good core set of morals is really important for any show, as well as having everyone on the show have a difference background and interesting story. Making sure the writing reflects that is the most important thing for me. For example, you can have an African American on the screen but if you don’t have someone who understands that culture writing for them, then you don’t have anything. For me, I just want to portray America as it is. I want people to see all walks of life on television and movies. That’s really important to me.
What goes into the process of building out the characters you bring to the screen?
I think it’s different with every character. A couple of years ago, I played a character who was a real women in a documentary. She is a real woman who survived a mass school shooting. For something like that, you’re doing different research for than you would with something like Jesse Quick on ‘The Flash.’ It’s always researched based. Another great example is my role on ‘The Resident,’ where I played Lily. She is a terminal cancer patient, so there was research there that I had to delve into. I like to know as much as possible, talk to my creators, go into hair and makeup and have it all figured out! You figure it as you go, as well. As a series goes on, you really start to fall into this character and truly understand their nuances.
In addition to you’re stellar work in front of the camera, you’ve done quite a bit behind the camera in the realm of music videos. Where do you see that aspect of your creative life going?
Yeah, I directed a music video for Eyelid Kid and it was so much fun! Every time I’m on set, I try to learn new things about each new position and what each person does because, as a director, you’re managing everyone and everything. You’ve got to know each individual aspect and you can’t expect just to come in and expect to do it straight away. Directing is such a difficult job but I’m hoping to direct again very soon! Until then, every day I’m just trying to learn more and more!
When it comes to your directorial style, who were some of your biggest influences?
I’ve always loved Wes Anderson and I think his stuff is really cool. I also really liked ‘Ladybird’ and how it showed a very personal story and way of directing. I found that inspirational because it shows that if you want something, you just have to get out there and do it! Write something for yourself or write to what you want to see — that’s really cool!
I read that you recently decided to pursue a vegan lifestyle. Tell us a little about that change and how it’s impacted you.
It came from a lot of different things that all culminated at the same time about 6 months ago. First, I’ve always loved animals so not killing them is a great thing! [laughs] I also feel there is a direct correlation between how we treat animals and how we treat each other. I think the idea of raising something and killing it for a millisecond of pleasure, because we eat so fast these days, translates to how we walk, talk and treat everyone in our lives. There is also a huge environmental benefit to not raising animals. They use so much of our natural resources, land, crops and water, which is immensely more than it is for normal crops. I’m trying to save the planet so those actions, on a personal level, definitely help!
What’s something about your creative side that you think people might be surprised to find out?
I think every project that I work on allows me to express more and more of myself. I’m also a cook and a baker, so I feel like every time I make a meal for myself or my friends, I am also expressing myself creatively. I was recently stuck in New York for a month in a tiny little hotel with no kitchen. That’s when I realized that food is my creative outlet in a way. Acting is too, but you are part of a bigger thing. You do your part but there are many other components to it. With cooking, it’s you, the ingredients and however it turns out is on you! I’ve really found a happiness with it!
What’s the best lesson we can take from your journey?
I think the best lesson is to be happy. It goes back to what I was saying early, I’ve always done everything that makes me happy. If that’s what’s gotten me this far, which I think it is, then that’s great! Once your aren’t enjoy whatever it is that you are doing, that’s when you should step back and make some changes!
Well said! Thank for your time today, Violett! I’m sure we will catch up again soon. Until then, I wish you all the best!
Thank so much, Jason! Take care!
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.