Ryan Kwanten Discusses Acting, Family, and Jason Stackhouse

December 22, 2009 by  

ryan-kwanten-2magazineRyan Kwanten plays the super-confident Jason Stackhouse on True Blood, but his personality in real life is not at all like Jason’s, and certainly not like most actors. For someone who admits to being not very good in social situations and uncomfortable with publicity, it seems like Ryan might have chosen the wrong profession, but in a revealing interview with the Sydney Morning Herald from his native country of Australia, the thoughtful and hard-working actor shows why he is exactly where he should be.

Anyone with eyes can see how athletic Ryan is. He has been extremely active his whole life, competing in triathlons and doing yoga and just about every physical activity possible. He considered becoming a professional athlete, or a lawyer. The 33-year old is close to his family, speaking admiringly of his two brothers and his parents. He became an actor almost by accident–Ryan was 15, went along to his brother’s audition, and ended up with a job.

When he first moved to L.A. in 2001 and was looking for work, he rode the bus or a bicycle because he couldn’t afford a car. He went to countless auditions, and tells a funny story about one audition at DreamWorks where he chained his bike in Steven Spielberg’s parking spot.

What Ryan loves about acting is that it gives him a feeling of security, like he can truly be himself, and in doing so allow all his different characters to come from “a place of truth and sincerity.” He describes how he came to feel that way:

“It wasn’t until the roles started having a little more meat to them that I thought, ‘Okay, I could probably hide behind these characters and bring out things. Things that I’ve always wanted to do.’ I guess I began to see acting as this open forum, where there were no limits…A liberation.”

It is probably this mindset that allows him to be so genuine in his portrayal Jason Stackhouse, bringing out humor and innocence in one who could otherwise be a one-dimensional moron. True Blood was a great opportunity for Ryan, and when he found out that he had been cast, he danced around his apartment.

“It was one of those things where every man and his dog were trying to get involved. I mean, a guy with that sort of pedigree [meaning executive producer Alan Ball], and the fact that it’s an HBO thing … People who are 20 years too old or too young are trying to audition.”

It seems that Ryan is just the right man for the job. Alan has praised him many times for his talent and ability as an actor, and it is perhaps because of this that Jason is his favorite character to write for:

“[The way Ryan plays Jason] is perfect. He doesn’t comment on him, he doesn’t judge him, he doesn’t feel the need to let us know he’s not really an emotionally stunted, sexually compulsive jock. He just plays it.”

Ryan may not like to be the center of attention, but he doesn’t seem to mind shedding light on his thoughts about acting in general or True Blood, specifically. He says that he is happy to talk about the show because he is truly proud of the work.

Playing Jason has been an important experience for Ryan and taught him not to analyze things so much. And while Jason often seems like he’s not thinking enough before doing something, Ryan believes there’s more to him than there seems to be:

“I really like Jason. I feel very fortunate to play him. He’s definitely got his flaws, and I know the audience may hate me with a passion after three episodes. They’re like, ‘What the f… is this guy doing? Why does he keep having sex with these women? There’s nothing to him.’ But over the course of the series, I hope they think, ‘Oh, okay, I take that back.’ When you learn more about him, you realize he’s quite a bruised guy who’s had his heart torn out more than once.”

Ryan adds a very important element to the show, and the development of Jason has been one of the most fascinating to watch over the course of two seasons. The success of True Blood has given Ryan a sense of responsibility to bring his work to another level, which fans will be able to see in a couple of movies that he filmed recently, Red Hill and Griff the Invisible, both of which are Australian. Acting is his primary focus at the moment, so that he doesn’t have time to date right now, but he sounds as though he couldn’t be more thrilled with where life is taking him.

SOURCE: smh.com.au

(Photo credit: justjared.buzznet.com)

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  • Ursula

    Gah XP

    I like Kwanten’s interviews but he’s always so vague in the answers he gives. Either that or the questions are too general. No sneak peaks into what is up and coming for Sookie’s bro? A lot of life changing things just happened with Jason in the first two seasons but I don’t know how they are gonna fit in any story-line for him with all the new characters coming into play.