Ryan Kwanten Explores Sexuality in True Blood and Other Roles

August 16, 2009 by  

ryan_kwanten9000x0297x600Before Ryan Kwanten became intimately acquainted with True Blood‘s “Sock of Destiny” (as the cast jokingly refers to the wardrobe item for the guys in one of their many naked scenes), he was playing a bisexual angel on the stage.

Fit to Be Tied, by playwright Nicky Silver, ran for several months in 2002 at a theatre in Ryan‘s hometown, Sydney, Australia. Ryan played Boyd, a young man who has run away from his family and works as an angel in the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall. When the wealthy Arloc Simpson becomes overwhelmed with loneliness and fear of dying, he meets Boyd and, convinced that this is his last chance to be happy, kidnaps him and keeps him tied up in his apartment. The story examines the power of love and family, albeit in an unconventional manner.

According to the director of the play, Ryan delivered a great performance:

“The gay aspects of the character were in no way an issue for him, and everyone who saw the play found him utterly convincing.”

The author of an article for the Atlanta Examiner focuses in on the experience Ryan gained from playing a bisexual in Fit to Be Tied, stating that it has carried over into his role as Jason Stackhouse on True Blood. The writer discusses the relationship between Jason and his rival at the Light of Day leadership conference, Luke MacDonald:

The two “frenemies” have a same-sex attraction, and that’s a surprise for Jason.

As an example, he cites the chemistry between the two during the flag football game when they keep tackling each other. Hmmm…That’s a pretty big leap from what we saw happening during that scene in “Keep This Party Going,” episode 2 of season 2. Jason‘s competitive nature came alive when Luke hit him really hard, so he took his shirt off, tied it around his head, and showed his determination to win.

When watching this, I didn’t get a vibe from Jason that said, “Hey, Luke, check me out.” Rather, it was like, “Hey, Luke, I’m used to being the alpha male, so I’m going to prove to everyone that I’m the best.” Going shirtless is more of Jason in his natural state than him making a sexual gesture.

jason-stackhouse-ryan-kwantenRyan Kwanten is clearly very comfortable with his body and with who he is. Whether he’s being intimate with a guy in a play, or getting physical with almost every woman in Bon Temps and the surrounding area, Ryan does it convincingly. I think the great testament to his talent as an actor is that he manages to add dimensions to a seemingly one-sided character like Jason. He has to play a foolish, immature, sex-driven guy, yet he never seems to be judging Jason for the poor decisions he makes, or trying to turn him into a joke. When you watch interviews with Ryan, he talks about how he recognizes Jason‘s flaws and tries to make people to feel emotionally connected to him in spite of those flaws.

Jason‘s heart is in the right place. Even when he is a mindless idiot who allows people to brainwash him and plant their babies in his head, he comes around in the end.

SOURCES: www.examiner.com, www.dramatists.com

(Photo credits: Google Images)

  • antonio

    I don’t see the same sex attraction that both this article and others speak of. In order for their to be an attraction it has to be mutual from Both parties. It would seem to me that Luke Mcdonald had a thing for Jason. It seems that he may have hated himself because of his “crush” on Jason. As with the football game,guys play rough…roughhousing is Not a sexual thing.
    One thing that I find particularly disturbing is That when Luke jumped Jason and threw him down to the ground it seemed almost like a sexual assault and not a “playful joke”. Maybe it Was just a sick joke~~As it seemed all the guys had been attacked by vampires~~I’m glad Jason punched him out! Horseplay is 1 thing
    Sexual Assault is something else. In My opinion, There was No attraction,just Luke trying to assert his dominance over Jason and being a real Bully! Its patently obvious he was jealous of Jason~~perhaps Because he had a “thing” for him??
    Jason got treated like crap by All those people! They let him down. Its something how in this storyline Jason Stackhouse is “attacked” sexually by The vamp his gf staked ~~~in a weird dream sequence~~ and By Luke Mcdonald~~even if it was meant to look like horseplay. Perhaps I’m out of line for saying this but Rape is No laughing matter. Thank You for allowing me to speak my mind here.

  • antonio

    I admire the fact that Ryan was not afraid to take risks with his acting career. It takes a lot of courage to play gay/lesbian/bisexual on stage,in film or on tv. Part of what acting is is to try and get inside the mind of a character..to find out their motivations,what drives them what makes them who they are. I can respect the choices he has made with his career.Part of what it means to be a good actor is to try different roles,take your character in new directions to grow through diverse parts. I certainly don’t look down on these actors on TB just because they have chosen to do scenes involving nudity or some sexual content. Its Not gratuitous..its integral to the stories..Plus it Is HBO
    I would agree it may be innapropriate for those under 18 But for those of us who are adults Its something we enjoy. Its a great show! I think that Both True Blood And Twilight have challenged me to look at things in a new way.
    TB is Not just about vampires..its about People,Relationships,Prejudice and Learning to see people for who they are. I think that Both TB and TL are about acceptance and perhaps forgiveness and letting go.

  • antonio

    I just looked his bio He is Not Married. Nor were there mention of Any children. It did say his b-day is in Nov. and that he will be 33 this year. Like most of the cast he is nothing like the air-brained bonehead he plays on the show.

  • antonio

    Of course it goes without saying that True Blood is a character study in sexuality…I think any 1 who watches the show knows that. The interesting dynamic here is sexual attraction and engagement between humans and vampires. In season 1 it is quite clear that vampires have “come out of the coffin” they wish to mainstream among humans. The synthetic TB drink makes it possible for them to blend in with human folk and not rely on them as a food source.However,vampires such as Eric Northman still choose to feed on humans. As with Most vampire stories there is Always a bisexual element. Only vampires could get away with feeding or biting Anyone they wish….irregardless of gender. The vampire queen Sophie-Ann is bisexual She likes gals
    yet she asks Bill if he would like sex from her.
    With regards to Ryan Kwanten,I recently read an interviewof his in which he said hes So busy with his work he has No time for a “social life” hes much too busy for dating Now WHY would he say THAT IF he WERE married with kids???
    Yet another interviewer asked him what he looks for in a gal
    WHY would she ask him That IF he were married???!
    I think some1 is misinformed. Even IF he were gay/bisexual it WOULD be NOones business but HIS own,

  • vampirebelle


    • Val

      Well in real life he is married and has 4 or 5 kids.

      • vampirebelle


      • antonio

        I think you hhave hhim confused with Rick Schroeder..who has 5 kids. I do not think Ryan is married.