Ryan Kwanten Video Interview On ‘True Blood,’ On-Screen Nudity
Ryan Kwanten, 36, may be best known to American audiences for his many nude scenes as Jason Stackhouse on the HBO series True Blood, based on the Southern Vampire book series by author Charlaine Harris, but the actor had a long career growing up Down Under before arriving Stateside.
Kwanten began his acting while attending Sydney University, where he earned a degree in business. He first garnered attention when he portrayed lifeguard Vinnie Patterson on the Australian television series Home and Away. His film credits include Red Hill, Griff the Invisible and Don’t Fade Away. Kwanten also wrote a book satirizing self-help advisors in The G Strategy, published in 2010. In his spare time, the actor is a licensed yoga instructor and competed in the world biathalon in Sweden in 2006 and 2007 in Italy.
But Kwanten will always be best known for his buff bod on full display in his frequent nude scenes on True Blood. “It’s always confronting when you walk into your wardrobe trailer and you just see just a modesty patch hanging from the coat hanger instead of a whole array of clothes,” Kwanten told Uinterview exclusively. “But with Jason, it was always story points. I never feel like I was exposing myself to the masses. It was always justified.”
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A very good question. I think the reason why audiences like Jason Stackhouse is the fact that everyone knows someone like Jason, maybe not to the extremes that he takes things, but I think he has that kind of universal appeal in the fact that everyone knows someone who does those silly things. You know what — Jason's sort of one of those guys who really just shoots from his hip pocket, so quite often he doesn't even know what he's gonna do, so whatever I tend to do is what Jason tends to do, so I'm very "spur of the moment" with my instincts and whatnot with Jason. So he keeps me and he keeps you on your toes, I hope.
Joe, I think people are obsessed with vampires because there's a level of intrigue in the fact that they were once human themselves. They have human qualities, yet they posses sort of almost like a sixth sense, in a way. And I think there's that level of of intrigue where just when you think you get to know a vampire they can turn on you. That to me is very intriguing.
You know, with those sort of things, I'm more than happy to leave it in the expert hands of the writer. Obviously it's based on a series of books, but Alan [Ball] and his team of writers sort of created somewhat of a TV liberty with the books and, honestly, whatever they give me I'll take.
I've actually done a few American dialects now that I've been in America for, well, over seven years now. So it's really just a matter of pushing it to the back. When I talk American my voice is like an octave or two lower, and it's all sort of to do with the mouth — where I position my mouth and tongue and the pallet and all that kind of stuff. It sounds very technical, but really it's very simple.
I seem to be a little uncomfortable even answering this question. Yeah, it's always confronting when you walk into your wardrobe trailer and you just see just a modesty patch hanging from the coat hanger instead of a whole array of clothes. But with Jason, it was always story points. I never feel like I was exposing myself to the masses. It was always justified.
This is probably a long and somewhat boring story. But I always used to be a sportsman, and I was on my way to training. My brother was a dancer and wanted to get into acting. And my mom was dropping us both off. Time was ticking by and I had my training and my brother was auditioning. I ran up the stairs and my mom said 'What are you doing here?' And I said, 'Look just drop me off I can't miss training.' The lady came out of the audition for my brother and said, 'Oh are you here for the audition as well?' I said, 'No I can't act.' She said 'Look, come in and we'll audition you anyway.' To cut a long story short, I ended up getting in and he didn't. Right place right time.
Great question, Bill. For me, what I get from pushing myself so hard is there's a real — I'm almost obsessed with — in sports you call it "hitting the wall." Hitting the wall, gritting the teeth, breaking down the wall, and then overcoming. I think that's sort of an obsession that both fans and athletes have, and I've sort of taken that, I guess, into more of an art form in the acting world. So far it seems to be working.
No secret tricks. I actually really enjoy working out and, like I said, pushing my body to the limits and my mind so, no. Just good old plain hard work.
I read a lot. I've got a small, tight handful of friends that I will hang out with, and we'll go to movies, have a couple of drinks, and experience the good life. Other than that I'm a bit of a homebody.
Well, Matt, we're actually in New York right now, based out of L.A., so I'm shooting "Law and Order: SVU" right now, and then I've just wrapped a film called "Don't Fade Away." Then we get back for the second season, which you'll be happy to know, very early. We start shooting in like January and we'll be on air in June. So I look forward to see you watching it.