Interview with Ryan Kwanten

This interview with Ryan Kwanten about "True Blood" was made available to us by HBO and 13th Street. He talks about his character Jason, his development in the second season and how Jason's relationship to Sookie changes over the first two seasons. The interview contains spoiler!

Foto: Copyright: 13TH STREET/HBO
© 13TH STREET/HBO

Photo: HBO

1. How did you react when you found out that Jason was joining the Fellowship of the Sun in the second season after being such a womanizer in the first season?

Thatís the blessing and the curse of this show, youíre constantly on your toes waiting for the next script to come out because they each just seem to one up the one before that. At first I was really wary and hesitant about the new direction because it was such a departure from where I ended the first season. But I really just felt after putting myself into that role that it was perfect. It was exactly where my character needed to go.

2. How did you feel about doing so much nudity in the first season?

I hope that they saw past the skin and saw other things there. But itís definitely something thatís more confronting for Americans than for us Australians, because weíre slightly more open-minded in the culture I grew up in. But I think thatís the beauty of working for HBO and particularly with Alan Ball, the fact that itís not just shock for shock value or gore or nudity for the sake of showing skin. It always has a certain subtext or a specific story point that they are going towards. I also think it shows Jasonís vulnerability even though he may be very comfortable with his body and with women and all that, it shows that heís searching for a sense of belonging.

3. Your character has been described as Ďdim but lovableí. What do you think of Jason Stackhouse?

Iíve obviously had to live with him now for a few years. He probably is a lot like the descriptions that people use, but at the end of the day he is someone who is misunderstood. I think heís still searching for who he is, which is why he joins this church-like organization and looks for answers in faith as opposed to women or alcohol. I think heís such an impulsive guy and heís so much fun to play because he really does just fly by the seat of his pants. Thereís not a great amount of thought that goes into his actions so itís quite electrifying to play someone like that.

4. What is his relationship with Sookie this season now that he has joined a group against vampires and sheís dating one?

Heís not aware for quite some time that he is in the opposing camp. Obviously, cracks start appearing, but he thinks heís just purely there in an innocent way to help himself. But these things get bigger than intended and he soon becomes the knight in shining armor for this church-like organization who see someone like Jason and see that they can manipulate him and use him to their advantage. He certainly is taken down a very dark path and he almost realizes too late that Sookie is involvedÖ but youíll have to wait and see.

5. Do you think heís grown or evolved this season because of his experiences?

Yes but thereís still the core Jason and he still wonít change. Heís still going to say what he feels and doesnít really have the best filter in the business. Thereís an old song that talks about ĎI think Iím getting older but I donít think Iím getting wiserí and I donít necessarily think Jasonís getting wiser; I just think his experiences are changing him. Maybe itís more of a sideways leap than a deeper understanding of who he is.

6. Can you compare what fame is like on this show to your experience on Home and Away?

The key difference is my age. Even though Iíd done other shows before, Home and Away was the most public thing Iíd done there and I was on it for four and a half years - and I still go back to Australia and get recognized as Vinnie so itís quite extraordinary. It doesnít disturb me and it doesnít make me think that Iím going to be burdened with it for life because it was always such a good positive experience for me. But in terms of the actual fame, it was just a different kind of fishbowl. Iíve always been very much sort of a homebody and I donít listen to blogs or critics because the joy for me in acting is the journey not the result regardless of the country I am working in or the type of show I am on. So I love being on set and doing all that kind of stuff and the actual end product is sort of a byproduct of what I do.

7. How do you feel about the way the show has turned into a phenomenon?

Yeah, at first it was like our own little beast that no one knew about. We were shooting this series that we felt was certainly special but at this point it was like raising a child that youíre not quite ready yet to give to the world. That was at the early stage. Then as the heat of the show started getting bigger and bigger and people started watching, itís like your child was saying to you ďItís time for me to move out mom and dad and find my own wings myself.Ē So at a certain point you do give the ownership of the show away and you do give it to the people and Iím thrilled they love it so much.

8. What have been some of the memorable interactions youíve had with fans?

Iím always amazed at the sheer demographic that weíre able to capture. Itís not the Twilight audience; itís this really across-the-board group of people who tend to like this show. Itís both sexes and everyone from older teenagers to grandmas and grandpas. I really feel like there is something in there for everyone. Thereís such a unique cast of characters and story points that you canít help but be affected by at least one of them that you relate to more than the others.

9. What do people say when they recognize you?

If they donít know a lot about me, theyíre quite surprised that Iím not from Louisiana. Iíve had a couple people insist that I was putting on this accent for another role. I said, Ďno, I hate to disappoint you but Iím Australian!í

10. Does it feel like your career has changed because of the show?

Yeah, Iíd like to believe that every role sort of led me to where I am and made me a better actor and a better person. I feel like I really have worked my butt off to get to this point and the doors are opened a little easier now.

11. Was it true that the movie Flicka helped get you this job?

Yes, Alan said in an interview that he saw the family movie Flicka and thought ďOh this is sort of like a G-rated Jason!í So you never know what life is going to hand you and itís proof you have to make the best of every opportunity. It may have just been a good-natured little horse film I did at the time to some people, but for me it single-handedly changed my career.

12. How does the cast get along?

Itís great. Itís such an eclectic bunch of people. We all come from different walks of life, different countries and different experiences and acting styles. When you put it all together itís sort of this wild cacophony of madness that tends to work really well.

13. Have you settled into living in Hollywood?

I will have been here eight years in December and itís a really good second home. Australiaís definitely still got my heart but Iím comfortable here. I live near the beach, which helps with the homesickness and I just think itís more conducive to a better lifestyle. Even though it takes me a little longer to travel to work, itís worth it.

14. Are you doing anything on your next break?

As soon as I finish work on the second season, I fly directly to Australia to shoot a film there called ĎRed Hillí for five weeks. Itís like; ĎNo Country for Old Mení meets ĎHigh Plains Drifterí! I play a cop and itís his first day in this country town and he moved from the city to help his wife have a not-so-stressful pregnancy but things just get worse and worse as the day progresses and thereís a maximum security break-out. So heís not only left in charge of the town, heís left to discover that things arenít what they appear to be.