Ryan Kwanten: From ‘True Blood’ to ‘Griff the Invisible’

Ryan Kwanten.

To America, he is Jason Stackhouse, the sweet but dim brother to vampire-magnet Sookie Stackhouse on HBO’s “True Blood,” but with the release of his latest film, “Griff the Invisible,” audiences will get to see a different side of Ryan Kwanten.

The 34 year-old Sydney native plays the reserved office drone, Griff, who at night dons black latex and takes to the streets fighting crime. As a man used to stunts – and being mauled — Kwanten talked to Metro about doing stunts on the set of “Griff” and gave us a few “True Blood” spoilers.

Are you a do-your-own-stunts kind of guy?

To be honest, I try to do the majority of them. There’s a certain amount of producer liability that I get into quite regularly and I am known particularly on the “True Blood” set for pushing myself physically. It’s gotten me into the hospital more than a few times. That, I don’t mind. I think on “Griff” pretty much everything I did do. I find some of the physical stuff somewhat easier than just standing there to be honest.

Did you want to be a superhero when you were a kid?

Yeah, I think every young boy and even girl too, dreams of being a superhero. I was always out in the backyard just playing imaginary soldiers and firing my imaginary machine gun. That’s why this story really resonated with me beyond the superhero thing. He’s a guy who was just at conflict with society and what society was telling him to be.

This character and the one you play on “True Blood” both have a kind of naivete. Why do you think people see you in that way?

Because I come from the type of acting the comes from life experience as opposed to acting experience, my style and my approach is very malleable so I’m not restricted to a particular method. I’m open to pretty much everything so I guess it’s just the ability to kind of wear your heart on your sleeve is a good quality to have as an actor and particularly as a male actor.

So in “True Blood” can you talk about your character maturing a bit this season?

It’s an attribute of the writers on the show that they can constantly mold these characters to give them a sense of evolution, particularly now that we’ve picked up this season a year later. In the previous three seasons, it was only sort of three weeks that had gone by in Bon Temps, Louisiana time. It was nice for all the actors to be able to play with, “What would my character have done in this entire year?” Jason’s gone out and made himself a cop and tried to turn himself into a bit of a man now.

Have you ever been asked to do something on “True Blood” that you were uncomfortable with?

Not really. “True Blood”’s known for pushing the barriers and thinking outside the box and we’re leaving ourselves in an Academy Award winner’s hands, so I feel quite protected when it comes to that sort of stuff. Jason’s a very liberal and out-there character so most things are within the realm of possibility.


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