Ryan Kwanten: Kwanten Leap
BY Brandon Voss
November 18 2010 4:00 AM ET
You’ve seen practically every inch of Ryan Kwanten as endearingly dim himbo Jason Stackhouse on HBO’s vampire drama True Blood. But there’s more to the 33-year-old Aussie than meets the naked eye — including a wild new role, a younger gay brother, and a surprisingly humble outlook on acting.
The Advocate: You play a wannabe cop on True Blood and a young police officer in Red Hill, an Australian Western now in theaters. Do you get the butch appeal of packing a big gun?
Ryan Kwanten: Many little boys fantasize about playing the hero in a traditional shoot-’em-up — a guy who’s quick on the draw. But what really fascinated me about Red Hill was that this guy is full of faults, so it felt like a prequel to John Wayne and Clint Eastwood — before they turned into bad-asses.
Before True Blood, you starred as a lifeguard in the Australian soap Home and Away. Were you aware of gay fans that early in your career?
Yes, they’ve always been very staunch supporters of me. The great thing is that it’s a loyal fan base — they’ll stick with you through thick and thin, and I like that. You can’t buy that kind of loyalty.
I read a story in Star that claimed you purposely keep your love life private in part because you’re so conscious of your gay following. Any truth to that?
Well, it’s in Star, so it’s got to be true. [Laughs] But yeah, and, to be honest, it’s more than my love life. It was Einstein who once said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” We almost know too much about far too many actors in this day and age — to the point where it becomes harder and harder to see them as a character. So I’ve always tried to maintain somewhat of an air of mystery.
Were you always comfortable with the idea of male admirers?
Oh, yeah. Australians are a very open-minded society, and I come from a very liberal, open family, so it’s something that I’ve embraced from the get-go. My youngest brother, Lloyd, is gay.
Tell me about him.
He’s a doctor, so he got every ounce of intelligence in the family. He was probably about 18 when he came out, and I can wholeheartedly tell you that from the day that he did, he was a changed man for the better. The sheer beauty of who he is really came through.