“True Blood‘s” charming nit-wit, Ryan Kwanten, is partially responsible for the always escalating Sunday night audience ratings – but can he hold his own at the box office? This weekend’s release, Red Hill, starring the Aussie heart throb should provide a verdict. This modern western is centered around Shane Cooper, a young cop whose been re-located to an eerily remote Australian town. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Kwanten to discuss the picture and his upcoming projects.
Check out the interview below…
The obvious question: What drew you to the role?
Ryan Kwanten: It was the story first and foremost. It was the fallibility of this character, that he was set out to be the hero yet had all these faults. And, yet, what intrigued me the most was the snap judgement made at the beginning – without giving too much away – and then to be pleasantly surprised and proven wrong in the end by the judgement that I made. I’d like to think I’m slightly intelligent, and if I can be fooled in this way, if we do even a half decent way of making this film, we can have that same affect on somebody else.
Shane doesn’t exactly fit the general description of a cop.
RK: Yes. He was not really like the other characters. Not this impenetrable force that you felt like no matter what he was up against, he could handle it. Cause from the very first frame of the film he’s forgotten his gun. Which is rule number one in the cop log book – bring the gun to work. Then his day gets progressively worse and worse, it’s literally the worst day in the history of policing. But without him, it’s just a good old fashion shoot ‘em up. We wanted it to be about something- which is why it was important to keep the scenes with Shane and his wife.
Were you a fan of classic westerns before you signed onto the project?
Ryan Kwanten: Huge fan. I’d have to mention three: The Searches, High Plains Drifter, and – it’s not necessarily a classic western but Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. That’s my favorite film of all time.
You worked on a very low budget, was it a rough shoot?
RK: I got hurt quite a few times. I’m very much sort of a masochist at heart, I’m not really a method actor. This role and this film forced me, through no fault of my choice, to do the method from the start. you don’t have the luxury of time, money…we’re all sharing the same trailer. I’m closing my eyes as my character wife is getting changed in the corner. A very communal experience! But it’s nice to see it go from that small little town, that small little trailer, to the light of day like this. The amount of factors that have to fall into place for a film to get this far – I think it’s a testament to the story and to Patrick.
What was the most difficult or rewarding scene for you?
RK: It’s the scene where I go home to my wife. We had 11 minutes to shoot that scene, one take. And that’s sort of the beauty of the way that you shoot this. Patrick and I talked about this later, if we’d had more money and more time would it be any better? I think when you watch it as an audience member you forget. You don’t know that we made it for as little as we made it…the time constraints. I don’t know if it would’ve been any better. If I had seven takes to do that scene I don’t know if I could’ve done it better than that.
The idea of character investment varies from film to television. Playing Jason in “True Blood,” you’re incrementally developing the character – whereas playing Shane, the relationship ends when the credits roll.
RK: Yeah, that’s a really interesting point. Because what gives me ownership, I feel, is the fact that our character arcs in True Blood take place over the course of the entire season – which is a rarity in the age of modern filmmaking where you’re sort of used to episodic drama. Which is why I think we have such feverish fans – they literally invest their time in it.
Have there been conversations about next season?
RK: No conversations, haven’t seen any scripts. But to be perfectly honest, any delusions of grandeur that I could possibly conjure up in this little head of mine still pale in comparison to what the writers eventually give us. I’ve yet to be disappointed. They write so well for my character. He’s such an open book, he wears his heart on his sleeve, he plays it moment to moment. It’s such a liberation to play a character like that because he has no sense of fortitude or forecasting or anticipation – it’s just action in the spur of the moment. I’m far more analytical about things so it’s nice to just leave that aside.
What other projects do you have coming up?
RK: I’m merging into producing. I’m producing two films next year. I’ve got a novel coming out next year too. It’s a satire – somewhat of a spoof on self-help books. It’s called The G Strategy. We’re supposed to be releasing it around March/April next year.
Catch Mr. Kwanten in Red Hill – in select theaters Friday, November 5th!