2:27pm PT by Rebecca Ford
'True Blood's Ryan Kwanten: Jason Is 'Profoundly' Affected By Mystery of His Parents' Death
Ryan Kwanten, who plays the dim-witted-but-lovable Jason Stackhouse on True Blood, doesn’t slow down when the HBO drama isn’t filming. The actor just returned from a trip to his native Australia for a film shoot, and he’s already packing his bags for a trip to London to enjoy the Olympic Games.
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Between trips, 35-year-old actor took some time to talk to The Hollywood Reporter about True Blood’s fifth season and what’s in store for Jason for the remainder of the season. Jason has never been tested as much as he has this year, after discovering that his parents may have not been killed by a flash flood as he had always thought.
“It did affect him very profoundly, to the point that it really begins to shift the very fiber of who he is and everything that he thought that he was,” Kwanten tells THR.
On this past Sunday’s episode, Jason and his sister Sookie (Anna Paquin), who has the ability to use fairy powers she inherited from her ancestry, attempted to revisit the memory of their parents’ death (through fairy magic) and were able to see the vampire who killed their parents.
The realization that it was a vampire that killed his parents will affect Jason in a deep way for the rest of the season, says Kwanten.
“Over the course of five seasons now, he’s sort of grown into a caring, soulful guy, and now, with everything crashing before his eyes, he may sort of revert back and be even lower than where he started,” says Kwanten.
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Jason isn’t only dealing with digging into his family history, but, as a police officer, he’s also involved with hunting down the gang of men who are killing the supernatural residents of Bon Temps.
“He’s sort of dabbling in a few different storylines. I always love that,” he says. “I love sort of randomly appearing in someone else’s storyline and maybe causing more chaos and more questions than answers.”
The cast finished filming season five in May, and Kwanten -- while he can’t say much -- reveals that this year’s closer is a “more classic type of finale.”
“I felt like in previous seasons, the sort of set-up is to have the finale in the 10th and 11th episodes, and the 12th episode is more or less tying off everything that happened that season and then setting up the next season,” he says.
“Whereas this season is a classic kind of cliffhanger – a ‘what the hell going to happen’ moment,” he adds.
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Kwanten, an Australian native who now lives in California, isn’t one to sit still when the show isn’t filming. He’s been working on several films, including starring in Not Suitable for Children, an indie comedy that premiered in Australia in July, and he’ll next work on the Canadian comedy, Sex and Sunsets, a project he calls “one of the best scripts” he’s read in a long time.
With his rugged good looks, and ability to handle both comedy and drama, Kwanten could easily be a leading man in a blockbuster, but he says he has no interest in taking on a role in a tentpole.
“I’ve been blessed with True Blood with the great writing, and that is more an inspiration and more what drives me,” he says. “If a script doesn’t entice me at all, I’ve got no desire to do it because I’m not going to be fully committed to it. On the other hand, if it does drive me, I’ll do whatever I can in my power to make that film a success.”
Kwanten, who starred on Australian soap opera Home and Away from 1997-2002 and later joined the American teen-oriented drama Summerland, adds that he’s “not in the business to become famous.”
“I really just love what I do,” he says. “I love the people in the business. I love creating characters.”
True Blood airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
Email: Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @Beccamford