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Comic-Con Exclusive: Seven Questions with 'Griff the Invisible,' 'Knights of Badassdom' and 'True Blood' Star Ryan Kwanten

Editor’s Note: Long before Ryan was on True Blood or I was the editor-in-chief at Fandango, we were just pals in Venice, California, trying to make a living doing what we love. So, at this year’s Comic-Con, it really was a privilege for me to be there with my editorial team, and to see my dear friend there for the whole duration with the fans at the Con to present three different projects: his upcoming films Griff the Invisible and Knights of Badassdom, and the latest season of True Blood. Here, Ryan answers some Fandango questions about his Con experience, his latest projects, and what makes Ryan…well, Ryan. Which, as those who know him will attest, is pretty darn awesome.
1. It's been a busy Comic-Con for you with three projects all making an appearance at the Con, and I know you were really looking forward this year to actually being able to soak in all of the experience. What were some of your favorite moments?
Favorite moments…1) to see this coastal city get taken over by the convention and all its fans. It truly is a sight to see and an energy that is infectious. 2) to fill up Hall H for our panel for Knights of Badassdom and to hear the roar after the Knights trailer previewed. 3) finding out from a chinese reporter that "Knights of Badassdom" translates to "Kingdom of Broken-asses" in China. 4) in two series of autograph signings, I happily met everyone from Princess Leia to The Walking Dead and it really was such a trip talking to the fans and culminated in one fan describing his Con experience as "Gotham City on earth."
2. Folks may or may not know this, but you're not just a film actor, you are a huge, huge lover of films of all types (note to readers: Ryan's even been known on Easter to sit in for a Bugs Bunny cartoon marathon at the Cinematheque). When I first heard about Knight of Badassdom, it actually made me think, wow, that's the kind of movie that if Ryan and all of our friends had seen a trailer for it, they'd have said, sweet, we must see that asap. Which films would you say are in the same vein as Knights?
First, watching films for me is one of the gifts of life - to sit there for about an hour and a half and escape, escape you and your life and dive into a whole new world. May we never stop telling stories.
Knights is comparable in tone to Shaun of the Dead and perhaps Role Models. It's an action-packed thrill ride filled with shrooms, slayings, swords, savagery, spells and a succubus. Sweet.
3. Speaking of Knights and all things film geekdom, name your favorite horror comedy, favorite movie, favorite director, and since this is for Fandango, favorite movie we've seen at a theater in the last 10 years?
Favorite horror comedy- Shaun of the Dead; favorite movie - Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid; Favorite director- George Roy Hill; favorite movie we've seen at a theater- a tie between Elegy and Pan's Labyrinth.
4. Since I know you're a huge fan of Adventureland, too, what was it like working with Adventureland actress and upcoming Knights succubus Margarita Levieva? And did you ask her about her experiences on Adventureland?
Working with Margarita was pretty exceptional. She had no problem at all about being covered from head to toe in blood; about enduring 4 hour long prosthetic make-up sessions or going on a killing rampage. And no I was a little shy about asking her about Adventureland because as you know we both had a little crush on her.
5. One thing I always tell people is that Ryan is doing some great acting on True Blood because in real life, other than the fact that you and your character have a core of decency that is the same, you are very different than Jason Stackhouse. If you had to choose between a role that's the most different from the real you and maybe more challenging, but in a script that you weren't certain about, OR a role that's not far removed from the real you but is in a script that's completely outsanding - which route would you take?
Everyone comes from the story. The ability to connect. I find it so empowering to inhabit characters and to make them feel as if they are truly flesh and blood. The characters I like to play I think all have tortured souls, some sort of inner demon that they have to overcome. I like struggle, I like vulnerability and I love tenacity.
6. Griff the Invisible is my favorite project from the movies and shows I've seen you in, and it's because it really captured in so many ways the Ryan that I know. Other than the wearing a superhero outfit part. So working on Griff, did it feel more personal while you were shooting the film? And in general, do you think actors should consciously attempt to bring a part of themselves, or their life philosophy, to a role? Or are you more impressed with actors who are chameleons and impossible to read from one project to the next?
Griff was by far one of the most rewarding characters I've ever played. I've always believed in the power of the imagination and this was the very exploration of that. I also think that as an actor you can't help but bring a part of you to the role and ultimately that's what makes it unique- no one can do you better than you.
7. Last question, but in two parts: I know you're headed back for filming in your native Australia. First, can you tell us anything about your current project? Second, it's been a long time since you made the move over here to us in America, and we couldn't be more proud as your friends to see how far you've come in your career, while always remaining grounded and true. Can you talk a little bit about that journey, and what are the things that have been throughlines for you in the crazy world that is Hollywood?
The current film project is called Not Suitable For Children- about a young man who learns he is about to become infertile, which prompts him to find someone to have a baby with before it's too late. Its like a P.T Anderson version of Knocked-Up with the male's biological clock ticking.
In terms of endurance in the business and maintaining sanity I've always believed in what Emerson said, "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." I always remember where I have come from and it makes where I'm going to seem so much more meaningful. We have been friends for a decade Chuck, and I still remember those times of riding my rusty bike to the cinema and hanging out at movies all day. I still have that bike, I still have my friend, and we'll always have the movies. Woohoodihoo!
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Next Article by Derrick Deane

Comic-Con: Day 3 Hall H Recap – Coppola, Kevin Smith Entertain While 'Huntsman,' 'Immortals,' and 'Badassdom' Wow the Crowd

Comic-Con: Day 3 Hall H Recap – Coppola, Kevin Smith Entertain While 'Huntsman,' 'Immortals,' and 'Badassdom' Wow the Crowd

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