I should give you fair warning -- nowhere in this interview with "true Blood" star Ryan Kwanten are the words "naked," "sex" or "abs." Not only have I learned these to be the actor's least favorite topics, but considering Jason's shirtless on screen time is next to nil this season -- especially compared to Alexander Skarsgard, Joe Manganiello and Stephen Moyer -- I figured there were more important topics to discuss.
Like the fact Jason gets a new love interest in year three who fans of the books are very familiar with. Lindsay Pulsipher joins the cast as Crystal Norris a ... well, that spoiler comes later in the interview. Suffice it to say her addition makes Jason's life a lot more hairy.
But before we meet that little lady, Jason has to deal with a big problem -- he killed Eggs in the season two finale. I chatted with Ryan about the ramifications of shooting Tara's true love, why playing his on-screen lover is so dangerous and how he aims to make Jason less of a ditz.
PopWrap: In the season two finale Jason shot Eggs in the head, I'd imagine he's very much still grappling with that?
Ryan Kwanten: Obviously that is no small feat for anyone to get over, let alone someone as emotionally stunted – or intellectual stunted – as Jason. It’s a big thing and he doesn’t deal with it too well. Then to add insult to injury, Andy is taking the glory for killing Eggs and Jason is not one for letting anyone to steal his thunder.
PW: But at least it lets Jason and Tara remain friends.
Ryan: Very perceptive! That’s going to come back to bite him in the bum too. In the back of my head I like to think that their history together may save him.
PW: It's funny: when Jason actually does kill someone, no one even looks in his direction, yet during the first two seasons ever unexplained murder got pinned on an innocent Jason.
Ryan: [laughs] I never thought about that, but it’s very true.
PW: How does Eggs' murder affect Jason's journey this season?
Ryan: Last year he was trying to find faith, a reason for living – and this year it’s almost like he’s found the reason but needs to find what’s inside of him. I’m going to steal Emerson’s line: "what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
PW: I find that out of all the "True Blood" characters, Jason has the best intentions but the most difficulty getting them out right.
Ryan: That's because he’s very misunderstood. Even though on the surface he doesn’t seem like the most multidimensional person, there’s a lot of deep rooted anxiety and pain and even loneliness etched in his past.
PW: Given that perception, how do you want the audience to see Jason?
Ryan: I hope as the season progress the audience sees more than just a ditzy Southern guy. I hope they see the other things, but for me there’s such a buffet of stuff to play with outside of the dumb stuff. I think that only adds to everything else he has to do. Because like you said, someone like him needs to figure out new ways to get their point across because they’re stunted in one way. Jason just goes about doing things in a very unique way.
PW: This season Jason gets a new love interest in Crystal, a very risky role for actress Lindsay Pulsipher considering all his love interests get murdered or have their lives ruined.
Ryan: [laughs] Yea, it’s very much a dangerous undertaking that Lindsay’s chosen to engage in. Plus she’s decided to work with me, she’s obviously a sucker for punishment.
PW: For fans of the books, this is also a very controversial role given the impact she has on Jason's life.
Ryan: Oh yea! And what’s great about what she brings to the character is that Crystal's a real redneck, for lack of a better term, but Lindsay herself is very intelligent. So to have that sense of depth to a character that could be quite a caricature in the hands on the wrong actress. It was a real find to get Lindsay
PW: I think that's fair to say for everyone though -- in the wrong hands even Jason would be a caricature.
Ryan: Yea, [Alan Ball] definitely got an eye on the way he casts. I’ve had the pleasure to sit in on a few of the casting sessions, I helped cast Anna [Camp, who played Sarah Newlin] and also a couple of my love interests. And to see him in that audition room, he gives everyone the absolute chance to shine. It’s really quote astounding to watch and I think you’re right, a lot of the secret behind the show lies in its casting.
PW: Did you know when Crystal was introduced what it could mean for Jason in the long-term? SPOILER ALERT
I mean, she leads him down a road that gets him turned into a werepanther.
Ryan: I’ve read 2.5 of the books so I was aware, but not hyper-aware. I never want to know everything, I like to be surprised as we get the scripts.
PW: Are you prepared to potentially play that shift in Jason's role?
Ryan: [laughs] I just won't shave for a year. But I am so unbelievably happy with the journey they've ve already taken Jason on and this season is no different. I have no qualms or hesitations about what they give us. It’s really mind-blowing. We come out of the gate much stronger than any of the other seasons we’ve had.
"True Blood" Week on PopWrap continues:
"True Blood" premieres Sunday June 13 at 9pm on HBO