Ryan Kwanten may have perfected his Bon Temps southern drawl as Jason Stackhouse on True Blood, but turns out this 34-year-old actor hasn't ditched his Aussie roots entirely. In fact, last night he hosted a party for MAMBO clothing, the Australian streetwear line that's now hitting the U.S. in Bon-Ton stores nationwide. Web Editor Liza Darwin and NYLON TV's Kristen Garris spoke with Ryan at the launch, where he told us about his surfing past, his secret talent, and...Jennifer Connelly?
Tell us about MAMBO. Well it's funny, because MAMBO's factory is based in the same small beach town that I grew up in. Talk about ironic. It's like this little surfer boy goes to the big city, and now he's back to his roots in a weird way [laughing]. I used to wear MAMBO all the time, my mom would dress me in their neon boardshorts so I would stand out in the waves. They have a very unique, Australian flair to them.
Your southern accent is so authentic-sounding on True Blood! Was it difficult to learn? That's one of the few traits I have, I have this weird talent to pick up random accents [laughing]. I can do lots of voices, and I have a good ear for listening. I think that's part of being from Australia is that you're exposed to tons of different cultures and ways of speech.
What was the hardest word for you to learn to say? “Body.” The way I say it is very flat. In the south, it's more like, “bawwwwdy.” It kind of describes exactly the visualization about, like the curves of the human body. That's my unscientific opinion, at least [laughing].
Jason Stackhouse is one of the only characters without powers, but if could choose to join one of the species- vampire, werepanthers, werewolves, shapeshifters, fairies, witches- what would he pick? Jason is unbelievably indecisive, so whatever he chose, he would feel over it in a day. He'd be like, 'I want to do this! I want to do this!' I kind of love the fact that he is one of the few humans still there, because wants that power and wants to be one of those supernatural beings, but he can't.
Where do you see Jason in a few years? I feel like Jason has started out so low that he can only go up. I hope he keeps growing. Everyone who gets close to him dies, so that's kind of unfortunate [laughing].
On a totally unrelated note, who was your first-ever celebrity crush? I actually don't remember who I loved as a kid, but my most recent crush is Jennifer Connelly. She seems grounded, educated- she's got a couple of degrees. Unfortunately she's taken, though. Damn!
What's up next for you? I'm shooting a film in LA now, and then I'm back to True Blood at the end of the month.
Can you tell us anything about what happens next on the show? I wish I knew! It's getting more and more secretive, even within the cast and crew. It's great because we all can't wait to get hold of the next script. You know that's a good sign about the show.
Buy MAMBO clothing at Bon-Ton stores nationwide.