He may be hanging out with vampires and supernatural creatures on True Blood, but Ryan Kwanten is tackling a beloved genre – the Western – in his latest film Red Hill.
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One of the hardest part for him, surprisingly, was slipping back into his natural accent for the role. After being used to hearing the word action and then automatically spitting out an American accent, trying to use his natural voice was difficult. “I was amazed there was still an adjustment period,” he said. “I had to sort of switch off that filter in my head and say, ‘Ryan, you don’t have to do that anymore, you can use this voice. I’ve never had any formal acting training or dialect coaching. All my training has been on my job…. If you’re playing the truth in the eyes, you can get away with certain liberties in the accent,” he added.
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Red Hill is about a young sheriff who has to survive the worst first day of work ever after a convict escapes in his town. Filming in the small Aussie town of Omeo in the high plains of Victoria was completely different from the Louisiana bayou, but Kwanten said he loves a “one-horse town.” Although the Western is set on in Australia, because of parallels between the American Indian experience and the Australian aborigine history he said the Western fits naturally in the setting.
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It’s a far cry from his character Jason Stackhouse on True Blood, which in the season finale was revealed to possibly be part fairy. In stark contrast to preparing for his Red Hill starring role, when it comes to Jason, Kwanten prefers to keep it simple and stay in the dark. He originally read the first two books of the series, but realized it was better not to know. “I think he has trouble thinking about what’s happening in the next second, let alone the next day. It’s almost to my disadvantage to know too much if I know too much I put that into the character. It takes away from the spontaneity of Jason,” he said.