'True Blood' star says show is different from all the rest

Luis Arroyave
Chicago Tribune (MCT)

CHICAGO — Vampire-themed entertainment keeps coming in waves, including the "Twilight" sequel, another vampire flick, "Priest," which began filming last month, and the TV show "The Vampire Diaries," which premiered on the CW network last week. Some involved in the genre might worry about backlash and oversaturation, but actor Ryan Kwanten of HBO's "True Blood" insisted he isn't too concerned.

"Personally, I don't (worry), purely due to the creative forces that are behind our show," said Kwanten, who made an here Friday as host of clothing boutique Akira's "Dusk Until Dawn" fashion show along with "True Blood" co-star Nelsan Ellis.

"True Blood" had its season finale Sunday and will return for a third season of blood, sex and violence in June. The show has been pulling in HBO's best numbers since "The Sopranos," including an impressive 5.3 million viewers for its Aug. 23 episode.

"We knew we were part of something special before the fans did," Kwanten said. "But to hear the fans and critics speak out and watch the show in ways we couldn't imagine, even an optimist couldn't have predicted it."

The 32-year-old Australian actor plays Jason Stackhouse, the dumb-yet-likable brother of protagonist Sookie Stackhouse, played by Anna Paquin . Jason was McConaughey-esque in Season 1, going shirtless for many scenes and frequently dropping trou for sex scenes as well.

Nudity is common on "True Blood," one of the reasons Kwanten said the show would be a bit different on network television.

"It would be 25 minutes long," Kwanten said. "There's a reason it's on HBO."

Kwanten said "True Blood" can push topics in a way network television can't. In its first two seasons, the drama has taken racism, homophobia, drug addiction and orgies and given them a vampire twist.

Would Kwanten consider himself a fan of the vampire genre in general?

"I'm into a good story," said Kwanten.

"But I'm not answering your question," he said with a smile.

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