“When I’m spending my life on camera deceiving people, I want to make sure that Ryan Kwanten remains real.”
His seven-season tenure as Jason Stackhouse on True Blood turned him into an international star, but it was as lifeguard Vinnie Patterson on Home and Away that gave Ryan his first taste of fame.
And despite leaving Summer Bay behind him many moons ago, the actor has absolutely no qualms about being recognised for the role.
“It’s the show that started it all and the fans are the ones that made me,” he says. “So I couldn’t be more grateful, believe me.”
At 44, Ryan says he’s not immune to the other hallmarks of the ageing process–“sometimes I’ll look in the mirror and see a nice bit of grey coming in my beard – however, age really is just a number.
“In a way, getting older has made me more aware of my own mortality,” he muses. “I’m really enjoying my 40s because I’m loving the mindset that experience can give you.
“But I do think more on the finite nature of our existence. The older you get too, you lose people … that can shock some life into you, and if it doesn’t, it should.”
Ryan’s own wake-up call came via a recent health scare suffered by his father. “I went through a huge health scare with my dad,” he reveals.
“He’s OK now, but it was a real shock to him – and to all of us – to realise how easily he could have lost his life. It’s partly because of this that Ryan is increasingly returning to Australia to work and to spend time with his family.
“A lot of the things I want to do are based in this part of the world,” he says. “But having said that, I’ve always made a point of coming back to Australia and trying to give back to the industry that started my career.
“With my dad’s recent scare, I’ve definitely made a concerted effort to go back home more.”
Case in point, his new movie 2067 – a post-apocalyptic sci-fi flick filmed in South Australia and starring fellow Aussie actors, including Deborah Mailman, that’s just landed on Netflix.
It’s a project he’s juggled with his ongoing lead role in US TV show The Oath, where he stars opposite Game of Thrones actor, Sean Bean.
However, right now, regardless of which side of the world he’s on, the humble Aussie is making sure to count every single one of his blessings.
“Like anyone, I’ve had my struggles and had my stresses,” he finishes. “But it’s life. You’re going to get hit with that.
"The sooner you realise that there’s hardship involved, the more beautiful life can become for it. Some people don’t get that chance, so I feel like you’ve got to really live for absolutely every moment.”