An interview with Ryan Kwanten, who played Vinnie Patterson on Home and Away from 1997-2002.
Interview conducted by Stephen & John in January 2002 for homeandaway.org — the site merged with BTTB in 2004.
Did you like the part in Home and Away?
The part of Vinnie or the one before? It was a very small part and I was very nervous and my acting was not that good. It was all a good experience.
What is your favourite memory?
So many. I like working with characters, Ray Meagher, who plays Alf- very funny. I always laugh.
On my first week of show, the script- I was a stripper and I accidentally remember losing all my clothes. I was nude in front of whole class, that was pretty memorable.
In my very first on the show- I was stripping in front of whole cast. So they were all watching me. In rehearsals I’m wearing these pants that have lycra down the side, so when I pulled them down my underpants came off quickly.
Did you have any embarrassing moments?
My character was a comic relief for the show. He’s there for comedy, so I had such a good time playing a fool- know what I mean. Just doing anything- could do anything and almost get away with it because the character was out there and em, so many moments that just go past me because you’re doing silly things every time.
You have been in H&A for about 4 years?
4 and a half, yes. You have a bit of a laugh – makes the day go fast. You can’t take it too seriously.
Did you enjoy playing Vinnie?
Yeah, definitely – he’s not your average character. I think he’s the extreme- he loves finding the extremes if he’s depressed he’s more depressed than anyone will ever be. If he’s happy he’s ridiculously happy- nothing could ever bring him down. And I love exploring the other realms of the character. I think that’s what makes him funny- watachable as well – you don’t know what he is going to do.
How do you feel about being watched by millions of people every day?
Its hard for me to be subjective about it. Its hard for me to know- to me its just like a normal job- just clock in and clock out and then I go home. So many people watch the show- I don’t realise.
I’ve heard you are making a film?
I’m making a few films. I started a production company- it’s a film production company- they make short films and feature films and I direct and write. My brother also directs the films and Ada also produces a lot of it. So it’s a real sort of team- it’s going really well.
How different is your timetable to when you were in H&A?
Oh yeah – now I’m kind of the ruler of my own destiny. At the moment I make my own hours. I’m my own boss. At H&A it was a totally different story which is not too bad. I don’t mind working either way as well.
So you have more free time?
Are you very happy about that?
I was working very hard for 4.5 years so I kind of like a break for a little while anyway.
You deserve a break
Yeah, a little bit of a break.
A long one?
Well, we’ll see.
Do you miss H&A?
Yeah. I was talking to Ada last week. I left in November. H&A had a 5 week production break as well and they’ve just come back to work and Ada still still thinks I’m going to turn up to work tomorrow. It hasn’t really felt like I’ve left yet. It’ll probably sink in, in the next couple of months. Do you know what I mean, does that make any sense?
Do you remember your storyline with Kate?
She’s another very special person.
You and Sally had a relationship. How did you find it?
Kate is like a princess of what a good person should be. You can’t say anything wrong about her. She doesn’t have a bad word to say about anyone. She’s always there to greet you with open arms. It was great for me to see her act and be able to bounce off her.
A lot of good times- lucky characters I went out with. 3 girlfriends- all very good actors. It was great to work with them. Justine, Sally, getting married to Leah.
When I first started I was one of the younger cast members. 4 years later, I’m now one of the older ones and watching the younger ones grow up.
I’ve done that- the transition from being one of the younger ones to one of the older ones.
It was at some point. You don’t even realise that its happening and you are just doing it. You’re telling younger cast, the little things to look out for and the little dipholes- “don’t go that way- go this way”. Maybe you get a bit more respect from the older cast members as they/you’ve done your time.
What did you think of…? (Due to the recorded nature of this interview, some questions and answers have been missed or misheard)
He was one of the older guys and he was pretty good to work with. Always a lot of fun. People come in and go out. (Belindina (Christy Wright?). That’s what makes H&A work- always changing.
Was 1998 different to how it is now?
Very different apart from all those guys.
Have you ever watched the old episodes?
I don’t have a TV. I don’t watch too much TV.
The old episodes are on at 4:30pm.
I couldn’t watch it anyway, I don’t have a TV. I shouldn’t probably say that, TV is great.
What was it like doing your last scene?
Very emotional, very very emotional. Apart from the fact that I was leaving, everyone around me was kind of very sad that I was leaving. It was hard for me not to get swept up in all that. Emotional, but very memorial.
Do you find saying goodbye difficult?
Yeh- 4.5 years is almost like the length of school- its like saying goodbye to your school friends. So these are people that taught me. I came into H&A not really knowing that much about acting and the industry. I left not knowing everything but knowing a lot more than when I started and it was- also great great friendships.
So as hard as it is- not to say goodbye, but sort of ‘see you later’, or 2 days in advance, you will catch up with them again. You just won’t be working with them everyday.
Do you keep in touch with any cast members?
Yes, I have a photo shoot with a lot of them tomorrow. I still see Ada a bit and a few of the others.
Last November you went to UK – Panto?
Not November, last April.
Did you go to the UK for the pantomime?
No, I make films instead. I’d rather make films.
How much travelling have you done?
I went backpacking around England, Scotland, a lot of Western Europe. I did it all in about 3 weeks, just with a friend of mine. We ran up the Eiffel Tower, went to Prague, Amsterdam, did it all very quickly ran out of money. Sort of found our way home eventually. It was good fun. Did a lot of that before I was in the show which was kind of nice, so I was a non-identified being.
Did you go to Ireland?
Never been there. Lynne says it’s a beautiful place. She’s absolutely fascinated by the place and it’s on my hit list of places to visit.
Would you go travelling again?
I’m a Sagittarius- so they say one of their main traits is that they love to travel. I guess it’s in the blood/genes.
Where would you like to travel?
Like I said Ireland is definitely on the hit list. In probably complete contrast maybe somewhere like the Greek islands, Taihti, nice beach, love the surf board.
Would you like to surf in Ireland?
That’s what I thought. I know it’s very cold.
I’d love to know your sources of information. 6 years ago in winter time- travelled during summer in Australia, December, January, February in Europe. Freezing- need a couple of layers of clothes. We were going so fast we didn’t have time to get colds.
Would you like to go to Hollywood for filming?
It sounds like a romantic type of place. I guess whoever I was going out with or whoever I wanted to marry or something like that, it would be nice to go there.
Would you like to be in a movie?
If I was there to make films that would be great.
You want to stay in Australia?
It depends where the yellow brick road takes me.
Was there a scene you didn’t want to do?
No, I always just thought well that everything that was presented to me, in most cases I saw it as a challenge rather than something I didn’t like. I would never think about stripping in real life. I found out not only was my character a stripper but he had to strip on show.
Rather than say ‘I don’t like that storyline, can you please change it’, I thought ‘well lets take it on board and we’ll see what we can do with it and maybe conquer a fear about myself’. Try and turn that negative into a positive, myself somehow.
You had to do it anyway?
Yeah and it would have got me nowhere. You are only going to learn from it. You’d be surprised, some people do refuse to do some scenes.
How hard was it playing Vinnie?
He’s hard to play in the morning, i.e. 6am. In a scene you have to be full of energy. Character full of life- gave me a lot of excitement, brought me out of my shell because I was a very introverted person, I still am.
How similar or different are you from Vinnie?
I think too much where Vinnie who likes to act before he thinks/ A lot of differences, I don’t wear Hawaiian shirts, I don’t have my hair up in some crazy hairstyle. I’m not married. Vinnie is. We both like water. Differences: like today you didn’t even recognise me when you came in.