Mum’s the word

Home and Away’s tough guy Jake Ryan re­veals his soft side

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page -

JAKE Ryan is win­ning ad­mir­ers left, right and cen­tre as Sum­mer Bay’s brood­ing bad boy ‘Robbo’. But there will only ever be one woman who can truly claim su­per-fan sta­tus – and that’s Jake’s mum Mandy.

An avid Home and Away viewer from way back, she’s over the moon that her 34-year-old son has scored a coveted role on her favourite soap – af­ter years of try­ing.

“She loves the show and has for a long time,” says Ryan, who ad­mits he also watched it grow­ing up.

“Even when I gave up hope that I’d ever get a role on Home and Away and was like, ‘Sorry mum, that ship’s sailed’, she still watched.

“So when this came up, she was re­ally happy. I’m ac­tu­ally bring­ing her up to the set next week from Mel­bourne. She’s re­ally ex­cited – she’s go­ing to be like a lit­tle kid at school.”

Once a semipro­fes­sional taek­wondo com­peti­tor (he trained for 18 years and was the youngest per­son in the coun­try at the time to gain a black belt at the age of nine), Ryan ar­rived at act­ing late in life, af­ter an in­jury side­lined him from a berth in the 2008 Bei­jing Olympic team. He stud­ied, later grad­u­at­ing to roles in Un­der­belly: Ra­zor, the Wolf Creek se­ries (for Stan) and a small role in the Baz Luhrmann film The Great Gatsby.

He also starred as Harry Smith, Bea Smith’s abu­sive hus­band, for three years on the ac­claimed Aussie drama Went­worth, a role he cred­its as best pre­par­ing him to play Robbo, an am­ne­siac with a mys­te­ri­ous past.

“It was an in­tense ex­pe­ri­ence,” he says.

“But with­out Went­worth and that chal­lenge I don’t think I’d be get­ting the work I’ve had over the past cou­ple of years.

“It made me look at th­ese [bad boy] roles in a dif­fer­ent way. I hated Harry Smith, and I didn’t want to touch him, or do any­thing like that. But it was a good char­ac­ter ex­er­cise, to think, ‘ Why is he like he is?’”

Ryan is clearly com­mit­ted to get­ting in­side the heads of his char­ac­ters and do­ing what­ever it takes to phys­i­cally in­habit his roles.

“I like to ‘match’ my char­ac­ter a bit,” he says.

“So if he’s a fit char­ac­ter who does a lot of train­ing, I will try to get as close to that as I can. Or if it’s a char­ac­ter who is the com­plete op­po­site, I am happy to put the weight on, which is what I did for Went­worth.”

Ryan says he’s rel­ish­ing the chance to join the show and get un­der the skin of an­other com­pli­cated char­ac­ter.

“When I first started get­ting work in the in­dus­try, it tended to be the cops and the good guys. But in the past six years or so I have been quite hap­pily type­cast as a bit of a bad boy,” he says.

“I like those guys. They are a lot of fun. There are a lot of lay­ers to those blokes.”

HOME AND AWAY

MON­DAY TO THURS­DAY, 7PM, SEVEN

New role: Jake Ryan (pic­tured left with his mum Mandy) has re­cently joined the cast of Home­andAway.

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