[Laughs.] It was all acting. My relationship with pot is relatively minimal, not for lack of trying, but I'm not a huge pothead. I don't do it nearly as much as my character or Wilfred does.
I think it's a really multi-layered show and I think there's always a lot going on in Ryan's head within his conflicts with Wilfred. And I think a lot of the comedy, as much as it can come out of sort of body humor and humor about smoking weed and the fact that there's a man and a dog suit, like all of those elements are just sort of there. But I feel like there's a lot of comedy that's coming out of real-life things that Ryan's going through. I think the scripts are incredibly intelligent. I was really impressed.
I was so impressed with how layered they are and how complex the scripts are, and how each story is telling something real whilst also having reliance on some of the kind of humor, but then there's other humor coming from different places as well. I think they're incredibly intelligent scripts. And like I said, I think you can definitely enjoy the show on a sort of a visceral surface level. I think it can be enjoyed on others as well.
Ryan's sister is demanding and bossy. Can you relate to that with anyone in your family?
No, no, thankfully. That's an important relationship because that also, it's sort of, it's an indication of why Ryan's in the place that he's in. It's one of the members of his family that has a strong influence on him that doesn't allow him to be who he wants to be. ... His sister is a real reminder of that in a pretty contentious relationship.
Have you found that you could not have had your career without the support of your family?
Oh, there's no question; yeah, no question. Not only could I not have had the career that I've had, but also I wouldn't be the person that I am which is far more important. It's one thing to have the support of your family to help you in your sort of life decisions and, you know, I can reflect on that in regards to where I am with my career. But I also wouldn't be the person that I am had it not been for my mother and the support of my family in a very real way to help me navigate being an actor in this industry which obviously has its pitfalls and of its sense of surreality, and I always had such a strong sense of reality and groundedness outside of the context that I was doing as an actor. So that's had a massive influence on me.
You were a child actor, but you've never had that child-actor implosion thing, which I say, good for you.
Thank you, extremely fortunate, yeah. I credit my mother and my family for that. But also, with the career that I've had, I've been lucky to have a path that has never stuck me in one place. I kind of gradually became recognizable. As a young child I was never in one film that catapulted me immediately from obscurity to being recognizable very quickly. So that was a blessing because I was able to kind of gradually deal with what it meant to be recognizable over a period of time. It's not necessarily an enviable position to not be recognizable and then suddenly being known around the world very quickly.
I wouldn't really wish that on anyone. It's just difficult. When it happens that quickly, and unless you're prepared for it you don't necessarily have a built-in system of tools to know how to handle that. Some people do; it's not impossible. But I was really lucky. I kind of had a very gradual growth so that when something like "Lord of the Rings" occurred, I had some sense of how to deal with it, at least on a smaller scale.
Right. And then after that you sort of stepped back and did indie stuff?
Smaller things, yeah.
Even though you're very well-known for that mega-franchise, people still see you as sort of a low-profile actor. Is that something you cultivated?
I think there was something conscious about it, but it was also just responding to material too. It just so happened that a lot of the material that I loved and pursued kind of took me on a smaller scale. I think after "Lord of the Rings" my initial gut instinct was to do something really small, which wasn't so much because of not wanting to be a part of something that would be equally as successful insomuch as it was about just not wanting to be on a 16-month massive opus. I was just wanting to do something small that had less responsibility to it.
After that, I think after that my focus was really just on good material, and it just so happened that a lot of the material that I found that I loved was on a smaller independent scale. It's not easy to find great material in the context of major studio productions. They're made every year, there's definitely a handful of excellent, larger budgeted, more sort of widespread productions, but they're harder to find for sure.
Now, what is your favorite animal or animal-like co-star: Wilfred, Flipper or Gollum?
[Laughs.] I don't know. Wilfred has proved to be one of the more interesting relationships on screen. I'd say Wilfred.
Can we talk about your love for music? How's the record label going?