The Chicago native on being inspired by ‘Braveheart’ and his upcoming movie role.
After five seasons on “Chuck” and roles in TV series like “Hart of Dixie” and “CSI: Miami,” 38-year-old Ryan McPartlin takes his talents to the big screen in “The Right Kind of Wrong.”
In my fourth year [at the University of Illinois], I went to see ‘Braveheart’ with a football buddy of mine. It sounds totally cliché now, but at the time ‘Braveheart’ was a really groundbreaking film. All the cheesy things [Mel Gibson’s character] says have become such clichés — ‘Every man dies but not every man really lives’— but it got me thinking about the time we have on this earth and how we spend it. That’s when I decided [to be an actor]. I was afraid of leaving school and going down the traditional path and waking up one day thinking, ‘I should have tried this, and I didn’t.’ That’s what took me to LA.
When I got [cast on] ‘Chuck,’ I did a terrible job in the room. I melted down during the audition. I had just had my first kid and it was a sleepless night; I didn’t even finish the audition! But they gave me the job anyhow — they probably just [took] pity on me.
‘The Right Kind of Wrong’ was a special movie for me because I played Captain Awesome on ‘Chuck’ for so long that you start wondering if anyone will see you outside of that role. [My character] is pretty complex: He seems perfect on paper and it makes for a tough choice for Sara Canning’s character, [choosing] between him and Ryan Kwanten’s character. It was nice to be able to play around and hit some layers I didn’t get to on ‘Chuck.’
Ryan Kwanten and I had never worked together before ‘The Right Kind of Wrong.’ We got along so well when we first met, and all of a sudden it just turned, and I thought, ‘What’s going on with this guy?’ It was like this the whole time, and then I figured out that he was in character — because he and I don’t like each other in the movie. What I’ve come to realize through these different experiences on movies and shows is that every actor’s process is different. Otherwise Ryan is a great guy, and after we were done filming he said, ‘I hope you understand what I was doing.’
I was really star-struck when I was at the ESPYs with Brett Favre. He was still playing for Green Bay and I lied and told him I was from Wisconsin. He asked where, and I said, ‘Lake Geneva.’ He said, ‘Isn’t that just kind of a vacation destination for people from Chicago?’ He totally saw right through me — it was like he could smell that I was a Chicago Bears fan through and through. I just started sweating and was like, ‘I gotta go.’
To be honest, I do miss the weather. I’m the type of guy that says, ‘Alright, let’s get some cross-country skis. If we’re trapped in this weather, let’s at least be outside for a couple of hours, no matter how cold or miserable it is.’ I know that’s easier said than done, but ever since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to be outdoors no matter what the weather is. I still have that.
“The Right Kind of Wrong” is in theaters March 14.