I met Ryan Kibby a couple years ago at Eleven Bar in West Hollywood. At the time, he was playing Shea, the deceased lover of Bryan (who was played by a friend of mine) on the web series “The Cavanaughs”. I had become a fan of the show, written a couple pieces about it and can now admit to having been a bit star-struck at seeing him in person. As the fourth and final season of the show was underway in 2012, I interviewed Kibby for the now-defunct So-and-So Profiles (which will hitherto be called "The Terrence Moss Interviews").
Kibby’s latest project, “Biology”, is screening at the International Film Festival of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles on October 12th at the Acme Theatre on LaBrea Avenue. So I culled the archives for this never-before-released interview from just before my life went to pot and I went up to the Bay Area for a few months.
1. When, where and how did you decide to become an actor?
I actually wanted to be in a band and I was on tour with this one band, Aiming for Angels, where I was the lead singer. I lived in New Jersey at the time but we were touring in Orange County [California].
I was standing in line for ice cream and this guy came up to me. He was an agent from New York but was out in California for some scouting event and was basically scouting me right off the street.
“Hey, you have a great look,” he said. At the time I had eyeliner on and tight black jeans. He asked me about acting. I actually was in a feature film previously, but I never thought about it in the professional sense.
“I’d love for you to come in,” he said, but I wasn’t really sure what was up.
“Just come into my office. And bring a few headshots,” he told me. I didn’t even know what a headshot was.
My band was done once we got back home. So I went up to New York to visit his office. I brought in these rocker pictures for headshots. He was a big-time commercial agent and sent me out on a few commercial auditions. My first was for Cascade. I got a final audition, but they went with someone else.
When the commercial came out, the dog got more air time than the kids so I didn’t care.
2. What wound up being your first role -- professional or otherwise?
The first role I consider was this feature film called Frame. I was the lead. His name was Connor Young. It was a dramatic thriller where it follows me around like that film Brick with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. At the end -- you’ll probably never watch it -- I wound up being the bad guy. It premiered at the Ritz movie theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My mom was in the audience and she cried.
Then my parents started pushing me in the acting direction instead of the band direction, but I was so rebellious I just went with the band. I probably should have went with the acting, which I did later.
Listen to mom. She knows best.
3. What kind of roles do you like to play?
Anything challenging. I like introverted characters with a lot of stuff going on.
4. What is your dream role or type of role?
The Riddler. If Christopher Nolan made another Batman, I’d like to play the Riddler. If you watch the old Batman TV shows, the Joker is the main nemesis of Batman but the Riddler is a maniac. I’d love to play that.
And Gambit from X-Men. I’d have to get a French accent for it though. I like the idea of throwing cards and having them explode. If I could do it in real life, that would be amazing. But I’d use my powers for good only.
5. How do you describe your style of acting?
Moment to moment. Just trying to be as vulnerable as possible. I like thinking the character’s thoughts while I’m acting and instead of just line reads, trying to make it as organic as possible.
6. If a TV series was built around you, what would it be like?
A comedy. It would be a comedy. A romantic comedy about a flirtatious, promiscuous guy.
Who else would you cast?
I’d cast you.
As one of the love interests?
I’d throw Brad Pitt in there for fun. I don’t know what he’d play. I throw him in there as a featured, one-line co-star. He’d be the coffee shop guy.
7. Who would you like to play in a biopic?
Mike Ness from Social Distortion. He used to be a heroin junkie and a punk rocker. I think that would be amazing. I would copy his vocals and that would be awesome. I would have to die my hair black and spike it up and alter my voice in some weird way. He’s got one of those raspy voices. It’s possible. I could pull it off.
8. You’ve played a few gay roles in your career so far. As a straight guy, what draws you to them?
I love playing gay characters. I throw my own twist on it. In America, it’s hard to grow up gay. I feel like a lot of kids are outcast – especially being in high school. I was kind of an outcast in elementary, middle and high school so I feel I can relate to the emotions of being bullied in general. I like to throw that into the characters.
You can play a gay character and be completely flamboyant and find the comedy within that. But the character itself is almost a cliché of what society sees as being gay where it’s happy and everything like that. It would be great if that’s how society was, but society in many ways is very close-minded on things that are not the norm.
Playing gay roles is good for actors like me that want to be as vulnerable as possible on the screen. It shows that there are real people out there in the world. That’s just who they are. And sometimes it’s hard to be who you are. I relate to the outcast aspect of that culture and community. So it’s personal for me. I love playing characters like that.
9. How do you prepare for intimate scenes with other male actors?
It’s a big deal if you make it a big deal. You just have to find the humanity in the other person. Sean Penn and James Franco did an excellent job [in Milk]. When I started playing these gay characters, I wanted to find the truest, utmost honest way that I could do it. So I started looking at these interviews with Sean Penn talking about how he geared up for Milk. And James Franco said that Penn had told him how to kiss same-gender if you’re not already in that mindset as an actor -- you find something on the person that you like. It can be their hair. But you focus on that one thing. For me, it’s the eyes. And then you just look for the humanity in that person.
10. How do you feel about the inevitable assumption that you yourself are gay after playing these gay characters?
I love it. It means I’m doing something right with the character roles. But people definitely get confused when I bring girls out with me.
11. Based on what you can only assume it would be like, if fame were to come to you tomorrow, would be ready for it?
YES! I’m ready. Because I feel like more opportunity would come with fame. There’d be large-scale acting roles in major motion pictures along with fame. That’s a perk of it. I know there’s a downside, but fame would be great. I’m not scared of it. Some people fear it but if you have nothing to hide, then it’s good.
Everybody wants to leave a legacy. I like the idea of some people who don’t want to be famous but get thrown right into it. That’s a cool concept. I also like the idea of people working and working and working and then no one gives a shit until they’re dead. That is always interesting to me. That happened a lot with composers and poets. They live a life of poverty and struggle. Then 20 years later, someone finds their works of art and then they’re widely known. But they don’t have the benefit of even knowing. I’d like to think those people have an idea, but no one really knows what happens after you’re dead.
12. Who are your professional inspirations?
And Michael J. Fox. As a kid, I always wanted to be Michael J. Fox from Back to the Future.
Original Fiction from a Sitcom Mind > The Halls of Shambala > The Non-Fiction Archives: 2012-2014 > The So-and-So Profiles >