Troy Ruptash played General Hospital villain Landon Dixon for just a handful of episodes, yet he was able to accumulate an impressive Port Charles rap sheet that dang near rivals that of front-and-center mobster Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard). The illegal arms dealer was quite a baddie, having held a chapel full of people hostage during Julian and Alexis' wedding and commiting a host of other crimes. But Ruptash says it's all in a day's -- or in this case, a couple days -- work. After all, he's used to being called upon to play the villain.
"I definitely have played a lot of bad guys," he says with a laugh. "And it's interesting because I think when I first came out to LA, I sort of fell into that, and people start to see you in that way. They see you as one bad guy, and when they have something coming up where there's another bad guy, they're like, 'Oh, my gosh, let's go for this guy who played that bad guy.'"
He's been the villain in so many projects, he jokes that he'll likely never be able to shake the bad guy image.
"I love playing darker characters. They're usually very complex and interesting," he says. "But what I do hear a lot when I meet people is, 'Oh, my gosh, you're so different from your characters.' And obviously I'm glad about that. They're always so surprised that I seem like such a nice guy! [Laughs]."
From Creepy To Creepier
Of course, if viewers have the opportunity to catch Ruptash in his latest film, Dig Two Graves, they'll never believe he has a light side in real life. The supernatural thriller that stars Ruptash alongside The Silence of the Lambs' Ted Levine, The Dark Knight's Danny Goldring, and Captain Fantastic's Samantha Isler centers on generational violence that plagues a small, backwoods town and features Ruptash as a sinister moonshiner named Wyeth that offers to bring thirteen-year-old Jake's brother back to life -- for a steep price.
"It's definitely a creepy, scary, dark tale," the actor shares about what attracted him to the film. "But it's also a very well told story that deals with family and the ideas of generational violence and things that are hidden in a family or hidden in a town, and I liked that idea. I thought it was presented in a way that was really mature. There was a maturity to the storytelling that I really appreciated, and then definitely Wyeth! Any character that claims to bring someone's deceased brother back to life definitely piques my interest!"
Just as with far-out soap opera material, it could have been easy for Ruptash to fall into the trap of making the character over the top and unbelievable. But his portrayal was subtle, sinister, and so believable that it's hard not to get chills when the character's signature top hat is seen on screen.
"I knew Wyeth couldn't just be a scary guy," Ruptash says of his performance. "I knew there had to also be something alluring to him in order to bring Jake in and the audience in, too, so you're thinking, 'Maybe there is something to this guy.' You never really know what's going on, which keeps you involved in the story."
Ruptash had the rare fortune of working with famed acting coach Penny Allen on the role before she passed away, and he says she played a big part in helping him tap into Wyeth's creepy nature.
"She worked a lot with imagery and tapping into your unconscious ideas," he says of the experience. "I like to work visually a lot, and I knew we were going to be shooting in a part of the country that can be somewhat impoverished and depressed, and I knew how that was going to feed me, so I looked at images of that. [The way Wyeth lives] is pretty dark and dank; there is something very twisted about it. So I used a lot of imagery. And then, once I got to the location, I have to say, the costumes that Hunter and Lizzie in the wardrobe department came up with were so incredible, and the moment I went and put on that hat and the big coat, I felt like that informed me about the character in such a specific way. The dirt on his boots and his pants, and the filth that this guy has been living in, off the earth. That definitely informed me as well."
The Crazy Soap Experience
From what he describes, it seems Ruptash put a lot of work into preparing for his role on Dig Two Graves. However, he says it doesn't hold a candle to what he experienced while filming his General Hospital material that aired earlier this year.
"I remember thinking that I'd never worked so hard in my life as an actor. It was really challenging," he recalls of the experience. "I had heard how fast soaps move, and it's a real skill to be able to do that. I had so much respect when I saw what those people have to do all the time. I was like, 'Oh, my God!' I was filming six episodes, and at times, I was like, 'How am I going to keep going?!' But it was really rewarding and... I was treated so wonderfully. People were amazing. The actors treated me with so much respect because I think they knew that I was new to the soap world; I had never done it before, and I was kind of thrown into the fire with a lot to do right away. They were like, 'You're doing great! Hang in there!' It was very sweet."
Ruptash's film Dig Two Graves will be available for viewing in theaters and on-demand beginning Friday, March 24.
Photo credit: Michael Roud
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