Ryan Hansen made his charmed entry as a series regular on Veronica Mars, playing Dick Casablancas, a role much-loved by fans. Like many young actors, Hansen auditioned for the role and didn’t think he would get it – but fate intervened.
Not only did he get a regular paycheck and a newfound following, Ryan also found a friend and ally in Saturn Award-winning actress Kristen Bell (Frozen, The Disaster Artist) but more about that later.
After “Veronica,” he continued to get guest and recurring roles on cable and network shows such as the quickly-cancelled Friends With Benefits followed by the more successful Party Down and Two Broke Girls.
Then Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television happened. The American actor-comedian was filming a movie with a director who was ready to get creative and, well… Hansen explains the rest in his own humorous way.How did the idea of Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes come up?
I did a move with Rawson Marshall Thurber called Central Intelligence with the rockin’ Kevin Hart and we had so much fun out in Boston that he said, "dude, we’ve got to do something together." I said, "Yeah, let’s do it" and Beau Bowman was the producer on it too and I thought that was a very Hollywood thing and I was like, ok, cool see you guys in LA.
Sure enough, we got back and started brainstorming a little bit and – after a time – he just emailed this script and said he was kind of sick of waiting for a writer to do something so he just said, "What do you think?" It was this show and I thought "this is so weird and amazing."
He said "let’s go try and sell it" and we did!
You’ve shot eight episodes, any chance of renewal?
YouTubeRed is pretty new for non-YouTube star content. It's new, so I don't know, but of course I’d do it again. I would love to do it again. What an honor to play myself, ya know?
Orange is the New Black's Samira Wiley is a great straight person for you on the show.
Oh my gosh, yes. She’s this Juilliard-trained actress on a Emmy -winning show (OITNB). She's been a nominated actress and then there’s me – someone who did high-school theater growing up. I got nothing but it was so fun to play off of her. She’s just amazing.
Take us through the process of selling the show to YouTube Red.
When Rawson emailed me the script and I liked it, he set up a few meetings and pitched it. I got to go with him. He’s so good at painting the picture of what the show’s going to be and how to talk with the executives and so I got to watch him.
When did you know you wanted to an actor and how did you think you were going to achieve it?
I didn’t grow up dreaming of being an actor. I loved performing, just because that’s what we did in church plays and stuff but it didn’t click with me that I could actually do it until I started working and getting little commercials and guest spots. That’s kind of when I fell in love with it.
How did you get those commercials and guest spots?
I had a manager that would send me out for almost everything. I’ve done everything from a Richard Simmons workout video to a dating show on MTV. So I would do all these random little things but gradually I started getting better auditions, booking little things and meeting people.
On Veronica Mars, I said one little word on my first guest spot and they said, "why don’t you come back and say two words" and it kind of built from there, so it was just a gradual, long climb and grind.
Let’s go back, how did you get the manager?
My cousin was doing commercials and so my aunt set me up with this manager. I go in, meet her and do a little monologue, which I’d never done before. Aunt Alice, big shout out, thank you!
After my audition I’d say thank you and then, ‘I can do a backflip,’ and the casting directors would say, "ha, ha," I’d do a backflip and they’d say “Whoa! This guy’s great. Thank you, Ryan. See you later."I would do that no matter what. In every audition. That was my thing for a while and I feel like it really got me some jobs.
How did you network or how did networking help you?
I never went out and did the networking thing. I think it is just the relationships you make whenever you do whatever job it is. That’s one of the best parts of the job – the relationships you make with people. You get to re-work with them and it’s like hanging out with old buddies. It makes it so much more comfortable when you work with the same people again.
Your character from Veronica Mars has stayed with fans. Do you like the idea of being known for a particular, iconic character?
It’s super special for me because it was one of my first series regular shows and I really feel like I learned so much on that show. So I am so honored that this show is the show they remember me from and … a character named Dick, how fun is that?
You’re friends with Kristen Bell and she is making a guest appearance on the show. Tell us about you guys!
We met on Veronica Mars and we hit it off right away. My wife and her became really close as well and she’s been of one of my best friends for 15 years now. She’s like family. Her and her husband (actor Dax Shepard) and her kids. We all hang now and do family trips together. So it’s pretty cool that we met on the show and stayed tight.
She will help me out. She’ll come guest on my shows. She’s so generous and, yeah, she’s just the greatest.
You and your wife lived with her for a while?
That is correct. Veronica Mars shot in San Diego, we lived in LA and we thought, "let’s just live in our hometown." So we sold our condo and moved to San Diego and then, after season three, we got cancelled.
Now that you’re a Hollywood insider, how does the life of yourself and your family differ?
I’m not famous so I’m in a good spot where people recognize me once in awhile and that’s flattering but I can go wherever I want. So it’s very easy for me to navigate LA.
Financially, is your life easier now?
Uh, don’t know how to answer that. Yes, but more money, more bills.
Any particular advice for young actors trying to make their way in Hollywood?
No [laughs]. I don’t have anything great to say. There’s no right way to do it. Everyone always asks, "Oh, how do you do it?" There’s no right answer. Everyone’s path is different. As long as you are enjoying what you are doing and getting a little bit of work, enjoy it.
For me, I’ve always wanted to know when to tap out. When life is like, "You’ve had a great time acting. Mot working out? Now move on to something else." Unfortunately, I’m not good at anything else so I have to be an actor.
What are some of the craziest things you did to try to get work?
I grew up doing church plays and choir but I didn’t really think it could be an actual job until my aunt in Orange County (CA) said "you should do commercials and stuff," and so I met this manager and she said, "let’s get some pictures and start going out" and I did and really fell in love with it after booking some things here and there and then really, on Veronica Mars is when I thought, "I can actually do this for a job." Honestly, I learned so much on that show. It was my everything.
I just really fell into [acting] and started to have fun with it and on Veronica Mars, I really enjoyed it and wanted to dig deeper and do this for my job, for a living.
I had a great time cutting this show! Hope we get a season 2!
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