The Betty Interview: Ryan McPartlin

The "awesome” actor from Chuck dishes about the show's third season, the star who turned him into mush and why he hopes Kate Hudson doesn't read this interview.
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The Betty Interview: Ryan McPartlin

The “awesome” actor from Chuck dishes about the show’s third season, the star who turned him into mush and why he hopes Kate Hudson doesn’t read this interview.

–Patty Adams

Ryan McPartlin

You know him as “Captain Awesome,” the always-shirtless Dr. Devon Woodcomb on NBC’s Chuck. But this season the Captain’s not only keeping Chuck’s spy secret — he’s joining him in his adventures. “It’s exciting,” says Chicago native Ryan McPartlin, 34. “The writers didn’t want the essence of the show to change just because Chuck becomes a super-spy. So I’m basically becoming the Chuck of season one and two. The only difference is Devon doesn’t think he needs any spy training — he thinks he can handle things all on his own.”

That’s exactly how Ryan felt when he found out he’d be getting to do some stunt work on the show. Needless to say, he was wrong. “I played football in college, I’m an athlete. I thought I can do this — no problem,” says Ryan with a laugh. “Then my character had to tackle Agent Casey [on the Jan 11. episode], and after about two times of doing it I was like, ‘Where’s my stunt double?’ I was so sore I had to go to the chiropractor the next day. I’m much more of a wuss now than I used to be!”

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The former Abercrombie & Fitch model, who graduated with a degree in Speech Communication from the University of Illinois before becoming an actor, is thrilled to take on more work. “When I first got the part, I told my agent we needed to keep looking for other projects because I figured how many times can I say “awesome” and still have it be funny enough that they’d want to keep me around,” says Ryan. “I thought for sure I’d be killed off after a few episodes, but look at me now!’ Oh, we’re looking all right. Read on for more on Chuck, Ryan’s favorite things to whip up in the kitchen, and why he’s so obsessed with The Biggest Loser.

The running joke is that Captain Awesome is always shirtless. Is it hard being seen as the eye candy of the show?
Yeah, I’ve been fighting for at least a tank top in all these episodes, but the writers are like, “Nah, not funny. Just keep that shirt off!” It’s tough. I’m a dad now and I just want to sit down and have some meat loaf and a beer at night. But I read the script and Captain Awesome is hanging upside down doing crunches with no shirt on, so I have to refrain from all the good stuff I want to wolf down.

If you didn’t have to worry about being buff, what would you indulge in?
Oh, I have whole lists of things I fantasize about every single day: deep dish Chicago-style pizza, the kind with the sauce on top of the cheese. I like a beer named Maudite. It’s nice and hearty but you literally put on a pound per pint. Burgers, hot dogs, I could go on and on. I think it’s just the fact that I have to restrict myself from it that I want it even more. My wife [Danielle] is probably happy to hear that food is all I fantasize about. Now I just sound weird.

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