By Sydney Bucksbaum
September 07, 2019 at 12:00 PM EDT
Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros.
09/06/19
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  • Movie
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In between all the terrifying jump scares and hallucination horror of It Chapter Two, you may find yourself wondering: Who is that guy playing Ben?

There’s no denying it — in between the first It and the sequel (out now), Ben Hanscom got hot. Gone is the chubby young man from the first film; in his adult years, he really grew into his own (and grew some muscles), and horror fans everywhere are taking notice. While Ben was played in the first movie by Jeremy Ray Taylor, the role has been taken over by Jay Ryan for It Chapter Two.

While all the child Losers have grown up for the sequel, it’s Ryan’s Ben who instantly becomes a fan-favorite for how much he’s transformed himself over the years. Not only did he get extremely ripped, but he also became an architect (he’s responsible for the bunker-like clubhouse out in the woods). And yes, he’s still nursing an unrequited crush on Beverly (now played by Jessica Chastain); if only they weren’t dealing with a murderous demonic clown, maybe they’d be able to sort out their feelings sooner.

So who is Ryan, the man responsible for turning Ben into one of your new horror heartthrobs? He’s actually been a working actor for quite some time, but primarily in his homeland New Zealand and neighboring Australia. Stateside, though, before It Chapter Two, the actor is best known for his starring role on The CW’s Beauty and the Beast live-action drama opposite Kristin Kreuk, which ran for four seasons.

But he actually got his start as an actor under the name Jay Bunyan with roles in Scallywag Pirates, Xena: Warrior Princess, Young Hercules, and Being Eve, before becoming a household name in Australia for playing Jack Scully in the Aussie soap opera Neighbours from 2002 until 2009.

When Ryan came to Los Angeles, he ended up changing his name and played Able Seaman Billy “Spider” Webb in Sea Patrol, a popular Australian drama.

After landing roles on more Australian and New Zealand shows like Go Girls and Offspring, Ryan finally broke into the American entertainment industry with a guest-starring role on sci-fi series Terra Nova, using an American accent. He also starred in Top of the Lake.

He then costarred with Caroline Dhavernas in the Canadian drama series Mary Kills People, as one of two underground angels of death who help terminally ill patients slip away on their own terms.

Ryan’s latest project, It Chapter Two, is now playing in theaters.

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