Boy Wonder! Jesse Jumps Into '97
There’s no stopping the rise of Australia’s own Boy Wonder, Jesse Spencer. He’s a TV star, surfer, didgeridoo player…but he reckons his band is crap! Explain yourself, young man!
With wealth and fame both knocking at your door, which is more important?
Well, I figure if you’ve got the cash you can buy the fame and if you’ve got the fame, you can use it to earn the cash. But if I could stay in this industry and not be “famous”, I’d do it!
You seem to be a bit of a reluctant star. Why is that?
Well, I’m an actor for the sake of acting, not ’cause I’m a show-off. It’s not until you start getting recognised that you realise how good it used to be to walk down a street unnoticed!
What would your ideal girl be like?
Looks, colour of hair and that sort of thing aren’t important, as long as the girl in question is fun to be with and not always out for herself. Hopefully I’ll meet someone like that one day, but I’m not out desperately looking!
What do you look for in a person?
I admire people who can do it all – act well, sing well because that’s what I want to do. It’s important to be good at loads of different things. I surf, skate and rollerblade. And I play heaps of instruments – guitar, bass, drums, violin, didgeridoo…
Will your next move be musical?
Music appeals to me, but it’s not something I strive for. I’ve got a band called Splayd. I play guitar, piano and we do some singing. We entered this Battle of Bands competition and ended up winning! We’ve recorded our first song on CD, but I’m not pinning any hopes on it!
So, is the band any good?
No, its crap, but we’re working on it!
Where does the violin fit in?
(Laughs) I keep them separate. I love playing the violin, but I hate listening to it. With rock music it’s all digitally enhanced, but with classical you can do it yourself. It’s bloody hard work to get a good sound.
Would you ever want to make a music video?
Yeah, it’d be good fun. You could do all sorts of twisted stuff – and I could feature Scooter the wonderdog as special guest! (Yes, Scooter is Jesse’s “wonderdog”!)
How did you get into acting?
When I was 12, I was the understudy in the play The King and I and some of the older actors were so good, I decided that’s what I wanted to do. The first thing I did on TV was an American series called Time Trax, which was shot on the Gold Coast. I played an alien from outer space who changed into an older alien who was actually played by Bernard Curry (Luke in Neighbours). We both spoke in gibberish which was kinda fun.
Did that experience help you with your role in Neighbours?
Well, I think any acting experience helps when you’re doing a show. Billy is the first role that I thought I could really get my teeth into and it’s great learning on the job… but I look back on my first few scenes and it was pretty dodgy stuff.
Are you anything like Billy?
To an extent, but whereas I’ve jumped into the deep end of life. Billy’s still wading in the shallow end. Sometimes I feel like giving him a good shake!
But would you hang out with him if he was a real person?
I’ve never been asked that before. Aaaah, probably not. I wouldn’t hate him. but he’s too much of a goody-goody.
How do you like to spend your weekends?
I’ll go ice-skating or surfing on Saturdays, depending on the time of the year. Usually I’ll see my friends on Saturday night and sometimes I’ll go jogging on Sunday, or play football with my brothers. Somewhere in all that I have to catch up with my schoolwork and read my scripts!
How do you juggle school, sport, music and filming Neighbours?
It’s damn hard! But I wouldn’t change it. Ther have been times when I could easily have dropped out of school, but it’s stupid to drop out. My school’s been great – they’ve let me spread one year’s studies over three years.
Working so hard must have made you grow up fast.
Yeah, definitely there’s only one person who’s younger than me in the cast, so you mature pretty damn quick. I still act my age though. It just opens your eyes a bit.
What about getting it wrong and showing up late on set?
It doesn’t happen much because the producers give you hell and tell you how you’re supposed to be a professional and all that!
Having done so much already, what on earth will be happening in 10 years?
It’s hard to say, but I’ll probably be well and truly stuck into a film… None of this trashy 36 scenes a day stuff. It’s a good start but I want something I can work at. I want my band to be playing regularly, have a beach house and…
OK, OK… we get the message!
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