Hey Big Spencer!
Our man in Oz, Tristan Bancks meets up with Neighbours’ newest (and hottest) property to find out if he’s as sweet as his character, Billy!
“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”
That’s the kind of attitude that’ll make Jesse Spencer a rich man one day, long after he’s done with dropping into our homes every night as Neighbours Billy Kennedy.
And you’d better get used to him ’cause he’s going to be watching you eat your dinner for the next two years! And he’s not just into acting, as he explained when I popped over to his place in sunny Melbourne…
“I surf, skate and rollerblade. And I play heaps of instruments – guitar, bass, drums, violin, didgeridoo..
With dame and wealth knocking at his 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, yu can use it to earn cash. But if I could stay in this industry and do well and not be ‘famous’, I’d do it.”
As we step out into Jesse’s backyard we’re greeted by Scooter, the go-anywhere, chase-anything wonderdog as she launches three feet into the air to catch a ball.
As Jesse decides to treat Scooter and I to a demo of his talents on the didgeridoo, I ask if his next chapter move will be musical.
“Music appeals to me, but it’s not something I strive for. I’ll use it in acting, but I can’t see myself being an actual muso.”
But he’s in a band – is it any good?
“No it’s crap but we’re working on it.”
So where does the violin fit in?
“Heh, heh – 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.
After a quick game of basketball in Jesse’s yard, we decide to go out and grab a bite to eat. And where better than the world’s newest Hard Rock Café Melbourne.
As we walked through the restaurant, there were usual whispers of “There’s Billy.” But Jesse isn’t the shy and retiring type and he jumped onto Billy Idol’s Harley Davidson, then behind the Gun ‘n’ Roses drumkit, before checking out the memorabilia of his fave, Kurt Cobain.
Being recognised doesn’t seem to annoy Jesse and he stopped to chat with people around the restaurant before we grabbed a table to continue our chat…
It was the moment to go back in time and find out about Jesse’s first acting job…
“It was an American series called Timetrax 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.”
So that must’ve helped when it came into filming Neighbours, eh?
“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.”
But would he hand out with Billy 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.”
At this point we ordered a couple of burgers and took some shots with the Pearl Jam memorabilia and I asked how he manages to juggle school, sport, music and filming Neighbours.
and then ringing your mates about schoolwork. You never have time to stop or switch off.”
What about getting it wrong and showing up late on set?
“It does happen, but I don’t do it much because the producers give you hell and tell you how you’re supposed to be a professional and all that!
Working so hard must have made him 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 like a 16 year old, though. I still hang out with my mates and I’m still the same person. It just opens your eyes a bit.”
Having done so much already, what on earth will be happening in ten years’ time?
“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!
By this time we’d left The Hard Rock Café and were driving down to a beach. On the way we saw a women on rollerblades smash into a telegraph pole much to Jesse’s amusement!
“Ooh, she cropped a shocker, heh, heh!”
OK, he’s a nice bloke but he’s got a bit of an evil streak… how would he describe himself?
“Cool, calm and collected.”
What more can you say?!
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