Hey Big Spencer!
Jesse is an unusual name, isn’t it?
Well, yeah, it is here in Australia. There are more girl Jessie’s here. I hate it when people spell my name with an ‘i’ before the ‘e’ though! Apparently my dad picked the name with he was working in America. There’s also a Roberta Flack song called Jesse, which goes: (sings) ‘Jesse come home, there’s a hole in the bed!’
So, you had a good day?
Pretty good actually. I’m on school holidays for the next couple of weeks, but I don’t get any time off from Neighbours, so I went to work, did a few scenes, a bit of homework, some more filming and then came back home.
It must be weird being at school one minute and at work the next?
I’ve got used to it now, but yeah, at first it was really weird. I go to a pretty strict school, but the teachers are fine about me not always being in class. I can get away with loads of things like not turning up to assembly. But I don’t skip any classes as I’d only have to catch up on them later. it’s quite hard because I’m in my final year and I’m taking maths, English, French and chemistry – all of which are heavy.
Bet you’re the most popular guy in school though?
(Laughts) Yeag, I do alright! No-one really hates me. I get on pretty much well with everybody. I’m lucky.
You’re not as much as a wimp as Billy then?
No way! Billy is weak in a lot of ways, but quite loveable, I guess. He’s very easily led – your typical example of a victim of peer group pressure. He knows exactly how to behave when he’s with his family, but when he’s on his own, he completely loses it. Where are you up to in the story line?
Well, a few weeks ago, we found out that Billy is dyslexic…
Right. I thought that storyline was a but ridiculous at first, because, with Billy’s mother being a teacher, you’d have thought she’d have noticed a long time ago. But apparently, people with dyslexia are often very intelligent and learn to cover up, which is what Billy did. References are still being made to his dyslexia in the stuff I’m doing now.
How much more famous would you like to be?
Fame doesn’t make me happy. It’s actually way down the bottom of my list. I just want to act well and it doesn’t really matter if I’m famous or not.
Did you ever think you’d be so popular?
No, never. I still don’t think the ‘fame’ thing has really hit me. It doesn’t affect me at all. Like I’m still exactly the same person I was two years ago. I mean, obviously I’m a bit taller, but apart from that…!
Do you get embarrassed then when you get called heart-throb?
Yeah. I’m not sure how to respond to it. I mean, how can you reply. It’s very weird. (Laughs, a bit embarrassed.) It would be nicer if people liked me for my acting!
So do you think you’re good-looking?
Well, not really. Like, I’m not really, really good-looking – not when I see myself in the mirror anyway! I’m never happy with my hair, it’s too thick.
Have you worked out which is your best side for photos?
(Laughs) Yeah, I know which faces to pull and stuff like that now. I felt pretty awkward at my first shoot – I didn’t really know what I should be doing. But now it feels quite normal – just like being on set and then going to school feels normal now.
Who’s more vain – you or Benji McNair (Mal)?
Obviously I make a bit of an effort if I’m going out for dinner or to an awards ceremony, but I’m not that fussy. I take about 10 minutes to get ready – none of that all afternoon in front of the mirror business! As for Benji, I don’t think he’s vain at all.
Could you cope if he was your real-life brother?
I think so. The Mal/Billy relationship is pretty strange. They have a lot fo fights and don’t get on particularly well. But I can honestly say that I’ve never had any kind of disagreement with Benji. He’s a really great guy.
Billy’s pretty mischievous – what’s the most dishonest thing you ever done?
A couple of years back I stole about 100 bucks from my dad. I was angry at him at the time, but I got the guilts and gave all the money back. That’s probably about it.
Well young Billy’s just about to become a graffiti artist over here…
Ah, that one! Yeah, I got into a little graffiti, but not on anyone’s fence or anything, just on posters. You know, blacking a couple of teeth, stupid humor like that. I’ve never been into carrying a load of spray cans around in my back pocket and leaving my tag everywhere. All that’s pretty stupid. I mean half the time you can’t even read the tags. If you’re going to write something, write something that has a meaning!
How do you know when you’re in love?
I don’t think I’ve been in love. Not really. But have been close. I had my heart broken though in Year 8 at school. I was too shy to say anything to this girl so when nothing happened, I only had myself to blame. It was a no-win situation.
When and how did you first learn about sex?
(Laughs) In Year 7 at schoolwe did a Sex Ed. course. They told us all about it. We all say there with these really stern looks on our face beacayse we’d been told that if we giggled we’d be thrown out, taken to the principal – the whole works. One guy giggled and he got killed! So we were all very serious…and then completely cracked up about it all in the playground!
How tough are you?
I’m not a violent person. I talk my way out of things instead. I haven’t actually had any really nasty experiences, but if someone has to go, the best thing you can do is just agree with everything they say, so they’ll have no reason to hit you. If you confront them, then you’re asking for it. Acting comes in handy in situations like that.
Does it take a lot to make you cry?
A helluvalot! But saying that, I did this Neighbours scene where I actually did cry. Don’t ask me how I did it, but I did! When you really get into character I guess you can make yourself cry more easily.
Are you much of a wild child?
I’m wild, but tame at the same time! I’m wild when it’s appropriate to be, although I haven’t had a mad night out for a while.
Do you still play the drums?
A little, but I’m not very good at it. My neighbours go crazy. They hate it! We had this women who yelled and yelled at me: ‘Shuddup, turn that music down!’ But I’d carry on playing! I’m actually in a band with some mates from school. I play guitar. Maybe music’s another option for the furture. That’d be quite cool, although I doubt I’d take lead vocals. I’m better at harmonising.
So what are your plans after Neighbours?
Well, as I said I’m keeping my options open at the moment. I’d like to get into films, because I haven’t tried that yet. I have thought about going over to Hollywood, but it’s very hard over there. I’ll probably give it a go a bit later on. For now though, I’m just concentrating on school and trying to do the best I can on Neighbours.
Finally, this interview has been…
A Suercalafrejalisticeexpealidocious astronomical interview!
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