Monday, August 18, 2014

Spencer McLaren

Today I'm going to write about Spencer McLaren, the actor who plays Richie on The Secret Life of Us. I know absolutely nothing about him. I look forward to learning a few things.

I will say this about him. He reminds me a lot of Tim's best friend. McLaren looks a bit like him. And I think Tim's friend's personality and mannerisms are similar to Richie's.  Both of them are sort of soft-spoken. They're sweet...gentle. Easygoing. Yet they're not dull. They have a good sense of humor and they're fun.

Richie is gay, but at the beginning of the season he was in a serious relationship with a girl—Miranda. Since we don't get a glimpse of Richie's inner thoughts, I don't know if he always was attracted to men and kept that part of himself a secret. Or if he felt straight, thought he was straight, and then realized he was gay.

I know some people realize they're gay when they're very young. Then they either keep it a secret or tell someone. But I don't think that's the case for everyone. And I think Richie might be one of those who truly believed he was straight.

I'm thinking this might be an appropriate analogy. Let's say you grow up with parents who always buy fat free pudding (custard). You have it often for dessert. You think it's great. You enjoy it. But then one day you end up trying regular pudding. You think, holy crap. This is wonderful. I want this for the rest of my life! I was depriving myself all these years and didn't even know it. 

I think maybe that's how it was for Richie. He loved Miranda. He enjoyed sex with her. But then once he had sex with an attractive man, he realized he was much more homosexual than heterosexual. 

Fortunately for Richie, his friends were very supportive, especially his best friend and flatmate. Miranda was a bitch about the whole thing. I can have sympathy for her, though. She suffered a loss.

Still out of all the ways to lose a lover, I think finding out that they're not overly attracted to your gender would one of the easiest. I mean it's better than death. Probably. And I imagine it's better than being rejected because they simply stopped being interested, or they prefer another specimen of your gender. 

Let's start our adventure with Spencer McLaren. 

IMDb says his birthday is February 28, 1973. He's close to being a leap year baby. And he's very close to my age. We're a few months apart. 

He was born in Sydney.

He attended NIDA—the school a lot of Aussie actors go to

That's all the biography information provided by IMDb. Now I'll look at the Spencer McLaren filmography.

His first screen appearance was in 1994. He did two episodes of a TV show called The Damnation of Harvey McHugh. He was actually in the first two episodes of the show. 

Lord Wiki says it was a dark comedy about a guy who wanted a job in the Australian public service. 

YouTube actually has the episode that McLaren is in. I'll see if I can see him. 

No, I can't find him. And now I see on IMDb, he's one of six "Young Matidlans". So he might be part of a crowd. There's a church scene in the beginning. He might be there. But I see mostly young children and McLaren would be around 21 in 1994. I don't think I see anyone his age.

Oh well. I think I'll move on then. 

In the same year, McLaren played a law officer on two episodes of the show Halfway Across the Galaxy and Then Turn Left.  It was a science fiction show for children. 

McLaren's filmography goes quiet for a few years. This was probably about the time he attended NIDA, because IMDb says he graduated in 1999. So he probably had a few acting jobs, furthered his education, and then got more acting jobs. 

In 2000, McLaren did six episodes of Home and Away. He played Kieran Fletcher. I know the Fletchers, so I want to know who this Kieran was. I'll have to look it up, though I might get spoilers. Oh well.  

I just Googled Kieran Walker instead of Kieran Fletcher. Kieran Walker is from In the Flesh. I love that show. 

Oh! Wow. According to the Back to the Bay website, Kieran Fletcher was Sally Fletcher's husband. I was thinking, What? Were they very progressive. The groom took the bride's name? But no. It was a coincidence. They had the same last name before marrying. And that's actually how they met.

Wait. I'm wrong about Kieran Fletcher being Sally's husband. He was just her groom. Or maybe not even that. It looks like the wedding never happened. It started and then someone came forward accusing Kieran of getting it on with another woman. Yikes.

Here's some scenes from the wedding. Martin Dibble is back. I guess it was a guest appearance. And Ryan Kwanten is there!   

McClaren appears at about 7:05.

Moving on....

McClaren was on The Secret Life of Us for 64 episodes; 2001-2003. I've seen 22 of the episodes. I have much more to go. The show was on for six seasons, so I guess McClaren was on for half of those. I think I'll miss Richie when he's gone.

McLaren's filmography goes quiet again...from 2003-2005. I wonder what he was doing then. Theater? Struggling to find work? Making a family? Rehab? 

Then in 2005, he was on a show called Family Affairs It was in the UK. So maybe that's what he was doing from 2003-2005. Relocating.

Family Affairs seems to be a soap opera. It ran from 1997-2005, so McLaren was on for the last year.

This website says Brett Owen was gay like Richie. Well, I mean they don't say he's gay like Richie. They just say he's gay. The "like Richie" part is coming from me.

That does make me wonder if McLaren is gay. I maybe wondered it before, a little bit.  But many straight actors play gay characters. However, if you're going to play two gay characters on TV, it really makes me wonder.  

Brett Owen was actually Australian—a backpacker. So I guess McLaren didn't have to change his accent.

From 2006-2009, McLaren did one time appearances on various TV shows. I won't name all of them. I'll stick to the shows I've watched before. 

He was on an episode in the seventh season of McLeod's Daughters, and he was on an episode of the last season of All Saints

In 2011, he was in a romantic comedy called Surviving Georgia

Oh! And he was also the producer of the movie. That's cool. I wonder how he got involved with that. 

Here's the trailer

McLaren appears at about 1:17. 

Since Surviving Georgia, it looks like McLaren's screen career has stalled a bit. He was in a short film in 2011 and in 2013 he played "Race Official" in a movie called Cliffy. I think it's usually a bad sign if you're playing characters without names.

But no worries. Careers can pick up steam again. There's always hope. It does suck, though, that an actor has to re-struggle. It's like you climb this really high mountain; then fall and have to climb it again.

Here's a trailer though for the 2011 short film McLaren was in. It's called Brad In a Bottle. From what McLaren says in the trailer, I guess it's about a water salesman (Brad) who's afraid of water.

Here we go. I found the film online.

It seems Brad is afraid of water because an adult pushed him in, fully clothed, when he was a child. My family recently had a discussion about this. One of my sister's heard that her child's swimming lesson would include the child being thrown in the pool with his clothes on...without warning. My sister wasn't keen on this idea. I Googled and saw a range of opinions on this message board. Some people think it's a good way to prepare children for emergency situations. Others think it's a way to traumatize children for life and give them a fear of water.  

My opinion: I think most children will not be traumatized for life from the experience, but nor do I think it helps to prevent drowning accidents. For most kids, it's probably just a waste of time. And unpleasant.

I would worry, though, about the surprised child swallowing water and that leading to dry drowning. I wouldn't want to take that risk. 

Poor Brad. This video is sad. He has a hard time just taking a shower.

And I thought I had a difficult time with my phobia of vomit. Water is much more common than vomit.

I think this is a good movie in terms of eliciting sympathy. I really feel for Brad. I want to hug him. And maybe fly him out to a desert somewhere.

Now there's a girl in the film that looks like Anna Kendrick. I don't think it's her, though. I'll check the credits of the movie later.

Or now.

It's not Anna Kendrick.

It's Kate Bell.  

I'm getting a little bored with the romantic bits of this film.

Now it's getting more interesting. The girl spills wine on Brad and he freaks out a bit. Then she starts splashing him with water. I guess in an attempt to clean him? He's upset by it, which seems silly and crazy. But I can relate. When you have a phobia, the things that don't bother normal people can make you really anxious.

For example, on an episode of The Secret Life of Us, Will is drunk and vomits. Then he falls into his vomit. And he wipes his dirty mouth with his sleeve. Or maybe these happened in two separate vomit incidents. The show has a lot of vomiting. Anyway, then later he goes to sleep on the chair in someone's apartment. Most people wouldn't be bothered by it. I'd be horrified. First I'd be so grossed out to just be near someone who vomited. Even if the vomit didn't touch me, I'd want to wash my clothes. Or better yet throw them away. And if I didn't throw them away, I'd probably wash them multiple times before wearing them again.

If someone vomited and then wiped their mouth with their sleeve, I'd be so disgusted. Or if they wiped it with their hands, I'd be so grossed out by everything they touched. 

So yeah. I'm a bit mental. That being said, I'm not as bad as some people, because I'm actually fairly all right with fictional vomit. I've heard of other people who are not.  I'm okay reading about it in books. I'm usually fine seeing in on movies and TV shows. I even wrote about it in my novel. I only have a problem with it when it's real.  

I'll shut up and get back to the movie. 

Now there's sex.

He thinks about his childhood pool incident while having sex. 

Maybe the pool stuff symbolizes sex?

All right. I'm done with the movie. I'm not sure I understand the ending correctly.

Lord Wiki says that McLaren IS gay. His partner is a guy named Chris Wright. They had a commitment ceremony in St. Kilda Botanical Gardens a few months ago. 

This article says Wright is a paramedic. 

McLaren refers to getting married. I think he and his partner consider themselves married even though the Australian government says otherwise. So maybe I should say "His husband". 

But yeah. Why not? Why wait for the government to give their blessing.

In the article, McLaren says, Our hope is that the federal government will catch up with the Australian people and legislate to recognise our marriage.

Amen to that! I think it will happen soon.

Here's an article from 2003 about McLaren leaving The Secret Life of Us. After leaving, he did some theater. Bye Bye Birdie. And he's done other musicals.

In the article, he talks about wanting to do film. Hugh Jackman was helping him to get an agent in London. I wonder what happened with that.

When he was young, he liked the movie The Lost Boys. I did too!

McLaren was a producer for a stage production of Mother and Son...you know like the TV show.

Actually, it's going on now.

It's at the Comedy Theatre in Melbourne.

I think that might be McLaren's thing. Producing. That's very cool. I wonder what he likes better—producing or acting.

Here's a video of McLaren being interviewed. It starts with what I think is a scene from his Melbourne Fringe Festival performance.

He's playing multiple characters—talking in different voices. And different accents.

He still reminds me of Tim's friend, but for one moment he kind of reminded me of Nicholas Cage. Just looks—not voice or personality.

The interview is long. I'm kind of skipping through it.

I'm watching part two now. There's an interesting part about Australians getting acting work in the UK. McLaren says they're hesitant about Australians playing English characters. They also worry that the Aussie will only be around for a short time, and they'd rather invest in people who are going to be around permanently.

McLaren says they're more open to hiring Australians to play Australians or Americans.

I wonder if there's any UK movie or TV show in which an Australian is playing an American.

McLaren says the Australian roles in the UK are often clichés. So they have the same problem there as they do here.

He says his character on Family Affairs was a dentist.

Here's something for Dr. Who fans. McLaren was on the radio show. I didn't know there was a radio show...probably because I'm not a member of the fandom.

McLaren is a little rude regarding Dr.Who fans. He says he gets emails from fans and deletes them. Maybe he's joking? I don't like when actors are on shows with a cult following and have really negative attitudes towards the fans. I mean of course they should be annoyed by stalkers and other overly persistent types. But I don't like when they look down at the fans.

To McLaren's credit, after he says the stuff about deleting, he does say the people mean well. That's kind of condescending. But you know...I'm not in his shoes. Maybe I'd have that attitude if I was in something involving a zealous fan base.

Now they're talking about The Secret Life of Us, and how the show was seen by the gay community. The people working on the show wanted to avoid clichés,  McLaren says he got emails from people who say the show helped him with their coming out process. That's good.

I think I'm going to end with this 2007 video to save St. Kilda from change and development. They were going to put in a ton of shops. I feel stupid, because I don't know if they won the fight against this or not.  We were there last year. I don't remember seeing a huge amount of shops.  So I think McLaren's team won. But I'm not 100% sure.