Spencer Macpherson on authenticity and capturing something real

Spencer Macpherson, who plays Jacob Landry in Hallmark Channel’s The Way Home, reflects on how he connects with his emotions to identify with the characters he portrays. He also chats favorite musicals and actors, his background in theater, and holding on through the sea of nos.

Shirt TOM FORD, pants ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, trench coat BURBERRY, pearl necklace CASA BLANCA, pearl and gold necklace and bracelet ALL SAINTS, ring BULGARI.

I thought we would start off with some rapid fire questions before getting into anything too serious.

Sounds great.

If you could only eat one food for a month, what would it be?

I would choose something I wouldn’t get sick of that has all the food groups, so I’d probably go with a stir fry of some kind.

That makes sense because then you cover all the bases.

All the bases. If I chose something like pizza, I’d be sick of it in a couple of days.

It’s amazing! If you could live inside a show or movie, which one would you choose?

Something wholesome and G-rated. I would [probably] choose Ratatouille. Maybe Remy could cook something for me.

If you had to live as a zombie or a vampire, which one would you rather be?

I would choose a vampire. [There] are so many different variations of vampires nowadays — would I be [like] one of the Twilight [vampires] that have superpowers, or one of the ones that [have] to sleep in a coffin all day? I feel [like there are] more options with vampires.

If you had a theme song, what song would play when you walk into a room?

I really enjoyed the show Succession, and I love the theme song for that show. It works for drama [and it’s] upbeat. If that song played anywhere anytime I entered the room, I’d feel pretty cool.


You acted in a lot of dramas and musicals while you were in school. What do you feel are some of the biggest differences between acting for theater and acting for TV shows and movies?

When I started acting, I did a lot of community theater and school plays, where the goal is to [express emotions] big enough to reach the back of the auditorium. As I move towards film and television, it’s more about minimalism and capturing something really real. Theater feels like more of a performance, and film and TV feels more like you’re trying to capture something real, but I love both of them.

Do you feel like there are things you learned in theater that you apply to acting now?

Absolutely. The more plays, musicals, movies, and content that you consume, the more it informs [and influences] your acting. I really admire a lot of the musicals and performers that I watched as a kid, and they cross my mind from time to time when I am preparing for anything on screen.

What were some of your favorite musicals as a kid?

I loved Sweeney Todd a lot. I just saw the Broadway revival with Josh Groban, which was incredible. I was [also] a big fan of Jesus Christ Superstar. There’s an actor in it named Carl Anderson, and he’s phenomenal. I often think of [how] his portrayal [is] very pained and very, very good.

Do you think you would want to go back to theater again some day?

My sister is still really involved in musicals. I really admire that, and I would love to try it again, but it’s been so long [that] I’d have to relearn “how to ride the bicycle.”

Who were some of the actors and actresses that inspired you from a young age?

I [always] really loved Johnny Depp. I thought he was really cool, and [I liked] the way he would adapt to all these different kinds of characters. [As] I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown an appreciation for actors like Jack Nicholson. [He] is always so connected with himself and his truth. It’s interesting to think back and see how tastes change and evolve.

What were some of the biggest things you admired about how they portrayed their characters?

I love authenticity, no matter who it’s from. That’s an ingredient that my favorite actors always bring to the table. [They’re always] making it authentic, and making it something that no one else could really do because it’s from them.

You’ve been acting since you were pretty young. What is the most important thing you know right now that you wish you had known early on in your career?

There are a lot of nos that you hear along the way. [When I was] getting started, it was a little tough to adjust to that, but it’s the nature of the business. If I could talk to younger me, I would say, “Hold on through the sea of ‘Nos.’ You might get a ‘Yes’ at some point.”

What’s the most important piece of advice that you would give someone getting into acting in this day and age?

[There are] so many more tools available now than when I started, especially with the rise of TikTok and social media. I would say to anyone that’s trying to come up now to take advantage of all these new outlets [and] get your name out there.

Nowadays, you can put something on TikTok and get millions of views in less than twenty-four hours. You didn’t have that ten years ago.

To be honest, for some reason, I’ve never really been able to adjust to all the different social [media platforms], so something like that is so foreign to me. I really admire people [who] are able to acclimate to that new forum and take advantage of it.

I am in the same boat. I don’t understand how TikTok works. I open it maybe once every six months.

I had to delete it. It was taking over a little bit too much of my life.

If you were to branch out into another creative field like dance, photography, visual arts, or music, what do you think you would be most interested in trying?

When I was younger, I used to love visual arts, drawing, and painting. I still do, but I don’t do it as often as I used to. I’d really love to connect with that again. Something like acting is so reliant on having a scene partner or someone to write a script. You’re reliant on a lot of external forces. Something like visual art is a meditative act. You don’t need anyone but yourself. I would love to get back into that.

Different creative outlets can help us express ourselves in different ways. What do you feel like visual arts would give you that you might not get from acting?

It’s more of a personal, individual thing. I’d like to express myself on more of a personal level. I think visual arts would allow me to do that.

It’s a lot of fun, too. In five to ten years, I’m going to be scrolling through your Instagram expecting to see some paintings.

My cousin’s a tattoo artist, and I love drawing. I’ve posted some of my drawings, but I’ll definitely get back into it [more]. I’ve always [been] really interested in comic books and graphic novels, so maybe [I’ll] write the [next] great American graphic novel at some point.
One of the shows [I’m in] right now [is called] School Spirits, and [it’s adapted from] the graphic novel, so maybe [I’ll] follow in their footsteps.


Speaking of the shows you’ve been a part of, you’ve recently done a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. Outside of acting, are you a fan of sci-fi or fantasy?

Absolutely. Some of my favorite shows are [in the] fantasy and sci-fi [genre]. I’ve always loved the show The Twilight Zone from the late fifties and early sixties, and I’m a big fan of the show Lost. I love that genre, and I love being a part of it as well. There are inherently so many twists and turns from the writers, so when I’m reading the scripts, I’m on the edge of my seat just as much as the viewers.

It’s so easy to get hooked on those types of shows. Those are the shows that you binge-watch for hours.

Totally. “One more before I go to sleep. Okay, one more after that.”

Are there any genres or subgenres you haven’t acted in yet that you would be interested in trying?

I’m a big comedy fan. I don’t know if I could do it, but I would love to try. I love shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia [and] Curb Your Enthusiasm, so I’d love to get a crack at that one day if they’d have me.

Do you channel aspects of your past roles when preparing for current or future roles? 

A lot of [who] actors portray [requires] them to reach from pieces of themselves. In a sense, all of these characters are connected by what I’m feeling or what whoever’s portraying [them] is feeling at that present juncture. [There are] definitely similarities with [the characters I play in] The Way Home [and Reign]. A lot of the crew on The Way Home [were] also on Reign. Maybe seeing all those familiar faces [made me tap in] a little [to] that show I did years ago.

What was the biggest difference when you were preparing for these different characters?

It’s constantly evolving. I can’t really say that I have a specific formula for each thing. A big part of it is the audition, making a choice, taking a swing, and hoping it connects.  A big part of this job is collaboration, so my preparation is informed by the people I am working with and the collaborators that are present.

Moving on to The Way Home, if you were to make a playlist for Jacob, what three songs would absolutely have to be on it?

When I was working on the scripts and thinking about this character — I’m really into movie scores [and] orchestral scores — I was listening [to] a lot [of] the score [from] the movie Gangs of New York. [It has] this stringy, Irish vibe to it. For some reason, [I] really connected [that] with this character, so I would probably say [the] entire track list from Gangs of New York. 

That would be epic. You would just have a bunch of different movie scores on the playlist.

It depends on the part, but I’m not a great multitasker, so if I’m going to have music playing while I’m reading or ruminating over something, I would love to vibe to Stan’s vocals.

Photography IRENE CHEN




Retouch K.HOUSE

Special thanks to HALLMARK CHANNEL

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