Interview With Actor Spencer Drever, “When Calls the Heart”

By Ruth on March 3, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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As one who takes great delectation in chatting with the young people in the entertainment business, I was ecstatic to see several new faces in When Calls the Heart this season. One of those young men, Spencer Drever, stood out prominently in episode one due to his somewhat profound storyline. I was delighted to talk with Spencer recently (and his parents) about how he got started in acting, his notable works, and even a bit about his family life.

RH: Spencer, I am so glad it worked out to talk with you today. I have to tell you that you have an incredible amount of fans. I’m not sure if you knew that.

SD: No, I really didn’t know that.

I mentioned in the Facebook group that I was going to be interviewing you, and in less than an hour, over a hundred people had already liked that post. By the next day, it was over four hundred people, and I lost track after that. People were so excited, which was really cool because you are the new kid. The Hearties absolutely love you. They told me to tell you how great you are in your part.

Oh, thank you. That’s so nice.

Spencer, how old are you now?

I’m thirteen.

You have a really impressive list of credits.

Thank you.

So why did you decide to become an actor?

To be one hundred percent honest with you, ever since I can remember, I have been really outgoing and not shy at all. My mom was like, “Well, that’s normal,” ’cause she is like that too. My grade one teacher said to my mom, “Either put him into acting or take him to a fine arts school.” My mom was like, “He’s not going to a fine arts school. He has friends here.” So my mom asked me if I wanted to do acting, and I was like, “Yes, that would be fun!” Which is the main reason I do it. Because it’s fun.

Did you start off booking commercials?

Actually, the first audition I ever did was for Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 which, at the time, was my favorite movie. It was my first audition, and my mom was scared to tell anyone at school that I was going to an audition. The office said, “You have a dentist appointment.” And I was like, “I don’t have a dentist appointment.” And they were like, “Well, your mom said you did.” So I went down to the office, and my mom was like, “Oh, you’re auditioning for Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2.”  And I was like, “No, I’m not.”  And she’s like, “Yeah, you are.” I remember that conversation as we were walking to the parking lot.

So we got there. At the time, I didn’t know what auditions were. It was a super small role. They hired and auditioned on the same day ’cause they were on a time crunch. And I thought it was the coolest thing ever. There were about six kids there, and they picked me. I was like, “Wow, I’m destined to do this.”

Then I started to get some commercials, including a  Target commercial that was lots of fun to do. It was some time after that I booked my first TV role.

I can imagine that even though it was a small role–

I thought it was huge at the time!

Right! My daughter was a huge fan of those books.

I think every kid was at some point.

I think one of  your biggest roles was Fargo

I would say so. That and The Confirmation are probably my two biggest roles to date.

Fargo was kind of ground-breaking for me because I had to go to a different place. I had to stay at a hotel. I was surrounded by a lot of great actors. It showed me how different acting in TV was from acting in commercials. When you’re young and in commercials, it’s basically just being cute. Fargo was kinda cool because I was supposed to be creepy, which I honestly like better than just being a cute little kid in commercials.

I understand you won a Joey Award for your role in Fargo.

Yes, I got a suit and everything for that awards show.

I haven’t seen The Confirmation. Was it a TV film or theatrical release?

It was a theatrical release, my second theatrical release since Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 was my first. It’s a really good family movie.

Now I remember seeing the ads for it, but I have not seen it yet. Your role in this film is bigger than your first, right?

Yeah, definitely. Probably at least a hundred thirty times bigger I would say.

The reason I ask about The Confirmation is that something you will learn about the Hearties is that once you’ve been on When Calls the Heart, they will literally follow you and support you in all your other upcoming works, especially if they are family-friendly. But the Hearties are an eclectic bunch, and some have very diverse tastes as well. What can you tell us about your character and the story?

Well, I’m not going to give anything away, but my character comes from a broken home. My dad is not a good dad. The main character comes from another broken home per se, not as bad as mine. We become friends, and we have different experiences together. I’m the hero of the movie pretty much. It’s a really good movie. I think families would like it. It’s more like a real family.

Spencer’s Parents: The main character is religious. He goes to Catholic church and is doing his confirmation. He talks to his priest about his dad and his relationship with his dad. It’s kind of how they come back together, and it’s a really nice story. The writer and director is Bob Nelson–the same guy who wrote NebraskaThe Confirmation is based on his own childhood in some respects. While there are certainly mature themes, it definitely has a spiritual core to it. It’s about redemption, but it’s also funny and has some dark humor in it. I wouldn’t say it’s a good kid’s movie, but thirteen and up should be good with it. It’s not inappropriate, but it’s also not naive.

Before When Calls the Heart, you were on another Hallmark show, Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

Oh, yeah! I was on the first episode. Not the pilot, but the first actual episode, “Time to Start Livin’.” I played the little boy, Owen/Casey. The one who was looking for his grandmother, and my character was in witness protection.

Yes, I remember you! And what’s cool about that is that the Signed, Sealed, Delivered community also has a massive fan base that is very dedicated and devoted. Although the TV show isn’t going on, there’s typically three movies that release a year. So the Postables are going to be so excited! {pause} So now we come to When Calls the Heart

Interestingly enough, I was on hold for the part of Cody. And then I was on hold for the part of Miles. In fact, I have been on hold for lots of parts with this show. But I feel like this part, Cyrus, is perfect for me.

That’s great. Why do you say it’s perfect for you?

I think that being taller than most of the kids makes me stand out. I look tall and lanky next to them.  I guess I could say that this role is a bit meatier than some of the other roles the younger kids do. With some of the kids in this show, they might get a few lines, but this one is more substantial. And I really liked it from the beginning.

A lot of the Hearties commented about how you’re dealing with serious issues like bullying and being different than the other kids. Are you able to tell us how many episodes your character is in?

I am not sure if I can say how many, but I am definitely in a few more.

That’s great! I think some Hearties were worried we may not see you again. 

Spencer’s mom:  We thought it would great if Spencer’s character and Genea’s {Charpentier} character became love interests.

Spencer: I don’t think that would be great.

{laughing} I think it would be great, but I wonder what Genea would think about it.

Spencer’s mom: I think Genea would be okay with it.

Spencer: No, she would not.

Spencer’s mom: I think it would be cute like Little House on the Prairie. The kids are starting to grow up.

Actually, what might be more interesting would be Imogen’s {Tear} character because she’s not all that nice.

Spencer’s mom: Yes, she’s like the “Nellie.”

What would really be something would be if you had girls fighting over you. That could really be interesting.

Spencer: Just like in real life!

{uproarious laughter}

Now this is cute. There was a twelve-year-old girl who is a fan of yours–I mean you have other kids who are fans as well–this girl’s name is Rylee. She told her mom how fantastic you were. Her questions are, “Did you throw the home run yourself? Do you play baseball in real life?”

I’ll tell you what. I hit the home run out of the park. I play amazing baseball….well, no I’m just kidding. But I did hit it pretty good. No practice needed. No, I don’t play baseball in real life. Jack Wagner asked me if I had been playing baseball for a long time. My response was, “I don’t play baseball. I play hockey.”

By the way, the Hearties told me to tell you that you were cute and so perfect in the role.

Awww.

They are such wonderful fans.

Mm-hmm, they are.

Any special stories from filming that you would like to share?

Yes, the director, Peter DeLuise, he really brought out an amazing performance from me. That was a big thing. After working with Peter, I think my acting has improved a lot. He gives such great advice. He didn’t look at me like a kid and say, “That was good. Great job.” He looked at me and saw that I could improve upon what I was doing to benefit me and the show. I have gotten used to hearing, “Great job. Do it again,” from many directors in the past when I was younger. But Peter saw my potential, and he was able to help me get there.

Also, the scenes I had with Erin {Krakow}–as good as they looked on the screen, it looked even better in person, or so my mom says. My mom says she knows it’s a great performance when she feels like she is about to cry. Erin is just awesome. I can’t say enough good things about her. She is exactly like how she appears on the show. She is like that in person.

Is this the first time you have been on a period show, like an old-fashioned show?

No, I was in a show around the same time period. Strange Empire. In fact, it was earlier than When Calls the Heart. Pre-settling that area. And it actually filmed in the same place. That one was a bit more gruesome.

What have you learned by being on a show that took place a century ago? 

I’ve learned a lot about being in different situations and being with different kinds of people. And how they act. It makes you understand people and how they react a bit more and maybe why they do some of the things they do.

What was the weather like when you were filming?

It was really weird. It was really cold in the morning, so much so that you have to wear a coat. And in the afternoon, it would be super hot.

I always admire actors who have to film in difficult situations like that. I hear all the stories about filming in snow and rain.

Oh, I’ve filmed in way worse conditions. In Fargo, the temperature was -36 degrees {Celsius}, and I had to be outside. And then there was another time more recently that I was wearing minimal clothing in -10 degrees. It was freezing, and it was night. Then during the day, it was around 27 degrees. So it was roasting during the day.

In addition to When Calls the Heart, is there anything else upcoming that you can mention?

While I cannot reveal anything yet, there is something really exciting coming up that I can hardly wait to tell everyone about! So please watch out for my news about this because it is BIG!

It’s also pilot season, so I’m very busy!

You still go to regular school, right?

Yes, I do.

You’ve done a lot of filming, so how do you make that work with your schooling?

My mom says that I have to get good grades or else I’m not allowed to do it. Which I get. Well, I try to get, and I usually get good grades. First year of high school I got interested in my friends and girls and stuff. But I have to maintain a certain grade point average or I’m not allowed to do it. Depending on how many days I’m filming, I get tutoring on set. A lot of my teachers are really good about it and very supportive.

Your mom is pretty smart to set that standard for you. I think that’s the key to making this work. 

My friends could honestly care less if I’m an actor or not. We don’t talk about it. In school, I try not to talk about it most of the time.

In your free time, when you’re not acting, what do you like to do?

Honestly, I like to have fun. I like to hang out with my friends a lot. I like to play basketball, hockey, rugby–honestly, playing sports calms me down sometimes. I also like to play video games a lot. Sometimes too much.

What is your advice to kids that want to become actors?

I would tell them that you gotta be ready to work. You gotta be ready to remember a bunch of lines. You gotta be able to take criticism–that’s a big thing. And you just gotta be ready to let things slide. Like, have a one-day memory. They could pick you…maybe you’re better than the kid they cast. But let’s say you have black hair and they wanted blonde hair. Or a different color of eyes than you have. There’s nothing you can do about it. You just gotta keep going. Just be persistent until you find someone who wants you for you.

 

After chatting with Spencer, I must say that I fully agree that he is a natural performer. He was quite forthcoming with anything about which I asked him, but he also looked to his parents when he was uncertain about the chronology of events or to ensure that all the facts were as he remembered them. He has a fantastic sense of humor, and he is one who has perfect comedic timing–I hope to see more of that in the years to come. I was impressed with how grounded, honest, and humble he is, and I could not be happier that he has become a special part of the Hope Valley cast. There is no doubt that he has the kind of personality that can transform practically anyone into a friend. Furthermore, while his attention to detail is remarkable, his ability to banish the negative and adhere to the positive is the definitive key to his success. While having fun is at the core of his jovial demeanor, he is one who is not arrogant and truly cares about those with whom he has partnered at home, school, and on set. I believe he would do anything to render aid to those who were in genuine need, and his support system is consistent. His parents are his unquestioned champions, and as long as he continues to live his life by the principles and values he has been taught, he will continue to find success in whatever he chooses to do. I have no doubt that acting will be a lifelong pursuit of his, and his unswerving tenacity is going to transport him even further than his undeniable giftedness. Be sure that you tune in Sunday nights to the Hallmark Channel to witness the sensational acting of this young man in the role of Cyrus. Also, be sure that you check out all of Spencer’s links and follow him where you can lest you miss one second of this exhilarating, wild journey of his en route to the accomplishment of his dreams.

FOLLOW SPENCER

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
42-year-old single mother of an active 13-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

1 Comment

  1. Carrie March 5, 2017 Reply

    What fun. Good for him

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