Interview With Actor Sebastian Spence, “Garage Sale Mystery: Murder Most Medieval”

By Ruth on August 20, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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Approximately three years ago, I had the extraordinary pleasure of connecting with a man who has since become one of my dearest friends. Typically when I interview someone, I do not know the actor personally, but in the case of Sebastian Spence, we have a fairly extensive history. He has consistently been supportive of my writing (even when it was rather inadequate), and I am infinitely grateful to finally be returning the favor. 

Sebastian Spence Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

RH: Thank you so much, Sebastian, for taking the time to talk with me this morning. I know things are pretty busy for you right now.

SS:  My pleasure, Ruth. Thank you for reaching out.

Sebastian Spence Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

In the upcoming Garage Sale Mystery film, how would you describe your character, Bill Wallace?

I see Bill Wallace as an eccentric philanthropist who fell in love with the idea knights and sword fighting. He’s part of a club that re-enacts sword fighting from the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries in his backyard. He’s a collector of armor and things of that era. While he’s quite eccentric, he’s still lovely. He knows Jenn {Lori Loughlin} because she is constantly on the lookout for old relics, including antique chairs and even antique suits of armor–just the kind of things Bill loves to collect. As a result of this common interest, he and Jenn are old friends.

Sebastian Spence, Lori Loughlin, Casey Manderson Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Initially, Jenn comes by because he has asked her to look for a matching chair to one he already has. When she comes by, she gets to witness Bill and his team in action. He and his team actually compete in sword fight reenactments where they are in full armor regalia. So in that opening scene, the butler, Tucker {Casey Manderson}–because of course, Bill Wallace has a butler {laughs}–takes her out to the backyard so she can witness them practicing their sword-fighting firsthand for a competition that’s coming up.

The thing about Bill is that he is obsessed with that era. And because of his philanthropy, he can afford to go out and do all this sword-fighting. It’s honestly one of his favorite things to do. It keeps him in shape, and he just loves it. He’s got a camaraderie with all of these guys he fights with, and they’re obviously all about it too.

Neill Fearnley is the director of this film. Isn’t it true that you have worked with him in the past?

Yes, I’ve worked with Neill many times throughout my career. But he did direct a film I was in that was one of Hallmark’s biggest films, Daniel’s Daughter, with Laura Leighton. That film was one of my all-time favorite projects. We had such a great time on that movie. In fact, that film prompted a call from one of the heads of Hallmark who called me up to tell me that they loved what I did on that film. In fact, it was one of their top movies at the time. I have enjoyed a relationship with Hallmark for several years now.

You know, Daniel’s Daughter is one that people still talk about to this day. Still one of Hallmark’s most popular films, I think.

Honestly, Laura was just so lovely to get to work with. We really did connect. We would even get together in the hotel room after work and work the scenes. It was such a lovely experience.

I think that connection came across really well. I still hear from fans who regularly watch that film and count it as a true favorite. It doesn’t seem to go out of style.

That is just so wonderful to hear. I really felt that our connection came across on the screen very well. I was incredibly pleased with that project.

I do have one Cedar Cove question as many of us still remember you quite fondly from that show. What did you enjoy the most from your time on Cedar Cove?

I certainly had a lovely time doing scenes with Andie {MacDowell}. I relished every time I got to do a scene with her. Unfortunately, those times were often few and far between because our characters being together was not the crux of the show. The central relationship was Andie and Dylan {Neal}. But every now and then, she would come by to have a scene with Cliff, and I always loved those scenes.

And of course, working with Teryl Rothery was just a joy. We’re old friends, and we’d done work together before in the past, and so it was just good to be able to be matched up with Teryl as my love interest. I could not have asked for a better leading lady in Teryl. She was so easy to work with.

And the other things I loved about Cedar Cove were the locations and the horse-riding. While I was able to ride a horse before, by the end of the show, I had learned to ride a horse really well. I wouldn’t say I was a professional horse rider, but they really wanted to make sure I could ride a horse. So because of Cedar Cove, I learned to ride a horse properly as opposed to me just pretending I could ride a horse. {laughs} Actually, it has been on my resume for years that I could ride a horse. But could I do it properly or professionally? Not really. But by the end of Cedar Cove, I was quite comfortable on horses, and that was something that I really enjoyed about the show.

Interesting that you mentioned Andie. She’s got a movie premiering tonight too–At Home in Mitford with Cameron Mathison.

Oh, that’s fantastic! She was so lovely to work with, and I’m glad she has a movie premiering the same night I do.

In fact, her leading man, Cameron, does a mystery movie series with Barbara Niven, who will be seen on Chesapeake Shores tonight as well. 

Oh, Barbara was a treat to work with on Cedar Cove as well. She has a wonderful energy about her.

Seems like a massive Hallmark night tonight with three premieres tonight alone. 

I’m honored to be in the mix tonight.

A fan did ask me if you’d ever like to be on the show Good Witch if the opportunity came up. That show is actually in its third season now, and I think it’s one of their most popular shows.

I would love to work on that show. In fact, I think Hallmark has so much talent and many lovely people who work for them. So I’m interested in anything Hallmark.

Knights Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Back to Murder Most Medieval, my daughter Martha had a question. How heavy were those suits of armor that you had to wear, and what was the experience like wearing them?

Believe it or not, we started the entire shoot with me getting into a suit of armor. We did the backyard fighting scenes right off the top. They actually made reference to the fact that these military guys would carry about a hundred pounds of gear with them when they trek off into the woods for their training. And that’s what it kind of felt like. Like it was weighing about a hundred pounds of metal and padding. Even the sword was quite big and heavy.  So here we were re-enacting these fight sequences. They did have a stunt guy in there initially, but then they suited me up and put me into his position and off we went. {laughs}

The suits of armor were fairly authentic, I think. It made you think about what these guys must have gone through in medieval times because I couldn’t imagine dropping to the ground and having to do all that. I think that maybe that’s why over the course of time, armor became lighter and lighter because you can’t really do too much with pounds and pounds of metal on. It would be one thing to be on a horse with a sword, but to be on the ground hand-to-hand fighting, I don’t know how these guys pulled it off back then. I probably lost about five or ten pounds just in sweat alone, and that was just in that small sequence I did off the top.

I will say though that it was a lot of fun to be dressed up in that gear and swinging swords along with everything else. But the poor stunt guys were just exhausted by the end of it ’cause they were doing most of the fighting.

Do you have anything else upcoming that you can mention?

Absolutely. I can certainly say that I am currently at the Fairmont Royal York waiting to go to work on the show Taken. While I can’t say much about it right now, I can tell you that role is a guest spot on the second episode of the second season of that show. It’s an NBC show. I am really looking forward to it.  My role is great, and I think this season will be a fantastic season for the show.

from Witness Protection

I also have a couple of Lifetime movies coming up sometime hopefully soon. One of the films, Witness Protection, is directed by David DeCoteau, and I play a bad guy. My character is Maxyl. He’s hired to take out this mother and daughter. I think people will see me in a different light in that one because, for lack of a better term, I’m quite a “bastard.” My character goes around taking people out, you know, “offing” people. But it was a lot of fun to do that role.

I did another one with director George Erschbamer called Deadly Attraction. I play the role of Dance Carol. A bit unusual, but that’s the name of the character. He’s a private investigator who’s hired to track a “black widow.” I come in part-way through the movie and help out. I don’t want to say anymore, or I might give away too much of the plot.

Which one of those did you shoot on Vancouver Island?

That was Witness Protection. That was another one where it was just a dream location. They also had a small, bare-bones crew, and I always love working with a small crew because it just feels more intimate. And of course, you’re in the same boat together. It’s hard to distinguish between cast and crew because you become like family. It’s always a lot of fun. You could be doing long hours, but it doesn’t matter. You’re with friends and family, and it’s a very relaxed kind of set when it’s that way. That’s always my preference when it comes to shooting because you can play more and you can bring more to the table. You can discuss whatever you need to with the director and add dialogue, or you can ask any questions you may have about the dialogue you are saying. You can make it more about you and your character, and that’s my favorite way to work.

Sebastian, thank you so much for taking time from your busy schedule to chat with me today.

Ruth, it was truly my pleasure. It’s always a pleasure talking with you.

First of all, I recognize the brevity of this interview, and while some may prefer a longer one (myself included), this is what might be considered the first installment with more to come at a later date. It’s not every actor that would take the time from his busy schedule to keep a promise to a simple interviewer when his schedule was as crazy as it has been. In fact, the vast majority of actors would cancel and/or reschedule, and I would not have thought anything untoward about Sebastian had he done just that. When it comes to acting, it’s the stuff behind-the-scenes that we viewers and fans often forget and don’t even consider. It is not easy to maintain all the auditions, last-minute shoots, rewrites, lack of sleep and insane hours an actor must endure on a regular basis in order to bring us quality entertainment. All too often, we tend to think of the end result without all the difficulties in between.

While Sebastian is probably not a household name in the true sense of the word, he is one who consistently gives back to his fans whenever he can. Some may complain that he does not interact on social media as much as they think he should, but what those grumblers fail to realize is that whenever he does respond, it is not just an automatic response stated with insincerity as some “celebrities” may choose to do. Whenever Sebastian responds, you can rest assured that he means the words he has penned one hundred percent from his heart. Furthermore, it is an individualized response that genuinely touches those who receive it, and so in my opinion, those sentiments mean ten or hundred times what an automated reply might mean.

Additionally, Sebastian is one who is often underrated because he does not promote himself in the manner that some actors do. His talent is immense, and his professionalism is legendary. In fact, his reputation within the business is absolutely spotless. No one has ever uttered a negative word about this man either personally or professionally, and as far as I’m concerned, that carries more weight than any of my interactions with him. However, I will say that when I had the opportunity to meet him last year, I discovered for myself that everything that had been said about him was probably a vast understatement as he easily transcends the words written about him (including the ones I write tonight). In a business where artificiality and charlatans abound, it is so satisfying to know that Sebastian is one of the few sincerely “good guys” who exist amongst all the peevishness and cynicism. The adjectives I could use to describe this man are practically endless, but I am aware of the fact that all that needs to be said is that Sebastian is an amazing man who I am honored to have in the circle of my friends. I know there are those closer to him than me, but the fact that he has chosen to permit me into his life is something I accept eagerly and soberly.

So please watch his most recent film on August 20th, Garage Sale Mystery: Murder Most Medieval, on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Also, be sure to follow him via the links below so that you will be aware of the latest news from a gentleman and actor who can easily be called one of the most phenomenal, chivalrous, and benevolent people around!

FOLLOW SEBASTIAN

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

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