Spencer Wilding: The Man Who Played Darth Vader

He's starred in Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Guardians of the Galaxy and even Star Wars - can you guess who it is? No? That's because Spencer Wilding is one of the most frequently appearing actors you've never heard of.

Spencer is a six foot seven inches tall beast of an actor who's appeared in more than 40 television shows and films - but with such a back catalogue it's amazing that he isn't a household name.

The man himself told LADbible he always had a dream of becoming an actor, but he went down a different route when he was 25 years old. He became a kickboxer and even became a professional undefeated cruiserweight boxer all before he'd picked up a script.

That moment came when he was 29. Spencer explained how he went to have his photos taken for his mum and the owner of the photography studio asked him: "Have you ever thought about acting?"

Spencer Wilding: The Most Famous Actor You've Never Heard Of. Credit: Shutterstock
Spencer Wilding: The Most Famous Actor You've Never Heard Of. Credit: Shutterstock

This was a big step for him. He said: "I was really excited. I went down to the casting and was given a piece of dialogue to read. We must not forget that I thought I was going to get off the train on to a red carpet and an actor's life. Instead, I was stood in front of nine people with a script which I read no better than a five-year-old would read their first Thomas the Tank Engine book."

Spencer didn't get the part because his severe dyslexia and failures from education during his schooling meant he didn't know how to properly read and write until he was 32 years old.

After this initial setback, he went for several more casting calls over the next 12 months with no luck. Then, one day, it all started to change. He said: "I got the call for the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film for the role of the werewolf and I initially said 'no, I can't read so I'll just stick to fighting'. But I ended up going for it and the rest is history."

Spencer Wilding: The Most Famous Actor You've Never Heard Of. Credit: Shutterstock
Spencer Wilding: The Most Famous Actor You've Never Heard Of. Credit: Shutterstock

While he was on the set of Harry Potter, Spencer spoke about singing 'happy birthday' to Daniel Radcliffe and his experience with Alan Rickman.

"I was singing 'happy birthday' to Dan when he turned 14 on set, with Alan Rickman there," he said. "Alan was amazing, a brilliant actor. Because his character was very dark and serious, but sometimes you'd just get him, and he'd just have a chat with you. He was a beautiful actor, it was such a terrible loss."

Spencer has since played the original Game of Thrones white walker - from the first episode. He explained how many of the roles, including those on GOT, took hours in make-up and costume to get that terrifying appearance.

He said: "A heavy dialogue role is quite difficult for me, with the dyslexia, but I'm getting there. But five or six-hour make-up jobs, they're tiring on you."

Eventually he took on the iconic role as Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

He said: "I met Dave Prowse (the original Darth Vader) at a Comic-Con seven years ago. We shook hands, had a little stare at each other and six years later the hat passed over to me - or mask should I say?

Spencer Wilding: The Most Famous Actor You've Never Heard Of. Credit: Lucasfilm
Spencer Wilding: The Most Famous Actor You've Never Heard Of. Credit: Lucasfilm

"It was 40 films in before I got that job. They weren't just going to stick any tall guy in there. I went to several auditions, very secretive. I didn't even know who I was really auditioning for, just a big guy. He was a real immense character, Darth Vader, and you just let him take over you."

Spencer had travelled a long way since growing up in a small town in north Wales, but he is now in Manchester to star at the For the Love of Sci-Fi convention.

The convention is set to celebrate all things sci-fi, adventure and geekiness at Trafford Park over the weekend of 1st and 2nd December. Lou Ferrigno (the original Incredible Hulk) is also starring, along with Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin, who played Dustin and Lucas on Stranger Things.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/Lucasfilms

Rachael Grealish

Rachael is journalist from West Cumbria, recently moved to Manchester for an exciting opportunity at LADbible. She used to work as an editor of a small newspaper, in Cumbria. Outside of work Rachael loves plenty of coffee, running and reading.

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