It’s time to dance with Spencer Boldman. The actor portrays Lance McCrae in Hulu’s Welcome to Chippendales about the infamous and iconic touring dance troupe that became known for its male strippers donning a bow tie, collar, and shirt cuffs (and hardly anything else). What you might not know about Chippendales is its insidious history, consisting of a true crime story that’s seething with murder and sex. Boldman’s character is described — and seen as — the ultimate specimen. He’s the hottest dancer of them all and is the biggest inspiration for the club’s choreographer. Outside of the stripping and dancing, Boldman’s portrayal of McCrae required a deft touch and dedication to the character’s physique and internal battles.
Schön! chats with the rising actor to discuss Welcome To Chippendales, the hardest aspect of filming, what else is on the horizon, and more.
Welcome to Chippendales is inspired by the book Deadly Dance: The Chippendale Murders. Were you aware of the book before filming?
I was aware of “Chippendales” the name and that it was a strip club, but I didn’t know of the book or the drama and murder surrounding the business. That’s what I think makes the show and story so interesting. In front of the curtain you have this forbidden entertainment and behind it you have drama, drugs and death
You play along actors such as Nicola Peltz Beckham and Kumail Nanjiani and many more. How was it to work alongside them?
I mainly worked with Juliette Lewis and Murray Bartlett who are industry veterans and the most generous artists on and off camera. It was a gift to be able to work alongside them and I was a sponge anytime I could watch them work. Every actor has their own unique process and this cast did a great job being able to seamlessly blend their individual approach into the cohesive body of the show. Kumail is also a producer in addition to the lead, so I was able to spend some time with him as well, I am a huge fan of his and think he just knocked it out of the park in this role.
What is something that you want the audience to take away from the story?
That every dream has a price. Being fulfilled in life is more than success, money and power. Think about what different lives both of these men (Steve & Nick) could’ve had had they not let insecurity and greed drive them. Also, that one persons actions can have consequences for a large group of people. It’s a trickle down effect, I would never want something I chose to do to impact the people I love.
How did you prepare for your role?
My character Lance McCrae is a dancer and was known as “The Perfect Man” which was daunting just in the character description itself. For prep I worked with my trainer, Storm Newton, for 6 months, gained 20lbs of muscle and was on an insanely strict diet. Tons of lean proteins, complex carbs and a lot of vegetables. I hate supplements but introduced some plant based protein into my diet twice a day. I’m a big guy – 6’2 and was 205lbs by the beginning of filming so I had to feed the beast to maintain that.
What was the most challenging about playing Lance?
For me, hands down, it was the dancing. The outfits were a close second. I have never danced on camera and, with the exception of bad dancing at weddings, I had no dance background. I took it number by number and worked with the shows chorgeograpoher, Scott Hislop and his assistant, Stella Choe a few days before we filmed each number. They were incredibly patient and supportive as well as the other guys I dance alongside- who are all professional dancers. When you craft that type of environment I think any natural ability one has has the opportunity to really grow so I was thankful everyone was so cool.
Dancing is incredibly athletic and there is an emotion to it that I really wanted to nail. As an actor you’re trained in committing and playing this guy who was this star dancer back in the day I was committed to pulling that off. I hope I did. Also knowing I would be dancing in front of hundreds of people in a g string was something I never was able to quite wrap my head around… I had a few shots of tequila before I filmed.
You are known for the Disney show Lab Rats, Zapped and Cruise to name a few. How did it feel like to transition from these to Welcome to Chippendales?
Prior work prepares you for future work. I’m so grateful for all of the opportunity I have had in the past so any time I get to continue to work in this business I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. This project felt different because there are so many more adult themes, but as an adult it was a nice change of pace. I really felt honoured to be a part of this cast and hope I get to work with all of these actors again in the future.
How have you grown as an actor between when you started and where you are now?
Life experience is the biggest weapon an actor can have in their tool chest. When I started to realize that I wanted to get out and consume as much real life as I could- meeting new people, traveling, experiencing different cultures. When you’re starting out you have less to be able to pull from. It’s the good the bad and the ugly, specifically anytime I have gone through something painful in my life I always see a small silver lining of being able to use that in my work. Audiences like watching someone connect to something that they themselves have experienced. When you achieve that as an actor thats like catching lightning in a bottle.
What do you do when you’re not on set?
Workout, workout, workout. I love it because it’s one of the few things in my life that I can actually control. I also have a golden retriever named Jack. He’s the best boy in the world so I love spending time with him- hiking or going on a long walk. Also love to travel, watch football and eat good food.
Is there anyone who you are dreaming of working with?
Tons of people. If I had to pick on person it would Daniel Day Lewis. I had the pleasure of meeting him in New York when I was doing press for a movie and he was the absolute best. They say don’t meet your heroes, but this time I’m glad I did.
Tell me more about what’s next for you. Any exciting upcoming projects?
Since the pandemic I really got into writing and have written 2 hour long episodes of a show I want to produce. Writing is very difficult but also incredibly rewarding. Much like working out it’s something I enjoy doing that I can actually control. I have so many ideas for films that I want to write so a lot of the time it’s about sitting down and organizing your thoughts. I also have a few movies in the pipeline that I unfortunately can’t talk about, but for now I am excited for people to see Welcome to Chippendales.
And lastly, what is something that you want to be remembered for?
For being a light in peoples life.
Welcome to Chippendales is streaming now on Disney+.