A lot of teenage girls are going to fall in love with Spencer Lofranco when his first film comes out this spring – and I’m halfway through asking if he’s ready for that when he shouts, “Yes!” with a big, goofy laugh. “I’m dying!” The 20-year-old, who grew up in Toronto and has just moved to LA, has been single for almost six months.
“I’m really lonely,” he sighs. “I hope that happens.”
Leonardo DiCaprio is the first name on a long list of acting heroes he mentions, and like DiCaprio, he has an open, sensitive face, and an affinity for tough roles. In Jamesy Boy, Lofranco plays real-life reformed criminal James Burns, who turned around his life in a maximum-security prison under the wing of a convicted murderer. To prepare, Lofranco spent a year hanging out with Burns himself: lifting weights, going for drinks, talking about their lives. When the movie was finally shot, Burns was on set every day.
That’s a lot of pressure for a first-time actor – especially when his supporting cast is made up of veteran stars like Mary-Louise Parker and James Woods, who have armfuls of Emmys and Golden Globes between them – but Lofranco is tougher than he looks. After high school, he spent four years at a military academy, and that training (“showing up on time, having a plan, not being afraid of anything”) was helpful. Plus, he’s a Libra, he points out, so he knows how to keep an even keel.
The plan was to go on to law school, but Lofranco had always had a sense that “something big was going to happen in my life.” He took some acting classes at UCLA and the New York Film Academy, and got the Jamesy Boy part after his first-ever audition. On the shoot, he picked up tips from Parker and Woods, watching the way they ignored distractions between takes. “It was cool to see. I didn’t know how fucking passionate people are about this acting thing, you know?” When they wrapped, both he and Burns made speeches. “It was one of the proudest, most vulnerable and amazing moments I’ve ever had in my life.”
Since then, he’s already played Andy Garcia’s son in the rom-com Middleton, signed up with the A-list talent agency William Morris, and is preparing for pilot season – but until his debut performance hits cinema screens, he’s just another Hollywood hopeful, “getting up in the morning and doing what I gotta do.” He should probably enjoy the calm while he can: he’s not going to be lonely for long.