March 9, 1975
Actor, Bartender, Waiter
Chaske Spencer underwent a huge physical transformation to portray alpha wolf Sam Uley in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" (2009), the second chapter in the highly-successful "Twilight" (2008) franchise. The theater-trained actor appeared in a few feature films and television projects before landing the role of a lifetime in "New Moon," where he packed on 25 pounds of muscle to play the ominous leader of the Wolf Pack. Spencer did not just play up the physical aspects of his "New Moon" role; he showed the sympathetic human inside his animalistic character and delivered an emotional breakout performance that deservedly put his immense talent and charisma on the map.Chaske (pronounced "Chess-Kay") Spencer was born in Oklahoma and was of Lakota (Sioux) Nation, Nez Perce, Cherokee, Creek, French, and Dutch heritage. His father was a counselor at a local high school while his mother taught at a nearby alternative high school. He began acting at a very young age, performing at the Lewiston Civic Theater, before graduating from Clearwater Valley High School in Kooskia, ID. The future star attended Lewis Clark State College for a year before deciding to pursue a full time acting career.Spencer's passion for acting led him to New York City, where he waited tables and bartended in between taking drama classes and going on auditions. He made his theater debut in an off-Broadway production of "Dracula," playing the title role. Spencer appeared in several other New York theater productions before television/film casting director Rene Haynes discovered the young actor and helped him land his first feature film role in "Skins" (2002), in which he played the young Rudy Yellow Lodge, a Sioux Indian police investigator seeking justice for a wrongful murder committed on his reservation. Haynes proved very instrumental in Spencer's burgeoning acting career, helping him land roles in two more projects - the made-for-television movie "DreamKeeper" (ABC, 2003) and "Into the West" (TNT, 2005), an epic miniseries about the 19th Century settling of the American West, told from both the settlers' and the Native Americans' perspective.Spencer did not know much about the 2005 novel Twilight nor the successful 2008 big screen adaptation when he auditioned for a part in its sequel "The Twilight Saga: New Moon." The film introduced the Wolf Pack, a strapping group of young men from the Quileute tribe who transform into werewolves. Spencer auditioned for all the roles and was eventually picked to play Sam Uley, the Wolf Pack's leader and mentor to the young wolf, Jacob (Taylor Lautner). In order to portray the physically fit and intimidating character, Spencer endured a rigorous workout regimen that made him 25 pounds heavier in just two months. His physical transformation and camaraderie with his fellow Wolf Pack co-stars - which included Lautner and newcomers Alex Meraz, Kiowa Gordon and Bronson Pelletier - helped the actor commit to his role as the dominant werewolf, equally strong in battle and conviction. Spencer would reprise his role as Sam Uley in "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" (2010), the third film in the franchise that explored more of his character's back story and the Wolf Pack's promise to protect humans from savage vampires.
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