Updated: Nov 10, 2020
Adiela Akoo in conversation with Tom Mclaren - join me as I chat to actor/model/author Tom Mclaren about life, acting and superpowers... and discover a few interesting things about Tom that you may not have known...
The first time I encountered Tom Mclaren on the silver screen, was through the gaps between my fingers - no other way I'd watch a horror movie - and he was playing the role of a priest performing an exorcism! It was also by way of a discussion on the subject of the paranormal that we became friends, well over a year ago. So if you've guessed by now that horror is Tom's favourite genre, you would be correct. But let's explore further...
(Adiela) You began your career in corporate finances working behind the scenes at both Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. Studios. But in 2012, you changed course to pursue your passion for acting. What was the catalyst that brought about this change?
(Tom) I have a long list of reasons why I made the change, but mainly I had grown tired of the corporate business world. I couldn't see myself trapped in that box for my entire life. I knew, as a person, I was capable of so much more than what I was being given, so the best outlet to express my creativity was in the acting world. It's been a fascinating journey to see my range. The best part of being an actor is playing characters that are completely different from me. It's like playing out a dream. Where else can I be a psycho carrying a gun or a priest performing an exorcism?
(Adiela) That does sound fascinating and the best part is that when you love what you're doing, it doesn't feel like work. So what does your typical day look like?
(Tom) I prefer to slowly kick-start the day one small step at a time. By noon, I'm ready to breathe some fresh air and join the rest of the world, go to the gym, and eat out for lunch. The afternoon is my most productive time dealing with the day-to-day business of a working actor - searching and prepping for auditions and jobs. The evening is for quiet time at home with my wife Mary and our two cats. Love discovering a movie I've never seen or rewatching an old favorite.
(Adiela) Speaking of old favourites, working on Lost in Space was a dream come true. Why? Do you think that we're able to manifest things we feel strongly about?
(Tom) As a boy, I grew up watching reruns of the original classic series "Lost in Space." It was my favorite TV show. What boy didn't want to be Will Robinson, having daily adventures on a spaceship or an alien planet with monsters, explosions, and a robot? I stayed loyal to the show into my adult years. In the 1990s, I met the entire cast many times and ended up becoming close friends with Angela Cartwright and Marta Kristen.
When the Netflix reboot happened, I thought to myself: if there was ever a show I wanted to be on, this was it. Finally, in 2018, my moment came and I had to pinch myself that it was real. I flew to Vancouver for an amazing opportunity. It was truly a full circle moment - I can now say that "Lost in Space" has impacted my entire life.
As for kismet or fate or whatever it should be called, I think you do have to take control of what you want and make it happen. We have to put our voices out into the universe...you may or may not get a response, but you'll never know until you try.
(Adiela) True! Reminds me of the African proverb that says: "When you pray, move your feet." In other words, prayer... or putting your voice out into the universe... also involves a call to action...
But when there is no call of 'Action', when the cameras are not rolling, who is Tom McLaren?
(Tom) I'm a homebody. I was a shy introvert as a child and to this very day, I am sometimes uncomfortable in group settings. My marriage is the most important thing in the world to me. I'm lucky to have found Mary, and that's an understatement. I don't know where I'd be without her. I never understand when actors describe the greatest moment in their life and they talk about winning an award, booking a part, or something along those lines. To me, the greatest thing is to experience true unconditional love with someone you are in total sync with. That's what fills my heart day in and day out. I'm a lucky guy from that perspective.
(Adiela) Absolutely! Especially in this day and age, and there's no doubt about who your favourite person is, but what are your favourite foods?
(Tom) I grew up in the Midwest in a meat and potatoes family, so I still insist on a burger and fries at least once a week. I love chocolate, it's the one food I need every day. I love Italian food, lots of pastas and red sauces.
(Adiela) Favourite colours?