You may not recognize his name, but chances are you know the oddball individuals he's portrayed on film. Bruce Spence, a character actor from Down Under, has managed to land roles in the biggest film franchises of the last twenty-five years. Generally all of his roles are strange, quirky characters that seem to perpetually suffer from some form of advanced tooth decay. Heck, maybe they didn't stress good oral hygiene when he was growing up.
Gyro Captain The Road Warrior | Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Would you eat canned dog food? How about if you were third, after some scruffy road hog and then his mangy dog had their go at the can? The lanky, gangly Gyro Captain in The Road Warrior eagerly scooped the meaty leavings into his gaping maw with relish. Of course, living in the dismal, post-apocalyptic future of a barren wasteland can be hell on a maintaining good dietary habits, let alone decent dental care. The Gyro Captain, with a smile only a mother could love, flew his whirligig flying machine to provide air support when Max made the tanker run. Strangely enough, the good Captain gets the girl in the end too; and by the third sequel, actually has offspring, a swanky underground lair, and a small plane. What more could a man want?
The Trainman The Matrix Revolutions
This guy sports more wrist watches than Timex. But hey, when you control the only safe passage of transit between The Matrix and the Machine World, you gotta be on time. In cohoots with the Merovingian, The Trainman will, for a price, transfer obsolete, unhappy, or otherwise illegal programs into the safety of exile, because they would otherwise be hunted down and deleted. The Trainman appears more akin to a wild-eyed bum than bespeaks the power he wields, and he's got a pretty good case of tartar build-up on his pearly whites. While armed with a pistol, The Trainman's not a very good shot; but he is omnipotent in his small world. Not even Neo, the Chosen One himself, can escape from The Trainman's Mobil (Limbo) Avenue station. Maybe Neo's power was sapped by The Trainman's hearty halitosis like some type of gingivitis-inspired Kryptonite.
The Mouth of Sauron Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (DVD Extended Edition)
The Dark Lord's proxy, The Mouth of Sauron, met King Aragorn Elessar at the Black Gate of Mordor when the forces of Men took the fight to the Enemy at the end of The Third Age. The Mouth of Sauron's lack of lips is comparable to Hellboy's Karl Ruprecht Kroenen's skeletal smile, so maybe he had the same penchant for self-inflicted cosmetic surgery. I'm not sure what enslaved sorcerors eat while stationed in Mordor but I'm sure a steady diet of man-flesh and maggoty bread will rot teeth just as quickly as a candy and cola will.
Tion Medon Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Ah, the point emerges. Yes, even the Star Wars Saga is now part of Spence's filmography. Arguably the best-dressed character Spence has played, although he sports a mouthful of funky needle-shaped teeth. But at least they appear to be well-polished and sharply-filed teeth. Now fans everywhere know Tion Medon is the lanky Port Administrator of Pau City, one of the better sinkhole municipalities of Utapau. Medon anxiously confides to Obi-Wan Kenobi that they are being held hostage by General Grievous and tens of thousands of Battle Droids. I wonder how long Spence spent in make-up to shoot a scene that lasts only a few seconds of screen time. Maybe he got to keep Medon's teeth for his efforts.
So there you have it, true believers, the actor Bruce Spence and a brief overview of his characters in the big film franchises of the last twenty-five years. Sure, most were bit parts, but others were meaty roles he could really sink his rotten teeth into.