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This article was published 27/12/2014 (2746 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Life seemed too perfect for Marshall Williams as he was called back again and again last summer to audition for a lead role in the locally lensed TV action series The Pinkertons.
His career looked to be following a familiar script -- prodigal son returns home as a success. He had already worked out contract details for multiple seasons of the western, focused on the man who founded the world's first detective agency. That just raised his already high hopes that were soon dashed when the producers cast someone else in mid-August.
"You get pretty excited when you sign all these papers, so when I didn't get it I was pretty devastated," says the Charleswood-born-and-raised 25-year-old, who is home for Christmas.
To avoid such future crushing disappointments, Williams instructed his manager and agent not to provide him with any details about projects for which he was auditioning. That way he would only get good news... which arrived a few days later, when his gym workout was interrupted by a call telling him he had been cast in the Fox TV series Glee, for which he had tried out numerous times.
"'Awesome,' I thought, and asked if it was for an episode or two, which would be sweet," recalls the former model, sporting short-cropped hair and a bit of a tan. "He says, 'No, you're guaranteed seven episodes and you're probably in for the whole season.' That was way more than I expected. I had no idea that was coming."
So during August, he had gone from the high of being feted at his first movie première -- of Disney's How to Build a Better Boy -- to the soul-sapping loss of a primo part in a new series that would have made him a star in his hometown, to the sudden thrill of booking a big-name TV teen melodrama.
Since early September, Williams has been shooting the goodbye season of Glee in Los Angeles. He plays a new character named Spencer Porter, whom he describes as a postmodern gay teen. Just before Christmas, they were wrapping the season's 10th episode; his character has appeared in eight of them.
"My guy is a douchey high school jock who is a jerk to everyone, but has a softer side that will come out in future episodes," says the graduate of St. Paul's High School, where he was a member of championship football teams. "I know what it's like to do that. He was a perfect character for me."
It's been long hours this fall, with many days split between shooting and recording at night at Capitol Records, the legendary American label that released the music of the early Beatles, the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Katy Perry. Even its circular L.A. headquarters is a famous landmark.
"It's like the pinnacle of recording studios," says Williams, a former Canadian Idol contestant.
"That's where you go when you are a famous artist. The most nerve-racking thing is to pretend I know what I'm doing. I thought, 'I better look like I know how to record, because I don't feel like I belong here.'"
He lives in Toronto but has been in L.A. working on Glee. Eventually, he would like to relocate to Vancouver, which better suits his outdoorsy nature and is only a short hop up the coast if American casting directors call.
Glee is scheduled to wrap its sixth and final season in February and will be airing just when the networks begin casting new series for the 2015-16 season.
"I think it really puts me in a good position for pilot season," says Williams, who has taken up surfing but fears sharks.
"I hope Glee leads to big things in 2015. I'd love to do a Sons of Anarchy kind or role or a comedy like Pineapple Express."
His career is beginning to gain traction thanks to How to Build a Better Boy, in which he portrayed the perfect boyfriend as created by two high school girls. All of a sudden he had about 50,000 friends on Facebook and Instagram and 15,000 followers on Twitter.
"It's mostly younger teenage girls," he says. "They are all so sweet. They say the nicest things. I try to answer everyone, as much as I can."
His fan base should see another spike with Glee, which premières with a special two-hour episode Jan. 9.
Williams could take advantage of all that L.A. could offer a young, fit, good-looking Canuck, but he tends to hang out with members of the Glee club. He has a model girlfriend in Toronto and avoids the Hollywood party scene, where other kinds of sharks feed.
"There are definitely a lot of people who come out of the woodwork and try to get something from you," he says. "Really, I'm pretty much unreachable. I find having a phone stressful. I do my social-media stuff and I don't answer texts for days."
The end of 2014 sees him working in his chosen profession and not having to moonlight any more as a bartender. He's excited just to call himself an actor.
"Now after booking Glee, I won't be blowing all my money, because I don't ever want to have to work a job I don't want to anymore."