|«I don't want to become a sex-symbol !»|
By David Keeps, Ciné Télé Revue, 1987
He is the perfect image of Californian youth : good looking, sporting, in love with life ! For Todd McKee a.k.a. Ted Capwell in the soap Santa Barbara, the life besides resembles a fairy tale : at only 24 (on next November 04), he has already celebrity, a superb house in San Fernando Valley, the insurance to make a great career. "I could be the typical example of success", he smiles. "Seen from outside, people always see a perfect boy but, inside, there is another thing !" Full of humour - what makes him extremely attractive - modest in the triumph (he rarely speaks about the hundreds of letters he receives every week), Todd McKee perfectly symbolizes the new generation of young American actors : success can not make them becoming superficial, they are adorned against this kind of nasty surprise. Todd simply wants not to be locked up in a role. "People often confuse me with my character", he says. "It is true that I am a little like him. Ted is big, he is nice, he is a good guy, but it is difficult to awake every morning while being also perfect. Sometimes, I feel the irresistible desire to become a serial killer or a man who has the devil in him !".
The rhythm of the shooting of Santa Barbara, the succession of characters who arrive then disappear without reason however learned to him how to face all situations. A daytime soap is really the best way for a young person who begins... "For now on", explains Todd McKee, "I already had five different fathers, two mothers and three fiancées, but I resist well. Ted, however, simply seeks to be happy and to know his family united. If I had known half of the problems that he crossed, I would have jumped from the top of the first cliff found ! I however do not regret anything. I discovered this job by chance, I did not really want to do it, but a sentence of my father unceasingly returns to me in mind : "You will know", he used to say, "that you have found your way when you leave your job while singing". And every morning, it is the same miracle : I whistle by leaving home...".
Before becoming an actor, Todd McKee worked in a MacDonald restaurant, serving hot hamburgers to his clients. By accident, he has been contacted for an audition. He acknowledges that he passed it easily. His surprise was complete when he learned that he had been selected ! The experiment was however not conclusive : he was just asked to smile to the camera. Fifty times a day ! Then there has been Santa Barbara and everything changed. Todd McKee, with his soft eternal child eyes, went to the conquest of an extremely cordial world. "I could not guess what awaited me", he says. "I did not believe that I could belong to this world. Santa Barbara is a marvellous family. We find ourselves the weekend to play games together. Last week, some of the producers and our president even came to join us. One played a kind of war with a computer. Each one shot the other and everyone laughed ! I adore my work, I adore the team. It is very important to have colleagues with whom you get along as well. Happily, there are already three years that I am in the show. To belong to the central family helped me a lot. I would not exchange against nothing in the world these three years because I learned a lot there. When Santa Barbara ratings rise, I feel very concerned. You receive a new script every day but I forget the difficulty of it !"
Ten years ago, Todd McKee thought he was not done for this job where are needed very solid nerves. As a young teenager, he had fought to obtain the first role of a part where he had to play Santa Claus. But his white moustache detached and he realized it only when he saw the spectators laughing out loud in their armchair. Then, he ran in stage to cry and sweared that he would never return on a scene again... Six years later, for the big show of the school promo, Todd remembered the unhappy episode. He could have chosen the shool tennis team to affirm himself, but he decided to play the part Heaven Can Wait. He was to interpret a boxer. A winner had born. "It was very funny", he says, "because I was really too thin for the role. But I hung up. Something said to me that I had to do it. I could not stay on this failure engraved in my memory".
He was too thin... Today, the seducer has the impression to be too tall for all his partners ! "I am 1,93 meter for 81 kilos", he specifies. "In this job, it is really big. That was always a problem when I passed my auditions. The casting directors unceasingly asked me : "How much do you measure ?" I had the impression that starting from some size, they eliminated the candidates ! One day I had to give the reply to a girl who was about 1,50 meter. It was really very interesting because our roles were important and of quality. But I left there terribly hurted at my back !" To become the seducer that we know, Todd McKee admits that he imposed to himself a very strict diet : "I did not stop eating and doing gymnastics for months", he says, "but that did not really change anything with my looks. Finally, I do not suffer too much from it. Women love my character a lot, especially girls who are between 13 and 20. I even received photos of girls in bikini who literally offered themselves to me. This is incredible !"
In spite of his popularity, Todd McKee does not regard himself as a sex-symbol. He really does not imagine himself all naked on screen ! "I could never do that", he says. "I would be too stupid, too much embarrassed. I could not even do it with a vineleaf. Isn't it like this that Robert Redford appeared when he went on a scene for the first time ? I would be unable to do that ! My dream would be to become the next James Stewart. Physically, we do not resemble to each other. But I will do everything to make my career resembling his..."