RECENTLY, WILLIAM LODDER found himself juggling not one but six baby girls. It was a position he didn’t expect to find himself in his early twenties, but then again, neither did his character Aaron. In the second season of the critically acclaimed Binge original series Love Me, Aaron becomes the father of a baby (not six—they were doubles) with his ex-girlfriend Ella (Shalom Brune-Franklin). He’s forced to grow up quickly, and the situation is intensified by the Aaron’s burgeoning feelings for old friend Jesse (Mitzi Ruhlmann).
“It definitely brought out a part of me where I was like… how do I express that without having the knowledge of what it means to raise a child?” says Lodder. “I had to pull from people who’ve had similar experiences, and I had to listen to what was on the page. It gave me such a deeper understanding of young people that have children, and people that have a baby in general… Shalom and I kept talking about how primal it became at some points,” he adds with a chuckle. “It was a roller coaster.”
Of course, acting is all about portraying experiences other than your own, no matter how far out of your comfort zone they may be. Fortunately for Lodder, performing is something that comes naturally. He can trace his love of embodying different characters back to childhood, when his parents would have to beg him to “wrap up Peter Pan for the day”. But the desire to dress up and put on a show didn’t disappear with age. Lodder joined acting school, landing his first role in the Netflix film Go Karts opposite Frances O’Connor and Richard Roxburgh in 2020.
“Acting was subconscious for me,” says Lodder from his home in Sydney. “I think a lot of people go, ‘there was this clicking moment where I just knew…’ but there wasn’t a day that I just decided to do acting.”
Despite his natural flair—this month, Lodder was named a 2023 Rising Star by the Casting Guid of Australia, an award that has a strong track record of identifying Australia’s next big film and TV exports—the actor says he didn’t necessarily come from a creative family. Yet his mum and dad have always supported him in his passion, and they continue to do so today. Even when, from a parents’ perspective, the scenes are more challenging to watch.
“When I had my first sex scene, we were at the premiere for it and my mum was in like the second row, in front of this huge screen. I forgot to tell her about the sex scene, and she wasn’t too impressed… it wigged her out a bit,” he remembers with a laugh. “So from now on she’s like: ‘if there’s a sex scene, or if you die, I’m not watching it’.”
But it took Lodder a great deal of self-belief and a strong support network to arrive at a place whereby he could film such challenging scenes; whether those scenes involve being a father, making love or, as the characters in Love Me do so deftly, exhibiting the full gamut of human emotions.
“I wouldn’t have gotten here mentally and emotionally without a lot of people. It’s taken a lot of people’s words of wisdom and love for me to be able to push myself, because I’ve always dealt with a lot of self doubt… that’s been a struggle starting out,” he openly acknowledges. “And I’m still trying to find my place in everything.”
Where Lodder plays a young father in Love Me, he also plays a son. Aaron’s dad, Glen, is played by Hugo Weaving—an icon of the screen whose acting credits range from The Matrix to V for Vendetta and the critically acclaimed Julia Garner-starring Aussie outback noir The Royal Hotel, which premiered in Australia last week.
“The thing with Hugo is: whoever he’s on screen with–even if the person has only just started acting—he’s so down to Earth and equal with whoever he works with,” says Lodder. “I mean, the man’s the G.O.A.T… When Hugo is on set I made sure I was prepared for absolutely anything, because he can throw anything [at you],” he grins.
In the show, Aaron and Glenn are on separate trajectories, they are also both navigating what it means to be a man today. “Those two characters are gently expressive in the way they do it. It’s not over the top—it’s very beautiful in the way they express themselves. A lot of the time they’re not even exchanging words.”
As we wrap up our chat, Lodder reflects on what he’s looking forward to—both personally and professionally. “I’m quite unsure of what next year has to bring, but I’m really keen and excited and ready to tackle it; keen to see what it can bring me…”
“I think I’m excited about the future in general.”