Lands Felicitous Role in Film
With the tough cop drama "Dark
Blue," which opens today, Scott Speedman isn't exactly
running away from "Felicity," the television series that
made his reputation.
But for the London-born, Toronto-raised, one-time Olympic hopeful,
playing the idealistic cop to Kurt Russell's burned-out detective
is only good.
"It's completely different from television or the type of
show I was doing," the 27-year-old Speedman said.
"On a television show you're in a studio every day and my
show was a very romantic show about college. 'Dark Blue' was shot
on the streets of Los Angeles and is about the Rodney King trial
and it's incredibly different.
"Although we didn't have a huge amount of money, the pace was
different. It wasn't sitting in a coffee shop talking to a girl
about college. It wasn't a world I knew, much less a world I want
to be a part of; being a cop isn't something I want to do. It
wasn't easy, but I liked the pressure of it."
Set in April 1992 in the Los Angeles Police Department, "Dark
Blue" unfolds days before the acquittal of four white
officers in the beating of black motorist King, a verdict that
prompted now-historic riots in Los Angeles. In this racially
charged climate, the film tells a story of the Los Angeles Police
Department's elite Special Investigations Squad, which is assigned
a high-profile quadruple homicide.
Russell stars as hot-tempered, quick-triggered, hard-drinking
veteran detective Eldon Perry. Speedman is SIS rookie Bobby
Keough who, much as Ethan Hawke's character discovered in
"Training Day," must choose to either follow his
mentor's way of intimidation and corruption or find a way to
maintain his values.
Befitting his hunk status, Speedman does get to indulge in
the film's only tender moments, in a wary but sexual relationship
with Michael Michele ("ER").
"Scott was respectful but was as uncomfortable as I
was," said Michele.
"He would look away and I'd look away . . . and (Ron Shelton)
being the smart director he is, seeing us really giddy, said,
'Let's allow the discomfort to show.' "
Speedman spends most of his time onscreen with Russell, a
veteran whose career dates to child stardom in the '60s.
"They didn't want the type of thing where it was just Kurt's
movie and they'd let this great actor walk over this younger guy,
so that whole thing was challenging for me," Speedman
He prepared for the role through research. "There are a lot
of tight lips about the division and what happened," he said.
"It's even hard to find a ton of books on Rodney King. I hung
out, spent time with cops, and there was an ex-cop who was our
adviser on the film and a huge help."
As for handling weapons, Speedman said, "I'm from
Canada, man. The arms didn't come easy. I'm not that comfortable
holding a gun. It took a bit of time to learn how to shoot
As a Toronto youth, Speedman was hoping for an Olympic
swimming career until, at 16, an injury forced him to reconsider
his life. "It was an overtraining injury and probably the
best thing that ever happened," he said.
While sidelined, Speedman entered a special Toronto school
for artists and athletes. "When I got injured, only then did
I meet the artists and watch one-act plays and dance shows,"
he said. "That's when I got interested in the arts. Sarah
Polley was there and we just did a movie together, 'My Life
Without Me.' "
Speedman recently returned from the Berlin Film Festival
where "My Life" had its world premiere. He also recently
finished filming "Underworld" with Kate Beckinsale in
Budapest. Speedman describes the film as "a war movie:
werewolves vs. vampires. I'm an ordinary guy, not a
Looking at his post-"Felicity" life, Speedman
sounds anything but blue. "I've tried to stay away from doing
crap and teen-angst movies," he said. "I know everyone
from television wants to be in the movies and all that but now
that I'm doing it, it doesn't seem so different. Maybe because I
never felt I was a 'TV actor.' I felt like these grittier stories
would be something I'd fall into."