02.23.03 (The Edmonton Sun)
Toronto actor Scott Speedman
is not worried he's still a small fish in the big Hollywood ocean.
Speedman, 27, knows how to swim.
"It was assumed I was going to be a jock. My parents are both
athletes. They met at a high school track meet in (their native)
Scotland," said Speedman, in a recent
interview. "I trained to be a competitive swimmer. I came
ninth in the Olympic trials in 1992," said the actor, who
stars as Kurt Russell's partner in the police drama Dark Blue,
which is now in theatres.
Speedman's parents moved to Toronto where his
father became a department store manager.
Because he was a gifted swimmer, Speedman was
enrolled in special schools for athletes and artists. He had to
abandon the sport when he injured his shoulder and neck.
"My parents and friends were surprised I wasn't as depressed
as people assumed I'd be that I had to give up swimming. I was
kind of happy to be a kid and attend a real high school and not
have to train 11 times a week."
Rejected by the jocks as a failure, Speedman
began to hang out with the actors in his school.
"That's where I met Sarah Polley. I didn't act in their
plays, but I hung out with them and attended all their shows and
even went to some auditions."
One of those auditions was for a role in the David Carradine TV
series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.
"I lied about everything," Speedman
"I told them I played basketball and that I'd done some
acting. It was only after I got the role that the director
discovered the truth. Lucky for me he just laughed."
More importantly, Speedman discovered he loved
acting and began pursuing it with the same vengeance he had once
he hit the water. He landed small roles in other films and TV
shows shooting in Toronto but his first major film role was in the
drama The Kitchen Party which was shot in Vancouver in 1996.
"(Director) Gary Burns didn't want me for the role. I kept
asking him to give me more auditions. I turned into a bit of a
stalker and he eventually gave me the role. It's still one of my
favourite roles and it was a great experience."
The year after Kitchen Party debuted, Speedman
nabbed the role of Ben Covington in Felicity, the WB series that
ran for four seasons.
"I've been offered several series since Felicity ended, but
I've turned them down because I want to do feature films and I'd
really like to go to New York and do some live theatre."
Dark Blue, based on a story by James Ellroy, was written for the
screen by David Ayer, who also wrote Training Day. It too is a
story of a rookie cop who learns his seasoned partner plays by the
most unorthodox rules.
"I grew up watching Kurt Russell so it was pretty cool
working with him, especially since he treated me more like an
equal than some new kid and he became a friend."
Because Dark Blue is about police corruption at the highest
levels, it was filmed without the co-operation of the LAPD. Still,
Speedman did get to hang out with Bob Sousa, a
former L.A. cop who acted as a consultant on the film.
"The most interesting places Bob took me to were cop bars. We
went right at noon during shift change. You get to see a lot of
interesting people. It really helped me understand my
Last year, Speedman filmed My Life Without Me
with his old friend Sarah Polley and recently completed the horror
film Underworld in Budapest with Kate Beckinsale.
When he's not filming, Speedman shares his time
between Toronto and L.A.
He still boasts his swimmer's body but explains, "that's from
playing basketball. I finally learned how and really took to the
"I'm in leagues in both L.A. and Toronto. I no longer swim. I
hate it because I suck at it now and that makes me depressed.
"The only time I like getting in water these days is if it's
in a hot tub."