02.23.03 (The Calgary 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 recalls.
"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
"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
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."