New U: 02.13.03
IA memorable part of Los Angeles
history will be revisited in movie theatres, on Feb. 21. ďDark
Blue,Ē a film starring Kurt Russell and Scott Speedman, is set in
the highly volatile and racially-charged time period of the Rodney
King trial and the L.A. riots of 1992. Focusing on the Los Angeles
Police Departmentís Special Investigations Squad, the film aims to
expose the felonious actions and abuse of power by cops who have
The New University sat down with the cast of the gritty cop drama at
St. Regis Hotel in Century City to talk about the film, family and
steamy love scenes.
A seasoned veteran of more than 40 films, Kurt Russell is an ageless
man in many ways. Comfortably attired in worn-in jeans and a green
dress-shirt, he shows he still has the touch with his most recent
film offering. Unabashedly candid, Russell touched on his new role
as the corrupt lieutenant-to-be Eldon Perry and being a father
figure to an actress on the cusp of stardom, stepdaughter Kate
Absent of the bravado of celebrity, Russellís right-hand man in
the film and former ďFelicityĒ actor Scott Speedman, shed any
misconceptions of ego he may have been associated with, with his
surprisingly shy demeanor. Behind unkempt blond hair and a nervous,
secretive smile, Speedman spoke about his new role as young SIS
Sergeant Bobby Keough.
Interview with Kurt Russell:
New University: Why didnít you want to be too politically
controversial while making this film?
Kurt Russell: Itís real easy to do a movie like this [with a
controversial backdrop] and make it political. The movie is about
the people in it, their lives and how they behave. This movie has a
backdrop to it [the Los Angeles riots], but the people you see in it
are easily a creation of that backdrop. They said the riots had been
coming for 20 years, and why? It is because of these people, and
what youíre seeing is their behavior today. They suffer the
consequences of their immediate actions.
New U.: What makes your character Eldon Perry different from other
Russell: Itís his point of view. We all look at the world through
our own eyes, and I donít know about you, but Iím always
surprised about what other people see.
New U.: You held out for a while on this project. What made you mesh
with Ron Shelton as a director?
Russell: I think that Ronny and I had a similar locker room
mentality that we felt was right for this project. I had worked on
this back and forth with some good people, and I never believed this
film would work on a motion picture level. But after I talked to
Ronny for half and hour about it, I believed it. In order to make
this film interesting, you had to answer the question, ĎWhat makes
Eldon Perry tick?í Without that, it just becomes an exposť about
doing bad things, and I didnít just want an exposť on the L.A.P.D.
New U.: Many actors frown upon working with musicians and rappers on
the big screen. What was your experience like working with Master P
Russell: These guys are without question, simply the best actors of
our time. Why they are like this, would be a great book to write.
What I think is that in their own eyes, theyíre underdogs and
theyíre free to fail. I donít know if itís right, but itís
just a theory. Theyíre smart and they have ability. Iím looking
at it from 42 years of acting experience. They just get it and know
it, and theyíre not afraid to be it. Now, Iíve never been a
method actor. The only way I know how to act is to feel. I
appreciate Kurupt and Master P because they feel it too. Kurupt is a
good kid. I really like him. And, we had some great talks. Master P
is a good guy. He can easily pick up his cell phone and talk to the
president of the United States.
New U.: Your family seems to remain closely-knit, especially because
it refuses to fall into the pitfalls of show business. Whatís your
secret to such a tight family?
Russell: First of all, our family is no different from anyone
elseís. We are like anyone else. We make terrific, horrible
mistakes. We disappoint each other. We scream and holler. We also
scream with laughter. I donít know what to say other than I think
we live a very normally dysfunctional life. I think to label our
family as anything other than just regular is wrong, and if you were
to do something wrong, itíd be magnified anyway. Iím not the
worldís greatest father, but I try to be a good one. Itís my
lifeís work, but Iím glad that Katie [Hudson] understands that
it is about the work. Itís not about the result of the work.
Oliver understands that, and Wyatt certainly understands that too.
Theyíre all in very different worlds, but theyíve gotten the
message that if you make it about the work, youíll never be
Interview with Scott Speedman:
New U.: What was the most challenging scene to shoot in this film?
Scott Speedman: The scene when I shoot a guy was challenging. It was
an all-night shoot. It was cold, and Iím not comfortable shooting
New U.: What did you do to prepare for the role of an L.A.P.D. cop?
Speedman: The L.A.P.D. is completely different from anything Iíve
seen. I got to hang out with L.A.P.D. robbery and homicide even more
than I thought, because of the movieís subject matter.
New U.: What was it like working with Kurt Russell? Did he take you
under his wing, like a lot of seasoned actors do?
Speedman: Working with Kurt was wild because I watched his movies
when I was little. And, he didnít take me under his wing. He was
much cooler than that. He didnít preach or mentor. We were
New U.: What do you want people to take away from this movie?
Speedman: This film is one manís journey. As far as taking
something away, people can use the film to see whatís wrong in
their own lives, but I donít think it can change race relations.
New U.: What was your on-screen love scene with actress Michael
Speedman: It was not the most comfortable thing to do. Meet someone,
take off your clothes and jump into bed. At the same time, 50 guys
[the crew] were around us eating donuts.
New U.: Was she more of a woman than ďFelicityísĒ Keri
Speedman: No comment! Keri is my ex.
New U.: Would you like to do more films, or go back to television,
and which is more challenging?
Speedman: Films are definitely more intense. In TV, you can shoot a
bad episode and then, make a good one a week later. Iím not
looking to do more TV. I enjoy traveling for my movies. Itís
New U.: How did you get your start in acting?
Speedman: I was a swimmer in Toronto, and went to a school for
gifted athletes, gifted students and gifted actors. I got injured
and started hanging out with the actors more. I started getting into
acting and going to auditions. I didnít get the first part I tried
out for, but after that, I got luckier.
New U.: Is there anything you learned as an athlete that would help
you in your acting career?
Speedman: The only thing is discipline. There is certain
aggressiveness and discipline to being an athlete, and this could be
useful in acting.
New U.: Youíve been described as shy. Since youíre also somewhat
of a teen poster boy, how has public life been like?
Speedman: I never felt like a teen pin-up. I go out, but donít get
New U.: Which actors have inspired you?
Speedman: Gene Hackman and Robert De Niro. They are introverts by
nature, but they are amazing performers.
New U.: What visions do you have for your career?
Speedman: I want to do good stuff. Some kids forget that you have to
keep developing as an actor, and keep taking challenging roles.