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Scott Speedman: Risking It

( 02.18.02)

Scott Speedman, a soft-spoken, shy, long-haired young actor wearing jeans and jean jacket, entered the room and poured himself into a chair where he slouched, smiled and told us all about playing a gritty role as a rookie cop on a special squad of crime busters during the 1992 L.A. riots. Dark Blue is certainly a big departure from his role as love interest Ben for four years on the WB ďFelicityĒ t.v. series but the young actor sees it as part of his growth process. Scott was very candid about his career choices, loss of a promising swimming career due to a neck injury, and where heís going from here.

TeenHollywood: Where are you from?

Scott: I was born in England but grew up in Toronto.

TeenHollywod: How did you start in show biz?

Scott: I was a swimmer at a pretty high level, got injured and couldnít swim anymore and I was at a school for gifted athletes and artists. When I got injured I started hanging out with a lot of the actors, watching what they did. I auditioned for something and didnít get it but the person that I did it for liked me a lot and got me an agent. I started auditioning and getting work. Donít swim anymore. I hate it.

TeenHollywood: Do you prefer t.v. or films?

Scott: Movies are a little scarier. With t.v. you know youíve got a job next week. If you screw up an episode you can go do another episode. Itís a very comfortable work environment but you can also get complacent and lazy like going to the factory over and over again. Films are more intense and I kind of like that.

TeenHollywood: Most challenging scene for you in Dark Blue?

Scott: Thereís a bunch of challenging scenes but itís when I shoot the guy. Iím not that comfortable with guns in the first place and having to shoot somebody is a weird thing even though itís not real. It was an all night shoot and you just have to get up and believe the fiction that was going on. That was kind of challenging.

TeenHollywood: What was your take on LAPD prior to doing this film?

Scott: I was a little frightened. Itís a different kind of police force. You hear different things and obviously we heard about what happened down here (í92 riots). It got huge coverage in Toronto. I never wanted to get pulled over living in New York or L.A. I was just kind of scared of meeting the LAPD.

TeenHollywood: Did you talk to retired LAPD officer Bob Souza, the filmís consultant?

Scott: Yeah. I talked with him and I went and hung out with the robbery homicide guys and they let me talk to them much more than I thought they would considering what this movie is about. I think they were pretty cool, interesting guys. They just talked about their lives and the divorce rate is wild. They are just beaten down guys. They look like theyíve had a tough life. Not a life that Iíd want to be part of.

TeenHollywood: How was working with Kurt Russell?

Scott: You have to get over the fact that youíve been watching him since you were a kid in a bunch of movies. Then you have to go and act with him and kind of give that up. I thought he was pretty committed to what he was doing so it made it a lot easier.

TeenHollywood: Did he give you advice?

Scott: No. He was much cooler than that. He wasnít going to preach to me about Ďthis is the way itís done and thatís the way youíve got to do ití. He was more just a friend to me. Made me feel comfortable. Didnít make me feel like he knew what he was doing and I didnít.

TeenHollywood: How uncomfortable were the love scenes with Michael Michelle?

Scott: (Laughs). Itís funny. Theyíre not the most comfortable because you just kind of meet and say Ďhií and jump into bed and thereís fifty guys hanging around eating donuts and watching. I just tried to be as respectful as I could and as nice as I could but you just have to do it. Just have a giggle afterwards. There are worse things to do I guess. (grins).

TeenHollywood: Is she hotter than Felicity?

Scott: (laughs) No comment. Keri(Russell, the showís star) is my ex-girlfriend so Iím not gonna say nothing but Michael is definitely cool.

TeenHollywood: How about doing a Felicity spin-off?

Scott: Ben ainít getting a spin off. I miss it but it was four years in the same job.

TeenHollywood: Are you not doing any more t.v.?

Scott: If something great came along, Iíd do it but it would have to be pretty great at this point. Television would be great to do if you have a family and you want to be in one place. But, the last four jobs I did were in four different cities and that was exciting. Hungary was cool, a movie in Vancouver, Philly, but going where nobody speaks your language nor do they want to is great.

TeenHollywood: Tell us about whatís coming up for you. Did you shoot Dark Blue first?

Scott: I did this between season three and season four (of Felicity). Other things are My Life Without Me. There was one in the middle I donít want to talk about because it was the worst f***ing thing Iíve ever seen. Itís not going to come out so youíll never see it. Then I went to Hungary and did Underworld (with Kate Beckinsale) which was cool. Itís a fantasy movie and itís something that I wouldnít necessarily gravitate toward normally but I read it and it was kind of scary, supernatural stuff. I wanted to try it. A lot of green screen, make-up, running around getting shot at, a lot of wire work. I got to train for it and liked doing it. I donít ever know what I want to do until I read it and if it excites me or scares me, itís something I want to do.

TeenHollywood: Do you always know when something is going to turn out badly?

Scott: That film that Iím talking about had a good script, challenging characters but an extremely low budget. But the character was what I was excited about. The good stuff gets snatched up pretty quickly by people with higher profiles than mine. Iíve got to work to get it and take some risks.

TeenHollywood: What is your life is your anti-drug?

Scott: Basketball. It was something that I got addicted to. I never played growing up in Canada but got addicted to it playing when I got down here.

TeenHollywood: Do you play on a league with other actors?

Scott: Yeah, I do. Itís a pretty good league, some real good players. Iím not that good.

TeenHollywood: What kind of music are you into?

Scott: Iím into a lot of different music. I listen to soundtracks. I like the ďUnbreakableĒ soundtrack. I like ďLord of the RingsĒ.

TeenHollywood: Some people describe you as extremely shy. Is it difficult for you to have this ďteen pinupĒ label?

Scott: I never felt like that. Itís really not my life. I go out and donít get bothered (by fans). A lot of people like me who do WB shows and certain movies have it a lot worse than I do. It doesnít seem that bad. And yes, Iím shy but a lot of my favorite actors are shy so itís a challenge to get through it.

TeenHollywood: Who are some of the actors and actresses you look up to?

Scott: Gene Hackman, DeNiro. Iíd like to work with Meryl Streep or Cate Blanchette or Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman. There are tons of great actresses out there. I just did a film with Sarah Polley and she was very good.

TeenHollywood: Can you watch yourself on screen?

Scott: No. I never watched myself when I was on television. Itís something thatís hard to be objective about. Itís like listening to myself on one of those tape recorders but itís ten times worse because you have a visual image to go along with it. Itís out of your control anyway, whatever you do they can edit, they can change it, pick the takes they like. Thatís why a lot of actors become directors.

TeenHollywood: Who are you dying to work with?

Scott: A lot of people Iím dying to work with are kids my age who I donít know yet, the ones that are hungry but there are always the Soderberghs and the David Fanchers.

TeenHollywood: Kurt Russell was talking about the amazing presence and talent of some of the rappers who turn actors.

Scott: Theyíre natural performers a lot of them. They are in front of audiences a lot and they use their own words quite a bit. It lends itself to acting in general. Thatís why some stand-up comedians are very good actors. They know themselves so well and use their heart very well. Kurupt was very cool.

TeenHollywood: There are a lot of guys in this movie. Did you get that ďlocker roomĒ mentality on the set?

Scott: Yeah, a little bit. Thatís part of this movie. Itís not something that I gravitate towards but it helped a lot for this character.

TeenHollywood: What was director Ron Shelton like?

Scott: He was like an athletic director, a coach. He used sports analogies. He knows that world so well and I know it pretty well. So itís something we met on. So does Kurt.

TeenHollywood: Did the team swimming help you with acting?

Scott: Discipline. There are advantages and disadvantages to being an athlete and thatís the main one, a certain discipline and aggressiveness.

TeenHollywood: Dark Blue has some things to say about corruption and race relations etc. What would you like people to take away from the movie?

Scott: Thatís a tough question because I donít know how much has changed. I donít think the film has that many answers. I think itís just one manís journey to realize that his life isnít what he thought it was. Maybe people can check into whether or not theyíre doing the right thing in life. In terms of solving race relations in Los Angeles, I donít think the film offers any real answers.


TeenHollywood: Okay, letís lighten up. What would you want to do on an ideal date, hike, dance?....

Scott: I wouldnít go dancing. I just want to have dinner with somebody and talk to them.

TeenHollywood: Would you do an action movie?

Scott: If it was a good script with a good director and good people in it. But Iím not calling my agent and saying ĎGet me Die Hard Six or anythingí.





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