Scott Speedman: The Outsider on the Inside
He has had success on the small screen as Keri Russell's obsession in "Felicity," and it looks like he may score on the big screen, too, with the cop caper, Dark Blue. But Scott Speedman is refusing to go Hollywood. He doesn't even own a cell phone.
I find it peculiar that Scott Speedman doesn't own a cell phone. After all, he's a hot young actor who has just finished a run with a successful TV series and is looking to carve out a career for himself on the big screen. What if Steven Soderbergh calls?
"My agent has been trying to get me to buy one," admits Speedman, who rose to fame playing brooding Ben Covington on the WB drama "Felicity." "But I really don't want to."
"Is it a matter of principle?" I ask. "If you get a cell phone, then they win--you're a slave to Hollywood?"
"Maybe," the London-born, Toronto-raised actor replies between sips of beer on the patio of the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. "But also, I don't think I'd be good with a cell phone because I'd either lose it or it would make me nervous, knowing that someone can always reach me. I don't want to be found all the time."
Just because Speedman doesn't cut deals while swerving down Sunset Blvd. doesn't mean he thinks he's above it all. "It's not like I open my door and there are tons of scripts with offers attached," says the 27-year-old. "I have to go out and really fight for the good things."
Such was the case with Dark Blue, a crooked cop drama from director Ron Shelton. Set during the L.A. riots and based on a story by crime novelist James Ellroy, Dark Blue stars Kurt Russell as a hot-tempered detective whose years of double-dealing and corruption finally catch up with him while he's trying to solve a high-profile quadruple homicide. Speedman plays his partner, an eager-to-fit-in rookie.
DENNIS HENSLEY: You once said, "I think a lot of people come to L.A. because they're empty and they want fame because they think it will fill them up." Do you still think that's true?
SCOTT SPEEDMAN: Yeah. It's kind of gross because it's not gonna fill anybody up. My friends look at me and see that I'm just as insecure and neurotic as I was before I had any success. It's just acting. It's not gonna change nothing, man. If anything, it makes it worse.
Q: You've worked with many famous people already, like Gwyneth Paltrow on Duets. What was she like?
A: She knew it was my first movie and she was so cool to me. And she's so damn good. I can't tell you how nice it is to work with good actors. I don't do that a lot, so when I do, it's fun. Duets was a real family affair with her dad directing. It was nice to see a family that cared about each other. I was working in Hungary when I found out about his death. That was rough. He was so good to me.
Q: What about Kurt Russell, your Dark Blue costar?
A: He is a good human being. For being in this business as long as he has, he's got his head screwed on right. He was my favorite part about making that movie.
Q: And then there's Keri Russell, with whom you co-starred on "Felicity" and dated. Do you still talk to her?
A: She's in New York now. I haven't seen anyone since the end of the show because I've been away shooting movies.
Q: How did you feel about "Felicity" being canceled? Were you ready for it to be over?
A: I wouldn't have liked for it to go on and on, but I'll tell you, the last day on the set I was more emotional than I've ever been. That show totally changed my life and then all of a sudden it was over.
Q: Do "Felicity" fans ever approach you and say crazy things?
A: Yes. They tell me things like, "You have no idea what an asshole you are," and "I really like the other guy better--you're a dick." It was kind of cool in a way.
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