Scott Speedman on Barney's Version and Why He's Happy He Was Never Robin

scott_speedman_barneys500.jpgLet's just say that Scott Speedman could be described as a bit of a "free spirit." As the Canadian actor is describing his tendency to disappear for months at a time, the notion of him walking right out of the room -- never to be seen again -- seemed not only possible but also highly probable. Thankfully, that didn't happen, instead Speedman was free to discuss what he was apparently there to talk about: The American.

Or so it seemed after a while. In actuality, Scott Speedman is in Barney's Version. Spanning the course of four decades, the film follows Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti, in a Golden Globe-winning performance), a Canadian TV executive, serial husband and all-around misanthrope. Speedman plays Boogie, a periodically fun-loving, periodically infuriating, drug-addicted would-be writer who disappears under mysterious circumstances during a contentious weekend with his friend Barney. Movieline spoke to Speedman about the similar traits that both he and Boogie share, what the name of the film would be if he were in charge and the bullet he dodged called Batman & Robin.

Is it weird that, especially at the beginning of the film, that I'd really like to hang out with Barney and Boogie?

Yeah, yeah...

That is weird?

No. [Laughs] No... that's kind of what you want out of that. That was a really intense part of the movie to shoot, because it was the first thing we shot. And we were in Rome, and it was intense. I was really nervous about those scenes, man. It comes off well and Paul and I get along really well, so that kind of transfers to the film.

Why were you nervous?

Well, you know, it just sets up the movie in a way. It's the first thing we literally shot and chronologically it's kind of like shapes the movie. So, I don't know, the first two weeks on any movie for me are always a little tense.

I say that I'd like to hang out with Boogie, but in real life, after what happens to these guys, that would start wearing thin.

What, the constant drug use?

There's that. Forgetting to relay letters...

Yeah, but everybody's got one of those guys, though.

Do you have one of those guys?

I mean, I'm not just saying it, but I'm probably that guy to a lot of my friends in a certain kind of way. I know I am a little "living for the moment" -- a little crazy. A little, like, I'll disappear for months at a time. Yeah, I understand that.

When you disappear for months at a time, where do you go?

Well... [Laughs] I'm not like... I just mean that I sort of drop out of relationships, or I'll go wandering around. I don't know; I'm just not present with them the whole time.

So if we don't see you in a movie for a while, it's nothing to worry about? You've just disappeared and that's normal.

Yeah, absolutely. I'm not under a rock somewhere.

Which is a completely separate Oscar contending movie...

Yes! [laughs] Let's not talk about that one.

And this whole relationship between Boogie and Barney is just one aspect of the film. If someone approached you on the street and asked you to summarize this film, what do you even say?

It's not an easy one. That's why it's tough; these kinds of movies are tough marketing wise -- trying to get people to come. It really is. It's kind of an old-fashioned character study of this guy. A sort of light drama. It's about 30 years of this guy's life and his three marriages. It's funny; it plays really well with audiences. Once we get people in there, it plays well.

I would have never guessed an hour into this movie that, by the end, it would transform into a tearjerker.

Yeah, it starts off what, more comedic? Lighter?

Well, it more comes across as a story about this guy and his crazy life. Nothing but hijinks to begin. My point is, an hour in, you will never guess where this film is going.

[Laughing] Yeah, I don't know, for me, when I watch the movie, I was surprised... Not surprised, but I thought it was great how funny it was. Because when I was getting ready, I was in a different movie in a lot of ways. I was just in these intense scenes, in a way.

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