||Felicitous Beginnings (The
Scott Speedman was a bit overwhelmed by the attention.
Felicity was by far the most talked-about new show in July at the
Television Critics Association fall preview tour. The paparazzi flashes
were blinding as the show's attractive young cast made their way along
the red carpet into the Warner Brothers launch party at the exclusive
Twin Palms (the Pasadena eatery that co-owner Kevin Costner was
apparently forced to give up as part of his divorce settlement).
It was a surreal scene to Speedman - a Toronto actor who has made the
leap from TV-movie bit parts and Canadian indie films (Kitchen Party) to
this juicy featured lead on Felicity.
"I mean, none of these people even knows who I am," he observed after.
"This kind of thing would never happen in Toronto. We have no star
system. Except for, like, 'Oh look, there's Al Waxman!' "
Flash ahead a couple of months, and Speedman is one of 300-plus guests
at the recent Toronto Film Festival's annual Canadian Film Centre
picnic. Here too, he is surrounded by photographers, well-wishers and
Felicity hasn't even aired yet, and already he's a star. Even here, in
And look, there's Al Waxman - and it really is, standing maybe 20 feet
Speedman looks sheepish. "God, I hope he doesn't see me," he says, now
somewhat regretting the earlier quote. "Although I've got to say, my
friends loved the line. Still, I know Al. I've met him a few times. You
don't think he'll be mad, do you?"
Probably not. Al's always been a big supporter of rising young
Canadian talent. And they don't rise any faster than Speedman.
It started with the most, shall we say, felicitous of circumstances. A
member of Canada's Junior National Swim Team, Speedman's athletic
aspirations ended with a neck injury in 1992. Ambiguous as to what to
what to do next, he was hanging around with a bunch of actor friends
when Warner Brothers blew through town a year later to hold cattle-call
auditions for Batman Forever's Boy Wonder.
"I was never all that interested in acting," Speedman confesses. "But
my friends kind of dared me into doing it. One day I just hopped out of
my car, went into Citytv's Speaker's Corner booth, and basically just
gave them my name and where I could be reached. And then I forgot all
Speedman never did get to wear the cape and rubber suit - as we now
know, the Robin role went to Chris O'Donnell. But he did get a call-back
from the Warners talent people - and, ultimately, an entree to an actual
Though it coincided with the film festival, the real reason for
Speedman's visit home this month was to see his ailing dad ("He's doing
good," he says. "I can't believe how well he's taking this. He's being
so incredibly brave."
Back in L.A., he's five episodes into Felicity, and thrilled with the
way things are working out.
"It's been great," he enthuses. "They're keeping all their promises.
They said this would be an ensemble cast, and not just a show that
revolved around this one character. And that's exactly what it's turning
out to be.
"I really wasn't interested in just being 'the boyfriend.' My
character's going to have a lot of stuff to work out, like his
relationship with his parents, and the ambiguity of his relationship
with Felicity - they're going to get close, then drift apart, then get
close again . . . it's going to be a lot of fun to play."
And the fame thing just gets stranger and stranger. The last thing he
expected to encounter in Toronto were mobs of adoring fans - weeks
before his new show even debuts.
"I really just expected to walk through here unnoticed," he marvelled.
"I don't know, I guess I'm still in some sort of denial. I mean, how do
you prepare for something like this? It's just too weird."