Speedman Handles Crush of Popularity (Mike McDaniel, The Houston Chronicle)


Ben to Felicity: Back off.

That, more or less, has been the plot line so far for the new WB
series Felicity. Ben, played by the rakish Scott Speedman, has been
getting the serious come-on from Felicity (Keri Russell), and has had
to tell her - more than once - to back off.

Felicity, you see, abandoned her (and her parents') Stanford
University plans to follow her heart (as in Ben) to a college in New
York City. (Quel gauche!)

Ben, on the other hand, left California for New York for a much
better reason: to get away from home.

"He's a guy who was the high school star - star athlete, star
this, star that," says Speedman, 23. "On the outside, it looks like
Ben is fine, but he's facing a lot of stuff going on inside.
Everybody has defined him as this kind of guy or that kind of guy,
when he's just . . . The pressure's too much; he doesn't know how
to deal with it.

"He's trying to grow, but he's running away, basically. He's
trying to get to a place where he can redefine himself. And what
happens is, this girl comes along and reminds him who he is, and she
won't let him get away with a lot of his old tricks."

He can barely get away, period, the way she obsesses on him. But
here, perhaps, is the prophecy on their future, which Speedman made
prior to the series debut: To heck with Felicity.

"His relationship with his father, that's the one I'm interested
in," said the dimpled-chin actor.

On Tuesday's episode, he was set to go home for the Thanksgiving
holidays, but his parents neglected to send him a plane ticket home.

"I like to bring a lot of family stuff into (his
characterization). That's something as an actor that I find really
interesting - where he comes from, stuff like that."

Hmm. Does this, perchance, mirror something from his own life?

"Let me put it this way: I have found a lot of stuff to act - a
lot of weapons to bring to this."

In real life, Mom's a runner, Dad's a former rugby player.
Speedman, born in London and raised since age 4 in Toronto, developed
some athletic skills of his own. He was a champion long-distance
swimmer until a nerve injury to the neck took him out of the sport.

On a dare, he went on a Toronto TV show and declared his interest
in playing the Boy Wonder in Batman Forever. Warner Bros. bit,
flying him to Hollywood. He didn't win the part, but the WB
remembered him when it was time to cast Felicity.

His reaction to fame: "It's intense. I talked to the Dawson's
(Creek) kids a little bit. They said, get ready. I feel a bit
lucky. I'm a little bit older than they are. I can't imagine going
through that at 18. I couldn't have done it when I was 18."


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