A Quick Study (Tyler McLeod, Calgary Sun)
Scott Speedman plays a university freshman on the new series
Felicity. He's experienced at any rate, having attempted post- secondary education
"I've never really been a great student, man. I can work hard, but it never
really ..." admits the Toronto native.
"I left U of T -- it was like oil and water. Then I went to school in New York
and I dropped out. I don't like being a student but I can play one on TV."
And the third time wasn't a charm. In order to utilize immigration laws, Speedman
enrolled in another school when shooting of Felicity began in L.A.
"I got kicked out of school here. Yeah, that's third reason I shouldn't go back
to school. So I think I'm done with school for now."
Well, not quite, Scott. The bell rings every Sunday night at 7 p.m. on DE.
Last Sunday we met Felicity Porter, who decides, on graduation day, to not attend
Stanford medical school after all, and instead follow her high- school crush across the
continent to NYU.
Speedman plays Ben, the crush. Now he must face the fact female viewers, especially
of the early teen variety, will develop crushes on him as well.
"I saw this picture of me in a teen magazine -- it was a horrible picture and
horrible magazine," Speedman laments, qualifying there are some teen publications of
"Seventeen's not so bad, but this was crappy. I called my publicist and I was
asking, you know, is there anything I can do to stop this? I guess there's really not.
I'll get used to it, I guess."
The 23-year-old reluctant heartthrob had better. Felicity has drawn more U.S.
viewers than Dawson's Creek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Clueless. Good news for the
fledgling Warner Brothers network which labelled the show a hit.
"Can you imagine if, like, it sucked and nobody watched it? I was totally
freaked," he laughs.
"I worried we'd get the numbers back and, like, 20 people in Iowa watched it.
I'm scared by the ratings things."
Demographics and publicists and over-night numbers are all new for the actor whose
previous credits consisted of independent Canadian films before landing the big time U.S.
"The network is interesting. I just think they're funny most of time."
It's along way from, say, Kitchen Party. Speedman stars in the teen melodrama now
playing at the Globe cinema.
He plays the neurotic host in the film written and directed by Calgarian Gary Burns.
"That's the one I'm really proud of. I think it's a really good movie and it's
so fun to watch," Speedman says.
He says he never imagined doing indie films in Canada would lead him down this path.
But then again, he never imagined being an actor.
One day, Speedman took a dare from friends and put a dollar in MuchMusic's Speaker's
Casting agents were in town looking for someone to play the role of Robin in the
Batman films. Speedman dropped a loonie and told the camera the job was his. Chris
O'Donnell got the part, of course, but Speedman still got noticed.
"To be honest, I don't know what I was thinking when I did that. I was going to
a high school with a big drama program, but I was in the jock program. I was
swimmer," he relates.
Speedman is grateful his character on Felicity is more than a cute jock. Set
decoration, if you will.
"We get more into his life in later episodes so he becomes more of a character
you can identify with."
In fact, Speedman says he avoided playing the jock when auditioning for the role.
"I think they had trouble filling it. I think most actors fell into the trap of
playing him as the tough guy, not being a real guy with heart.
"That's what I did want to show."