FELICITY'S SCOTT SPEEDMAN (BEN) STOLE KERI RUSSELL'S HEART. NOW HE'S GOT GWYNETH
PALTROW IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND--OR AT LEAST, IN HIS TAXI.
overwhelming at all," insists 24-year-old Scott Speedman, whose life took a dramatic
turn when he was cast as the brooding Ben Covington on The WB drama FELICITY. Maybe
that's because despite being labeled one of Hollywood's hot up-and-comers, the
Candian-bred Speedman (or Speedy, as he's called on the set) eschews the wild,
high-profile Los Angeles lifestyle. Though he and co-star Keri Russell (Felicity)
are reportedly dating, neither actor will discuss the romance. And you won't find
them out on the town. "Big parties make me laugh because my life is really not
like that," shrugs Speedman. "It's not crazy. I don't get followed
around. It's really quite simple."
A disdain for the limelight isn't the only characteristic Speedman shares with Ben.
Both swam competitively in high school, and both found themselves unable to
continue once they graduated. (Speedman suffered an injury that forced him to stop,
and this season on the show, the university dissolved the swim team.) But while
Ben's character only contemplated dropping out of college, Speedman followed through to
pursue acting full-time after a girlfriend's dare landing him on SPEAKING CORNERS (sic), a
Toronto television show where viewers are allowed to speak their mind. On the show,
he said he wanted to play Robin, the Boy Wonder, in Batman Forever, which was
casting in town. Within two weeks, he got a call from Warner Bros. asking him to
audition. Chris O'Donnell won the role,but Speedman got an agent from the experience.
A slew of kinda cheesy roles followed (like playing Nancy Drew's boyfriend on a French
Canadian series), then Speedman submitted a videotape to play Ben. Three days later,
he was on the set.
"We have crazy fun," laughs castmate Greg Grunberg (Sean). "We just
goof off all the time. And we'll improvise. He doesn't know what I'm going to
do; I don't know what he's going to do. At the end of the scene, we'll try to one-up
the other to try to throw each other off. It keeps it fresh."
"He's always running around on the set," laughs series Creator/Executive
Producer J.J. Abrams. "You call, 'Action!' and he's never there. You have to
yell, 'Speedy! Speedy!' and he runs over. He's always running."
Speedman may be running from hordes of new fans later this year when the movie Duets--costarring
Gwyneth Paltrow--opens. "It's essentially a road movie about three different
duets--three different couples--and these karaoke clubs around the country," explains
the actor, who plays a taxi driver.
While Speedman admits to being "pretty nervous" about filming the high-profile
project, he was too busy to let it consume him. "I was busy doing FELICITY at
the same time," he explains. "So I didn't have a lot of time to think
about it. I just went and did it. And everyone was really accepting of
As for working with Oscar-winner Paltrow, he has nothing but glowing reviews.
"She was great," he gushes. "She really is a good actress.
The first time I worked with her, I could tell she was right there moment to
moment, and I really liked that."
FELICITY's growing on him, too. "We started kind of slow," he admits.
"We had some good ideas, but didn't commit to them. But the last couple
of episodes have been really good!"
Video Star (side-bar)
The producers of FELICITY were down to the wire, and they still hadn't found
their Ben. Out of the blue, a videotape arrived from Scott Speedman. "We
had never met him," recalls series Creator/Executive Producer J.J. Abrams.
"We had started shooting on a Friday, and he came to L.A. on that Friday.
We actually met him after we started shooting." In fact, the character
didn't even have a name until the following Monday! "It was initially
Billy," explains Abrams. "But ALLY McBEAL already had a Billy, and because
our show was similar we thought, 'Oh, God!' So on the set everyone was throwing out names.
Someone said Ben. So we went with Ben."