Scott Speedman discusses his character Boogie in Barney's Version, working with Paul Giamatti, future projects, and more.
Scott Speedman was first introduced to American TV audiences with his role as Ben Covington on the hit TV series Felicity. He transitioned easily into film with roles in the highly underrated cop drama Dark Blue, the hit vampire adventure Underworld, and The Strangers. His latest movie is Barney's Version, which was released in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack on June 28. I recently had the chance to speak with this talented actor over the phone. Here's what he had to say.
I was curious what are the first thoughts that go through your mind when you read for a character named Boogie?
Scott Speedman: (Laughs) Well, yeah, it sounds like a very fun part, right off the bat. I auditioned for that part specifically and I thought it would be a great part, just based on the name. I was very curious, to say the least.
There is such a wonderful cast here. Can you talk about your experience on the set and maybe some of the things you learned from these amazing actors?
Scott Speedman: The whole thing was really incredible. The first things we shot were in Italy. We all got over there and hung out a bunch. It was a really good experience to get there with Paul (Giamatti) and get that relationship down. It was something I was pretty nervous and excited about, getting to work with him. It was really nice to get there early and walk around with him. We did a movie a long time ago, but we didn't really have any scenes together. He's one of my favorite actors, though. He's great. I was very pumped to get to work with him.
Have you shot in Italy before? Can you talk about your experience over there?
Scott Speedman: No, not at all. Yeah, it was incredible. It's not every day you get to go to Rome and shoot a movie. It was very exciting and it's such a great city. All you have to do is set up the camera and the city does the rest for you. It was so incredible to be there.
Did you get into the original book by Mordecai Richler at all?
Scott Speedman: I did a bit. I thought, in some ways, we were making a bit of a different thing, with the characters going in different ways. I had auditioned for the role without reading the book, so I was getting a bit heady about it and decided to just let it go. I just concentrated on what I knew about the character.
I hear a lot of different approaches from actors, especially with adaptations or remakes. Some people don't like to watch the original movie or read the book, and some do.
Scott Speedman: Right. This was my first time working with a respected book and a popular book. There was just something about this world that I decided to just go with my instincts.
Can you talk about working with your director, Richard J. Lewis?
Scott Speedman: Oh, man. That guy works so hard. He's an extremely hard worker and very passionate. This is one of the first movies I've done where we've had serious rehearsals on, which is really helpful and beneficial when shooting the movie. Yeah, he was great and super-passionate. He really pushed me, specifically, to find the character, which was great in the end.
How much time were you given for rehearsal? Was the shooting schedule fairly tight?
Scott Speedman: It was pretty intense. In Italy, it was very intense. It was a bit of a run-around, getting all of that together. There was also a language difference to deal with, so it was pretty intense.
You've done quite a wide variety of movies throughout many genres. Do you look more at the overall story or the character, when choosing your roles?
Scott Speedman: For me, right now, it's really about finding a character that jumps off the page, that I have a kinship with right away when I read it. Story is obviously very important, and I don't want to neglect that, but if the character is exciting to me, if it's something I haven't done, and it kind of scares me, that's what I look for.
Is there maybe a scene or a moment on the set that will always stick with you when you look back on Barney's Version?
Scott Speedman: Those things are always tough to pick out just one thing. I think just hanging with Paul was a great thing for me, as an actor, just getting to be around him. Just watching him and getting to learn from him through osmosis was the most exciting thing for me. I don't have any great stories for you. It was a blast. He was a very funny and cool guy.
I see you have a few projects in the works right now. Is there anything you can say about any of these new movies?
Scott Speedman: I've been working on a bunch of stuff. I've done four movies in the last year and a half. Good Neighbours is coming out and I have The Vow coming out next year with Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams. I've got something with Mary Harron called The Moth Diaries. She's a great director.
Can you talk about your character in The Vow at all?
Scott Speedman: My character in The Vow is I'm Rachel McAdams' ex-fiancee. She loses her memory in the movie and she can't remember her current husband, Channing Tatum, but she remembers me, so she goes back to her old life and we kind of spark things up a little bit. It's a good character, a bit different than the stuff I've usually done, which was interesting for me to do. It was great to work with all those people.
Do you ever have any aspirations to go behind the camera?
Scott Speedman: Yeah, some day. I'd like to get more of this stuff under my belt. I still don't quite know what I'm doing here, so I'd like to figure all that out before I jump over there. I would like to, though, for sure.
What would you like to say to those who might be curious about Barney's Version, who didn't get to see it in theaters, about why they should grab the Blu-ray/DVD?
Scott Speedman: Well, you have a leading role from one of our best actors, and that's not something you see every day. It's a lot funnier than I think a lot of people think it is, but it's a great drama too. I just think it's a movie that we don't get too see all that often, so it's special that way.
Excellent. Well, that's my time. Thanks for talking to me, Scott.
Scott Speedman: All right, man. Thanks for the interview.
You can watch Scott Speedman as Boogie in the new dramatic comedy Barney's Version, which is currently available on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack.
Barney's Version was released January 14th, 2011 and stars Paul Giamatti, Macha Grenon, Paul Gross, Atom Egoyan, Mark Camacho, David Pryde, Paula Jean Hixson, Mark Addy. The film is directed by Richard J. Lewis.