Animal Kingdom‘s Scott Speedman is featured in the July 2017 issue of Prestige Hong Kong.
Once a competitive swimmer in real life, now an in-demand actor on TV and silver screen, Scott Speedman shares how natural athleticism – and some weird luck – have seen him evolve from teen heartthrob to a schizo surfer dude.
Born in England and raised in Canada, Speedman was well on his way to becoming an Olympic-level competitive swimmer when injury curtailed his aquatic career. Attending a special high school for athletes and artists in Toronto, he turned his attention to acting classes and a budding career in Canadian television.
Speedman’s big break came in 1998, when he aced an audition for American TV show Felicity, about the lives and loves of college students in New York City. With the series airing in more than 50 countries and regions the actor’s fictional Ben Covington became the heartthrob of female fans around the globe. Although it ran for only four seasons, Felicity jumpstarted Speedman’s career, as well as those of series star Keri Russell and writer-director JJ Abrams.
And on to Animal Kingdom. How does a kid born in London and raised in Toronto transform into a southern-Californian surf-dude gangster?
“I always feel that if such a character exists – in this case a surf-dude gangster – I can pull it off. I’m the guy for the job. But to be totally honest, I didn’t look at it how you’re describing it. I look at Baz as a dysfunctional, deeply flawed human caught up in a family dynamic more than an outlaw with a surfboard. Crime doesn’t really appeal to him, it just happens to be their family business. The fun part about being an actor is that you just show up and all of a sudden you’re holding a gun and running into a bank and you’re doing it, so I just kinda jumped into it. I knew when I read the character that Baz was definitely something I could take within an ensemble cast and really break it open.”
Tell me about growing up in London and Toronto.
“My whole family is Scottish – everyone was born in Scotland, everybody except me. My dad worked in London for Marks & Spencer, then we moved to Canada when he was opening up their Canadian stores.”
You do have a tendency to fly under the radar with the paparazzi.
“It’s partly where I live, partly I have never played into it. It’s an instinctual reaction. Some people see a press line and they get excited. It probably does the opposite for me, although I am getting more willing to do certain things. But no, it’s not something that I buy into. I don’t spend a lot of time in Hollywood. I don’t seek the paparazzi scene, I’m not on Instagram flaunting my selfies just yet, but we’ll see what happens. But that’s not my thing.”
Looking ahead, what’s down the road?
“Just movies. I’m not locked into anything yet, not that I know of, to be totally honest with you. Now more than ever, I just want to be making good movies.”
But as you said, Animal Kingdom could be a long ride.
“We’ll see, man We’ll see what happens. Who knows? That’s the cool thing with doing 10, 12, 13 episodes … you have time to do other things.”
Animal Kingdom airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on USA.
Photo Credit: Lionel Deluy / Styling: Warren Alfie Becker / Grooming: Kim Verbeck