Family & Companions
Blessed with boyish good looks and an appealing screen presence, actor Scott Speedman rose to fame as a featured player opposite Keri Russell on the popular romantic-drama series "Felicity" (The WB, 1998-2002), on which he played the titular character's object of desire, Ben Covington. The overnight success of "Felicity" opened the door to feature film opportunities for Speedman, who made his feature debut opposite Maria Bello in the karaoke-themed comedy-drama "Duets" (2000), followed by a turn alongside Kurt Russell in the gritty cop-drama "Dark Blue" (2002). That same year, Speedman was featured prominently opposite Kate Beckinsale in the hit action-horror movie "Underworld" (2002), the first entry in a successful franchise. Other notable roles came in the action-adventure "xXx: State of the Union" (2005) and a reprisal of his character Michael, the werewolf-vampire hybrid, in the sequel "Underworld: Evolution" (2006). He scored another modest hit two years later with the grim thriller "The Strangers" (2008). Although he had established himself as a TV heartthrob, Speedman consistently sought out more nuanced roles, frequently in independent features, while he nurtured a career aimed more at longevity than marquee recognition.
Born Robert Scott Speedman on Sept. 1, 1975 in London, England to Scottish parents, Roy and Mary Speedman, the future actor moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada with his family at the age of four. Growing up in Toronto, Speedman attended the Earl Haig Secondary School and spent his free time training as a competitive swimmer. As a member of the Canadian Junior National Swim Team, Speedman placed ninth at the 1992 Olympic trials. Suffering an unfortunate neck injury soon after, he was forced to give up the sport. Intent on finding a new focus outside of athletics, Speedman became interested in acting. He went on to attend the University of Toronto for a year to study his craft. Encouraged by a friend to appear on "Speaker's Corner," a viewer open forum run by Toronto's City TV, Speedman professed interest in auditioning for the role of Robin in the film "Batman Forever" (1995), which was being cast in Toronto at the time. Though the appearance did earn him an audition for the role, Speedman was not cast in the role; it later went to Chris O'Donnell. The audition did give Speedman the exposure that he needed, however, and he quickly landed an agent and began auditioning for Canadian television and film roles.
Speedman's television debut came in 1995 on the Canadian series "Net Worth" (CBC). He was featured in the syndicated series "Nancy Drew" (1996), based on the popular young-adult detective novels and went on to appear in the sports-themed biopic "A Brother's Promise: The Dan Jansen Story" (CBS, 1996) and in the short film "Can I Get a Witness?" which screened at the 1996 Toronto Film Festival. Speedman went on to appear in smaller roles in the HBO thriller "Dead Silence" (1997), the CBS TV movie "What Ever Happened to Bobby Earl?" (1997), and NBC's suspense movie "Every Nine Seconds" (1997). That same year he starred in the Canadian independent feature "Kitchen Party" (1997). After burning out on smaller television roles, Speedman decided to go to New York to study his craft, studying for a short time at the Neighborhood Playhouse before dropping out and returning home to Toronto.
His big break came when he got a call from a casting agent in America that wanted him to audition for a new television series called "Felicity" (The WB, 1998-2002). Portraying brooding college student Ben Covington opposite overnight star Keri Russell as Felicity, Speedman received much acclaim on the popular series - a good amount of which came from young female viewers. Carrying their onscreen chemistry over in to real life, Speedman and Russell dated both on and off screen during the series' run. Providing Speedman with a solid platform from which to branch out from, he began to get offers for more prominent roles while working on the series. In 2000, Speedman landed the role of Billy Hannan opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in the film "Duets;" the role had originally been offered to Brad Pitt who exited the film after splitting from Paltrow.
After ending a four-year run on "Felicity," Speedman quickly found success on the big screen. He landed a role opposite Kurt Russell in the critically acclaimed cop drama "Dark Blue" (2003), portraying an inexperienced L.A.P.D. detective caught in a web of corruption. Next, Speedman portrayed the husband of a terminally ill woman opposite fellow Canadian and high school alum Sarah Polley in the independent drama "My Life without Me" (2003), Speedman won a Golden Wave award for his work on the film. Landing his first major starring role in a feature that same year, Speedman appeared opposite Kate Beckinsale in the supernatural thriller "Underworld" (2003). Making an impression on audiences in the stylized vampire-werewolf picture, Speedman was honored with the Cinescape Face of the Future Award. He went on to star alongside James Marsden in the thriller "The 24th Day" (2004) and opposite Ice Cube in "XXX: State of the Union" (2005). Upon the success of the first film, Speedman reprised his role as Michael Corvin in the 2006 sequel "Underworld: Evolution."
Taking a break from big-budget fare like the "Underworld" films, Speedman next appeared in a pair of independent efforts - the quirky, dark comedy "Weirdsville" (2007) and the grisly psychological thriller "Anamorph (2007), starring Willem Dafoe. Sticking with intense subject matter, he returned opposite co-star Liv Tyler in the home invasion film "The Strangers" (2008), in which they played a couple inexplicably targeted by a trio of masked teens intent on murder. Despite its grim subject matter, the movie proved a modest hit with audiences. The actor picked up a supporting role opposite Paul Giamatti in "Barney's Version" (2010), a comedy-drama in which a curmudgeonly writer (Giamatti) attempts to set the record straight about is colorful life and his implication in the mysterious death of his best friend (Speedman). That same year, Speedman was featured more prominently in the black comedy-thriller "Good Neighbors" (2010), co-starring Jay Baruchel. More work in smaller features followed prior to Speedman's supporting turn in the mainstream romantic drama "The Vow" (2012), featuring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams.
Cast (Feature Film)
Competed in the Olympic trials as part of the Canadian Junior National Swim Team
Featured in the syndicated detective series "Nancy Drew"
Made television debut on the Canadian series "Net Worth"
Appeared in the CBS biopic "A Brother's Promise: The Dan Jansen Story"
Made short film debut in "Can I Get a Witness"; screened at the Toronto Film Festival
Had a small role in the HBO thriller "Dead Silence"
Acted in Showtime's historical film "Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Couples"
Landed breakthrough role as Ben Covington, the title character's love interest on The WB drama series "Felicity"
Landed featured role opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in the film "Duets"
Played an inexperienced L.A.P.D. detective caught in a web of murder and corruption in "Dark Blue"
Starred opposite Kate Beckinsale in the supernatural thriller "Underworld"
Cast opposite Ice Cube in the high-octane sequel "XXX: State of the Union"
Teamed with Kate Beckinsale for the sequel "Underworld: Evolution"
Starred in the Allan Moyle directed "Weirdsville" with Taryn Manning and Wes Bentley
Co-starred with Liv Tyler in the horror thriller "The Strangers"
Featured in the drama "Barney's Version" alongside Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike and Dustin Hoffman
Cast opposite Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum in romantic drama "The Vow"
Returned to series TV as Officer Sam Kendal on submarine-set thriller "Last Resort" (ABC)