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Scott Speedman Talks About "Underworld"


Underworld movie Scott Speedman

Scott Speedman stars as Dr. Michael Corvin in "Underworld."

Screen Gems
Scott Speedman got his start in films with the short feature, “Can I Get a Witness,” which screened at the 1996 Toronto International Film Festival. Born in London but raised in Toronto, Speedman came to the attention of American audiences with his role as Ben in the TV series “Felicity,” opposite Keri Russell.

“Underworld” director Len Wiseman had seen Speedman on “Felicity,” but says that’s not what sold him on Scott, instead it was his attitude toward the project. “Scott takes everything in this film seriously and wants it to be as real as possible,” commented Wiseman.

As the young doctor Michael Corvin, Speedman’s hunted down by a clan of werewolves. This hunt attracts the attention of the vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale) who comes to Dr. Corvin’s aid while trying to discover just what it is about Corvin that makes him a target of the werewolves.

While his medical research was done on his own time at a hospital in Budapest, the filmmakers did put Speedman through training courses to get him prepared for the action sequences. “I fight like a girl so I had to. It was fun. I was really cranked to do that stuff, more the wire training than the hitting people. That was really fun to get pulled up in the air and pretend you know what you’re doing,” joked Speedman, adding, “I wasn’t so bad. I’ve got some scars on my back from being dragged along. There was a nail on the ground once and they were pulling me on wires. The stunt guys are so macho that I went and showed it to them and they’re like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ You don’t get any sympathy.”

Kate Beckinsale’s character is proficient with weapons so the actress underwent special training with guns. Scott’s character doesn’t need to have that prowess so his personal lack of gun knowledge worked in his favor. Speedman explained, “I get to carry a gun once in the movie and I didn’t know what I was doing, and that was appropriate. I’m the ‘girlfriend’. Every time I’ve got this shocked look on my face and she throws me to the ground. I’m screaming in terror. When I was watching it I was like, ‘Wow, how weird.’ I’m fine with it. I’m glad I didn’t have to know what I was doing with guns. That was easy for me.”

Perhaps the hardest thing for Speedman to do was to sit through five hours of ‘werewolf’ make-up. “That was a challenge. It was cool though. They were worried because I’m kind of hyper. Everyone was worried I was going to go nuts and freak out in the chair. I got to control the music; I drank a lot of coffee. Watching these guys work, they were talking about me when I was sitting right there like I’m a piece of art - molding me and stuff. These guys are really artistic with it. If you move, they get kind of nervous. I was pretty fascinated watching [the make-up artists]. It was really fun because you know I spent a lot of time on television doing stuff like that so it was fun to go into another thing where it wasn’t about this mask [pointing to his face].”

Speedman enjoyed his time on the set so much he’d sign up again, if the material was right. “Probably the most difficult things were my favorite parts. The make-up and the big fight sequence at the end of the movie were very difficult but really fun and challenging. That’s why I wanted to do it. I’ve never done anything like this and I didn’t think I would, unless it was good,” explained Speedman. “It took me a long time to rest and get over it. It’s grueling and I kind of get obsessive about things so I worked really hard and did as good a job as I could. I would if it was right, I’d do it in a second.”

Kate Beckinsale / Director Len Wiseman

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