|Scott Speedman (QMI Agency file photo)
LOS ANGELES -- There was just one reason Scott Speedman took a small role in the big screen romance, The Vow, opening across Canada on Friday (Feb. 10).
And her name is Rachel McAdams.
"I met her the day before we started shooting this," says the British-born, Toronto-raised actor. "A big reason why I wanted to do this was to get to work with her. I think she's one of our best. This is a not a lead, lead role or anything like that but when there's incredible people to work with you really want to jump at it."
Turns out both Canadian actors -- Speedman was actually born in London, England, but moved across the pond when he was four -- worked with the same acting teacher in Toronto, but at different times.
In The Vow, directed by Michael Suscy (Grey Gardens), McAdams plays a woman whose memory of her marriage to Channing Tatum's character has been completely erased by a brain injury suffered in a car accident. Speedman plays the good-looking if jerky lawyer who she was engaged to previously that she does remember.
"She can handle a lot of material," said Speedman of McAdams. "She's a very technically good actress. She's not one of these girls who you feel is going to be around for two years when she's 20 just 'cause she's at that moment where it's interesting to shoot (her). She's a very, very good actress. She's always present. She's just always somebody that's had that classical throwback vibe to her. It's a rarity now, actually, for her talent."
Speedman, 36, is still best known for American roles in the late '90s, set-in-college TV show, Felicity, and the big-screen 2003 supernatural thriller, Underworld, and its 2006 sequel.
So he hesitates before answering a decidely pointed question. Is it by design that he has appeared in so many Canadian productions?
"That's a tricky, tricky, tricky question," said Speedman, who lives in L.A.. "Is is by design? Not necessarily. But when Atom Egoyan calls (for 2008's Adoration), that's by design. That's what I want. I want to work with great directors. And you have your moments down here (in Hollywood) where you're required and people are seeking you and moments that they're not. And I wanted to go do some work with great people. I just jump at the chance if a good role comes along; it could be in Bulgaria."
His instincts appear sound given Speedman recently got a best actor 2012 Genie nod for his leading role in the Canadian feature, Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster, about the notorious Canadian bank robber of the '40s and '50s.
It will be released on April 27.
"I didn't know anything about him," said Speedman. "He was just this interesting guy who wanted to be an actor, actually. Just one day drank too much and went out and robbed a bank and he got addicted to the attention. He was a weird dude. And then he started slowly turning it into a more refined performance art, robbing these banks. He would do the patented leap over the counter, and sometimes he would dance on the counter, flirt with tellers and he became quite a sensation in Canada. It was a flashy, flashy, flashing, exciting part."
Still, he doesn't rule out a return to TV one day.
"Getting good movies off the ground is really, really a challenge," said Speedman. "(I) would definitely do TV, definitely, definitely. When I started out there was a clear division. There's no division (now) and a lot of the great writers are there and they're really flocking to it, and a lot of the great art is being done on television so it'd be silly to not to look at it."