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Scott Speedman wows audiences in his latest drama, Adoration. But he almost didn’t get the part.

WHEN SCOTT SPEEDMAN’S beloved TV series Felicity wrapped in 2002, he could have cashed in on his heartthrob status and become the new go-to guy for big-budget, low-quality romantic-comedy fare. Instead, the 33-yearold Toronto, Canada, native has done just the opposite, intentionally playing it low-key, staying out of the tabloids and popping up only for the occasional movie role. Some of his films, such as Underworld and The Strangers, have been wildly successful; some, such as Weirdsville, have been just, well, weird.

This month, Speedman returns to the big screen in renowned director Atom Egoyan’s Adoration as an emotionally stunted, embattled tow-truck operator who takes in his nephew when his sister is killed.

You lobbied hard for this complex, nuanced role. How did you convince Egoyan that you were right for the part? There are a couple of people who I’d just die to work with, and Atom is one of them. When I read the script, it was written for an older guy in his 40s, but I thought, I can do a version of this, and I might be able to convince him if I can get in a room with him. So I flew myself up and met with him. He was like, “I like you, but you’re too young.” Then he just kind of snuck in an audition [for me]. I could tell he still wasn’t totally convinced. But he went back and started liking the idea that Tom was 21 when he became the father to the kid instead of 31, which I think is so much more dramatic.

The movie, which speaks to latent racial tensions, is relevant on so many levels in today’s society. What attracted you to it? You know what I like about it? It’s subtle; it’s not bashing you over the head with it. It’s not a message-y movie. Atom raises uncomfortable questions, and he deals with them very naturally.

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. That’s quite an honor. I was so, so happy with that. I had a blast. I didn’t see any other movies while I was there because I was doing press all day and hanging out all night. [Laughs] I didn’t sleep a whole lot.