After nearly a decade’s absence from the small screen, Scott Speedman returns to TV as a nuclear sub crewman gone rogue in the intense new ABC drama “Last Resort.”
Best known to the ladies as dreamy Ben Covington from “Felicity,” Speedman costars opposite powerhouse Andre Braugher (“Men of a Certain Age,” “Homicide: Life on the Streets”) and Robert Patrick (“The Unit,” “The Terminator”) in the military thriller.
The action-packed pilot opens with this: A mysterious order comes across on an emergency-only channel directing the USS Colorado to fire nuclear weapons at a foreign country. When Captain Marcus Chaplin’s (Braugher) demands for confirmation go ignored, he’s abruptly relieved of his duties, and Speedman’s XO Sam Kendal is suddenly put in charge — and forced to make the same difficult decision. To fire or not to fire? The lives of hundreds of thousands of people are at stake — as well as the crews’ — leaving them to their “Last Resort.”
What about “Last Resort” appealed to you as an actor?
“As a whole, it worked really well as a script, which is where I start from. Am I interested in this as a viewer and as a reader? And the answer was ‘yes’ to this,” Speedman says. “With Shawn Ryan [creator of "The Shield"] at the helm of it… And then getting Andre Braugher was the last nail in the coffin.”
Watch the Full Pilot Episode of “Last Resort” Before It Premieres on TV:
For his loyal “Felicity” fans, the appeal is not just the return of Speedman but … the return of Speedman as a man in uniform:
“[This role] is very different,” he laughs. “If people are looking at me as that character [Ben] on this show, they’re going to be disappointed a bit.”
Your character is rather heroic, so they shouldn’t be too disappointed with this determined man on a mission.
“My mission is to get home. I was on my way home when this whole drama erupts,” Speedman explains of his character’s motives and his choice. “It may have been the hardest decision he ever made, but he thinks it was the right thing to do.”
This is an action-oriented pilot. Was it physically demanding to shoot?
“I find that it always is, no matter what I’m doing. It’s a lot of stress… A lot of ups and downs adrenaline-wise. I find it exhausting. I think it’s good to stay in shape, because I find filming to be quite an athletic endeavor no matter what the project.”
After a long stretch of film work, including this year’s “The Vow,” “Underworld,” and “The Strangers,” did you have any trepidation about returning to a television series?
“Every job I’m like that about. Every job I try to get out of,” he jokes, “you know what I mean? But, it was a show and a role that I wanted to do. I looked at some other shows last year but I wasn’t ready to do them. But they were very different than this. This show feels very worldly.”
Is filming in Hawaii as glamorous as it sounds?
“Hawaii is an interesting place, I like being there, but it’s definitely something to get used to.”
Luckily, Speedman says he does not have claustrophobia, but did the cast get to film the pilot on a real sub?
“No, they don’t let guys like me on subs. Especially not nuclear subs.”
“Last Resort” debuts Thursday, Sept. 27 at 8/9c on ABC.
Watch an Exclusive Preview of “Last Resort” on ABC: