If you wish to go to the current Fangoria site, you may click the top logo, "Home" or "News" links. Or click here.
Out this week on DVD and Blu-ray from Magnolia
Entertainment, writer/director Jacob Tierney’s black-humored thriller GOOD
NEIGHBORS is a serial-killer movie with a difference—for one thing, the
murderer and his crimes aren’t the focal point. Instead, it centers on three
characters living in a Montreal apartment building in the midst of the murder
spree, one of them a wheelchair-bound man named Spencer, played by Scott
As the body count mounts in the city outside, new arrival
Victor (Jay Baruchel; see interview here)
gets to know fellow tenants Spencer and waitress Louise (Emily Hampshire)—and
the more we get to know them, and the plot takes a number of odd psychological
turns, we start to wonder: Could one of them be involved in the bloody crimes?
Fango spoke to Speedman, known to fright fans for his roles in THE STRANGERS
and the first two UNDERWORLD films, about his GOOD NEIGHBORS turn, and touched
on his part in Mary Harron’s THE MOTH DIARIES (which just premiered at the
Toronto International Film Festival) as well.
FANGORIA: How did you first hook up with director Jacob
SCOTT SPEEDMAN: Well, we’ve known each other socially for a
while, and through another movie we were going to do but never came to be, I
developed a definite kinship with him. And he actually wrote GOOD NEIGHBORS
with all three of us in mind, so he pitched it to me and I read it and pretty
much immediately wanted to do it.
FANG: Were you involved in the development of the script at
SPEEDMAN: No, not at all. He just sent it to me, and I
wanted to do it.
FANG: Did you happen to read the novel, CHÈRE VOISINE by
Chrystine Brouillet, that it was based on?
SPEEDMAN: No, actually. It was written in French and they
were having trouble getting an English translation, so I just sort of let that
go, and I felt that the script stood on its own. I think the character is quite
different than he was in the book, and I had a feel for it and just went with
FANG: Your character has a lot of different levels to play
and secrets to conceal. Was that a particular challenge?
SPEEDMAN: You know, it’s funny. I thought this role was so
tightly written, and so well-written in that way, that that wasn’t difficult.
The nuance and the mystery weren’t a particular challenge. The biggest
challenge was just the physicality, sitting still in the wheelchair, more than
anything. I’m sort of a pacer and a mover and I don’t stay in one place for
very long, so that was tough.
FANG: Spencer first comes across as kind of a friendly guy,
but then there are levels of first sarcasm and then danger to him.
SPEEDMAN: Yeah, that was a fun part for sure, just getting
those levels of menace in there. Being able to play with that freely was
something that I hadn’t ever done, really, in my career, so that was great to
be able to do.
FANG: This is the first role of this type that you’ve done,
if I’m not mistaken.
SPEEDMAN: Yeah, pretty much. It was an interesting turn for
me. That’s what’s cool about Jacob writing for me: He didn’t write something
typical for me, he wrote something that would stretch me a bit, and he saw something
in me that would be interesting to explore.
FANG: Had you always wanted to play a not-so-nice guy, or
had you pursued roles like that before?
SPEEDMAN: I want to do everything; there’s nothing I don’t
want to do, it’s just a matter of whether it’s good or not. I just gravitate
toward things that turn me on at the time. I have reasonably specific tastes;
if it’s well-crafted and well-written and the dialogue makes sense, and it’s a
director I want to work with, that’s what I really want to go for, for sure.
FANG: Was it difficult finding the right balance, where
Spencer says these kind of sarcastic, sometimes even hurtful things, and yet
make him still kind of likable or engaging?
SPEEDMAN: I wasn’t trying to make him likable, to be honest.
That’s something that’s just either there or it’s not, and it’s something for
the director to monitor. You kind of throw it out there and you do different
takes, and it’s up to him to craft it and put it together. I wasn’t that
concerned with being likable, I was just concerned with having fun with the
character and getting the relationships down.
FANG: Did you do any kind of practice working in the
SPEEDMAN: Oh yeah, absolutely. I got one at my house and did
a bunch of stuff with it, and got comfortable with it. It was interesting to be
able to do that, and very challenging.
FANG: How was it working with your Jay and Emily?
SPEEDMAN: It was fun. We absolutely had a blast. I knew
Emily a little bit before, and I didn’t know Jay all that well, but both were
extremely fun to work with. They’re really good and very generous actors.
FANG: What was the Montreal filming experience like?
SPEEDMAN: Montreal is an incredible city, so it doesn’t take
much for me to want to go there, socially or otherwise. So to get to hang out
there for a couple of months was great. It’s a luxury to be able to shoot
there. It’s cold, but it’s a great, great place.
FANG: Are you a fan of horror films or thrillers?
SPEEDMAN: Yeah, I am. The ones that I enjoy are the stark,
throwback movies that are based in realism. I don’t care for a lot of the—and I
hate this term—torture-porn stuff, or whatever you want to call it. It’s not my
thing. I like the old style; movies like HALLOWEEN are the kind that I love
FANG: What’s interesting about GOOD NEIGHBORS is that it’s
a serial-killer film where you almost never actually see the serial
SPEEDMAN: Yeah, but I wouldn’t call it a serial-killer
movie. It’s a stretch to call it a thriller, though it has those elements. I
think the more accurate description is sort of a fun, dark comedy that’s meant
to be watched and enjoyed, rather than be terrified by.
FANG: One of your best-known past genre credits is THE
STRANGERS, another movie that’s largely set in pretty limited interiors.
SPEEDMAN: I love that—I like that starkness. That’s the kind
of thing I enjoy in thriller/horror movies. That was a great experience. Bryan
Bertino is a wonderful filmmaker in that genre. He really has a handle on what
truly frightens people, so there’s a great sense of tone in that film. That was
a fun one to make.
FANG: You and Liv Tyler have great chemistry in that movie.
SPEEDMAN: Oh, yeah; it’s not hard to have chemistry with
her. She’s a great actress.
FANG: You worked with another strong actress, Kate
Beckinsale, in the UNDERWORLD films.
SPEEDMAN: She’s great, and remains a good friend as well. It
was such a fun experience; I was so lucky to be able to do that movie and then
get to do the sequel.
FANG: Did they talk to you at all about coming back for next
year’s UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING?
SPEEDMAN: Yeah, there was talk. I think it’s just something
that they went off and did, and [his character] was not a central component of
the film. Actually, I haven’t read it, so I don’t really know what it is, but
I’m interested to see what it turns out to be.
FANG: When you did the first UNDERWORLD, was that a first
for you in terms of taking part in a big special-FX/action film?
SPEEDMAN: Yeah, I hadn’t done anything like that; I had just
come off of television shows. It was my first foray into that world. There was
a learning curve, for sure. It was kind of a kid-in-a-candy-store kind of
thing; I got to work with the stunt guys, and that was super-fun. The other
aspects were slightly more difficult: the greenscreen, the special effects and
all the makeup were slightly more challenging, but I really got into it. I’m a
squirmy guy, and I think the makeup people were terrified at first—that I
wasn’t going to be able to handle the six hours or whatever it took to do that
makeup. But I loved the whole process of it.
FANG: Did sitting still for that makeup help prepare you for
sitting still in the wheelchair in GOOD NEIGHBORS?
SPEEDMAN: I never thought about that, but I’m sure it was
FANG: Are there any other horror or thriller projects on
your radar right now?
SPEEDMAN: I have THE MOTH DIARIES, by Mary Harron, who did
AMERICAN PSYCHO, among other things. It’s set at a girls’ private school in
northern Massachusetts, and I play an English teacher who has a specific
relationship with one of the students. Mary was amazing; I love her movies, and
it was a blast. We shot that in Montreal as well. It was my third movie in a
row there, after BARNEY’S VERSION and GOOD NEIGHBORS.
FANG: AMERICAN PSYCHO has the same tone as some of GOOD
NEIGHBORS, actually; is there a similar feel to MOTH DIARIES?
SPEEDMAN: No, it’s a very different movie. I haven’t seen
the finished product yet, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens with that.
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY AND BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT NEWS, CONTESTS, EVENTS AND MORE!
All contents © 2011 Fangoria Entertainment