J.J. Abrams is a busy man these days with a little movie that rhymes with Schmar Swars that opens later this year. But he made time to talk to EW about his first impressions when he, as co-creator and executive producer alongside writer-director Matt Reeves, cast Keri Russell, Scott Foley and Scott Speedman on Felicity:
On Keri Russell:
Keri was patently far too beautiful to play Felicity. This was supposed to be a wallflower girl with few friends and no boyfriend, essentially, ever. But Keri was so flabbergastingly funny and skilled that it somehow superseded her looks and made us believe this girl could be this way because SHE didn’t realize how pretty she was.
Foley was like a young Tom Hanks. Funny and likable beyond words. He was, in fact, originally cast as Ben. But then we couldn’t find anyone who was more charming than he was to play opposite him. We realized we needed someone who was also very handsome, but more brooding to play his romantic rival. So we had to make the half horrible call of firing an actor, but then immediately hiring him again to play a different part. Luckily, Scott went along with it like a champ.
On Scott Speedman:
Scott Speedman showed up from Canada with, literally, a shirt that was safety pinned together. The buttons were falling off, and it was held together with safety pins. This wasn’t just a shirt, it was a metaphor. Speedman was always a secret weapon. Incredibly handsome and thoughtful, and modest to an annoying point, he’s also remarkably funny. The only real critique I have of Scott was that he was so quiet. I’d watch the sound guys turning up the volume on their headphones just to hear one goddamn word he was saying. In one scene, in the first season, he spoke so quietly in a scene at the library, that we literally put subtitles on his performance. He started speaking up after that, for maybe three episodes. Then he went back to whisper acting. I think he’s the actor whisperer. I adore him.
To continue reading more from the cast reunions of Felicity, as well as those of Misery, The Rocky Horror Show, Family Ties, Bring It On, and Muriel’s Wedding, pick up the new issue celebrating Entertainment Weekly’s 25th anniversary, on newsstands Friday, or buy it here.