Animal Kingdom’s Scott Speedman

After going back down the Felicity rabbit hole, we are more than a little bit excited about Scott Speedman’s return to television. He’ll be starring in Animal Kingdom, a crime drama which is set to premiere tonight on TNT. The show centers around a teenage boy who moves in with relatives after his mother dies of a heroin overdose.

We caught up with Speedman recently to discuss the new series and what it’s like to work with Ellen Barkin. The actor also shared his perfect date scenario, his affinity for tequila, and how he only decided he liked sushi because he was trying to impress a girl—oh, young love! Read through below and don’t forget to tune into TNT tonight to see Speedman in action.

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day? 

My ideal food day would be very light breakfast, as well as a light lunch. Then for dinner, ideally I’d like to sit at a bar (someplace with a good atmosphere) drinking tequila and eating really good food. Nothing fancy, just a comfortable place.

Did you do anything to prepare for your role on Animal Kingdom workout and diet wise? What was it? 

I did! I worked out a lot. I wanted to be in good shape since I knew it would be a physical show. I have a gym in my backyard that I would use on a daily basis, and I ate well, generally cutting back on sugar or anything like that. I just tried to keep a very balanced diet and exercised frequently.

We’re big Ellen Barkin fans! What was the best experience you two had working together on set? 

I really enjoy working with her in general. It’s exciting when we have big, intense scenes together to just know she will always elevate the moment and bring her own thing to the scene. She’s just such a great actress – it’s hard not to have good experience when working opposite her.

As this show is about a big crime family, was there anything you personally could relate to? What were your favorite crime family movies growing up? 

I can definitely relate to the family aspect. I come from a big, fun, crazy, great, dynamic family, so it was easy for me to drop into the family. One of my favorite crime movies is HEAT. It’s one of those films I would go back and watch over and over again when it came out in 1995. It’s just gotten better for me over time.

What was your biggest discovery in playing this part? 

My biggest discovery would have to be that it’s fun to not have to be likeable! Something I’ve focused on is sort of letting the writers put me in a less likeable position than I normally would go. It’s been great to think about how the audience will react and seeing if they’ll stay with you throughout the course of the show.

You swear you were X in a past life…

I don’t have any strong feelings as to what I would have been in a past life. What I would hope to have been is an actual athlete or a musician. But who knows – maybe that’s what I’ll be in a future life!

Something about you that hasn’t changed since your Felicity years…

Probably just how much I enjoy being in a great group of people. This is probably the first show since Felicity that I’ve been a part of that has such a good energy, with an awesome family-like atmosphere. It just has a great group! And that’s exactly how it was with Felicity. It was a fun group to be around, and this group is very similar to that.

What would your last meal be? Who would it be with?

My last meal would definitely be with Ryan Blakely and Omar Odeh, who are my two best friends. I would like to go with something simple, just a great restaurant with good natural food, and of course, tequila!

What’s your idea of the perfect first date? 

Something easy – nothing extravagant. I’d love to take a girl to a good bar and start off with good tequila to ease the first date nerves. Preferably a place that’s not too loud where you can talk and see if you like hanging out together.

The app you couldn’t live without…

I don’t use apps. No apps. Screw apps!

How do you start your day? What’s your go-to breakfast? 

My go-to breakfast would have to be eggs with coconut oil and black pepper – and maybe I’d throw some avocado on it. That’s about it.

One thing women don’t know about men that they should…

That we’re babies. We’re as sensitive as you are. We’re just giant toddlers.

You never liked X till you tried it at Y…

I never liked sushi until I ate it as a much younger man with a girl I was in love with. She was older and took me to a sushi bar. I was trying to impress her, and so I developed a taste for it in Toronto back in the day. I don’t remember the exact name of the restaurant.

In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ in fashion, what’s the new potato right now?

I have no idea. I’m no food critic!

Have you read our interview with Girls star Jake Lacy? Actor Cheyenne Jackson also took us out for Mexican food.

*Scott Speedman, photographed at La Esquina in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann.