Scott Speedman can’t find his pants. The actor gamely traded his clothes for a set of pj’s to hop into bed with his Felicity costars Keri Russell and Scott Foley. It’s the first time the trio have been in the same room since the cult-favorite WB show wrapped in 2002, though you wouldn’t guess it from watching them joke around and reminisce. The laughter continues when the actors settle in on a nearby sofa. Speedman — having been unable to locate the bottom half of his outfit — sits down in just a shirt and black boxer briefs. (Note: 1990s dreams really can come true!) “Scott Speedman is currently in his underwear,” narrates Russell. Foley grins: “Keeping things nice and cool, huh, buddy?” Speedman responds with an unconcerned shrug.
Isn’t that, like, just soooo Ben Covington? Created by J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves, Felicity spun the story of Felicity Porter (Russell), who, on a whim, ditches the premed life her parents planned for her and follows her longtime high school crush, Ben (Speedman), across the country to attend school in New York City. Before we had Team Jacob and Team Edward, there was Felicity’s epic love triangle throughout her college years with her RA, earnest and bookish Noel Crane (Foley), and dreamy yet emotionally complicated Ben. The drama ran from 1998 to 2002, capturing a specific late-’90s/early-’00s angst that’s carved a permanent place in fans’ hearts. “People still come up to me and tell me how much they like Scandal and follow that up with ‘But I was always Team Ben,’ ” says Foley. Does the reverse happen to Speedman regarding Team Noel? He gives his best Covington-like grin: “Nope.”
On their first auditions:
RUSSELL: There were so many girls waiting to audition I was like, ‘Can I leave?’ I got a couple of callbacks and then had a screen test and choked. I’m such a bad audition-er. I’m shy and, like, spaz out. So I left and J.J. and Matt chased me down and said, ‘What happened? You have to come back in—you’re too nervous.’ I was like, ‘Welcome to moi. [Laughs] Welcome to a life of this!’ They pulled me into this copy room—because it was the WB I remember there were all these Wayans Bros posters—and J.J told me jokes and calmed me down. I still don’t think I did amazing but they let me have the part.
SPEEDMAN: Yeah they let you have it. It was charity! I was in Toronto after dropping out of theater school and I was sleeping on my mom’s couch. Someone sent me the script and I didn’t want to read it. I was in a weird spot in my life—I just didn’t want to do a TV show as odd as that sounds. This agent called my mom and told her that I had to read the script. So, I did. And I loved it. Genuinely. It was one of those moments when you read something and it’s absolutely right for you at that time in your life. I went down to the video house with a friend who read Felicity’s part with me and we made a tape. The next thing I knew I was on the plane.
FOLEY: I had done the first season of Dawson’s Creek and the casting person knew who I was and called me in to read for the Ben role. Then I read for Noel. They called me back in for Ben and I tested that part two or three times. They cast me as Ben. I had wardrobe fittings and table readings and everything and then J.J. and Matt said, ‘Hey we found someone we think is a great guy to play Ben.’ I said, ‘I’m Ben!’ They asked if I would be interested in playing Noel instead, and I was so happy to have a job I said of course. Speedman showed up with a safety pin holding his shirt together and I said, ‘You’re right. He’s perfect for Ben.’