We’re pretty sure actor Scott Speedman has the power to broker peace negotiations with a simple glance. Of course, in the role of XO Sam Kendal on “Last Resort,” it will take more than the 37-year-old’s mesmerizing blue eyes to get his submarine crew out of trouble, considering war was triggered when he refused strange orders to bomb Pakistan. The morality and heart Speedman brings to the role will help as he goes toe-to-toe with the commanding Andre Braugher, who plays the captain of the sub. Their relationship is central to the series — just as important as the mystery surrounding the United States’ decision to turn on its own. Speedman explains.
What is the dynamic between Sam and Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher)?
That’s where a lot of the dramatic tension on the show comes from. [The characters] are very close. You find out that Andre’s character has really nothing to lose; he really has no family to fall back on, so he’s making all these gambles. Meanwhile, I’m relatively young and have a wife waiting for me at home. It’s been really fun to play with that and to deal with that male bonding relationship and tearing that up.
We’ve already seen the U.S. attacking the submarine, the crew turning on each other, and a militia on the island prepared to fight the sailors seeking safety there. Who is the biggest enemy?
For Sam specifically, ultimately, the most interesting enemy I can have is the captain. The more generic choices are there but the more interesting rival will be Marcus Chaplin, the father figure, the mentor. But you have the Navy Seals [who boarded the submarine and seem to have their own agenda]; you have Robert Patrick’s character [the sub’s uncooperative Master Chief Joseph Prosser], which is an interesting character to play off of. I much prefer when [the crew is working] as a unit as opposed to using some of the [supporting characters] as enemies.
What is Sam’s biggest motivation right now?
A big thrust of the show is my character trying to get home. But really, Sam wants to stay alive long enough to clear his name. He’s spent all this time getting to where he is in his life and it’s all being ripped away from him. He wants to get home to be with his wife but he’s also really intent on clearing his name.
Is there heroism in disobedience?
“Of course,”?Speedman says. “I love that aspect of the show. That’s really what drew me to the character. He’s not just this hero-type guy; even when facing a tough decision, no matter what the consequences, he’s still going to try to do the right thing. These guys, they spend 10 years getting orders and following them. They’re preparing for this moment — that’s what they do in the nuclear submarine — then the order comes and they don’t do it. It was an interesting moment to play, for sure.”