Sunday, March 4, 2012

Interview: The Cast and Crew Talk About Filming Goon |

Read's roundtable interview with the main actors and director of the new sports comedy ‘Goon,’ which is currently available on VOD, and hits select theaters on March 30, 2012. The movie follows Doug Glatt (played by Seann William Scott), as he dreams of following in the footsteps of retiring minor league hockey goon Ross Rhea (portrayed by Liev Schreiber). After winning a fight, Doug receives the break he’s been looking for when the coach of the Halifax Highlanders hires him. Despite not having any hockey experience, and receiving taunts from the other players, Doug becomes a successful player, with the encouragement of his best friend, Ryan (played by the film’s co-writer, Jay Baruchel).

Scott, Schreiber and Baruchel were joined by director Michael Dowse at New York City’s Le Parker Meridian hotel. They discussed, among other things, why they were all interested in telling the story of a naive character who goes against his parents’ wishes to play a violent game, as he finally feels like he belongs.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Question (Q): Seann, what kind of hockey background did you have, growing up in Minnesota?

Seann William Scott (SWS): Yeah, I had no background. (laughs)

Q: Did you root for anybody, watch any games?

SWS: No. My friends played, but I played baseball, basketball and football. I remember going to the games because all the hot girls from school would go there, they wouldn’t come to the basketball games. Part to see them play, part to see some hot chicks in high school. (laughs) So that was my background, to be honest.

Q: That’s something Stifler would say.

SWS: Yeah, and most other men. (laughs)

Q: Jay, you were a co-writer on the film. Was it your idea to make Seann a member of the tribe?

Jay Baruchel (JB): Yeah. It’s like I’m half-Jewish on my dad’s side, and everything I know about hockey and hockey fighting, in particular, stems from Dad. It’s hard to separate that particular sense of hockey from the first-generation Jewish immigrant experience. Fighting, hockey and being Jewish were defining parts of his identity. So when it was time to take ‘Goon’ from the book (‘Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey Into a Minor Hockey League’ by Adam Frattasio and Doug Smith), it was impossible for that not to come through.

Q: Seann, were you surprised that you got the job of Doug?

SWS: Yeah, it was a huge opportunity for me. It was also the first movie that I got to be with actors and a director that I love, that already believed in me before. They already felt that I was right for it in the beginning. That’s totally different for me.

But just the role, it was such an incredible character. It’s hard for me to articulate why I love the movie so much. But was I surprised I got the job? Yeah, but I’m grateful.

Q: When Doug meets Rhea in the diner, it’s a beautiful scene, and there was a lot said and not said. How did you work through that?

Liev Schreiber (LS): I was grateful to Jay for including that. I think it’s a true testament to his passion of the game and the players, that he would include in his story. A guy who’s in the twilight of his career. When you think about a lot of these guys, before they can walk, they’re on ice skates. Hockey is their life.

Then, suddenly, at the relatively tender age of 35, 40-years-old, these guys confront a life without hockey, without a team, without the only thing they’ve existed for for the past 35 years. I love that Jay included that, because to me, that was a particularly impactful element of the movie.

Reading (Canadian NHL forward) Bob Probert’s book (‘Playing With Fire’), I didn’t base the character on him, but he was certainly on my mind and in my heart a lot. One of the things I remembered most about him was that people didn’t think about him as a hockey player. People thought of him as an enforcer and goon. This was a guy, who in my opinion, was constantly evolving as a player. He was a goal scorer.

With Seann’s character, I think this movie is realistic in so many ways, particularly with minor league hockey. One of the poetic licensing elements Jay took, which made it so funny, as that a guy with no skating skills whatsoever (laughs) could make it that far in the minor leagues.

That aside, everything else was so spot on. Particularly at the end, when the guy was saying, we’re not hockey players. Then the younger player says, yeah, but we are. So that’s perfect thing to say to that guy in that moment, at that point of his career. To give him a sense of redemption of his life and his game. To see the passion in a younger player, he was passing the baton on to the right guy. That’s an interesting element, because fight movies don’t work without a story that has to do with fighting.

Q: Jay, how did you get involved with (co-writer) Evan (Goldberg)? Did you know him from ‘Knocked Up,’ or did you know him from before that?

JB: I’ve known Goldberg since I was 18 years old. He’s known (Seth) Rogen since they were like 10. Whenever Even comes to my city, whenever I’m not in the States, I live in Montreal. We became friends, because he went to school in my city. Five years or so ago, he called and I was home. He asked me to write this Canadian hockey flick.

I don’t know s**t about hockey, but Evan had read some of my crazy horror s**t that I wrote. I guess he didn’t think I was too crummy, because he vouched for me. He knew a little about hockey, and said you’re not a terribly s**tty writer, so maybe we can figure something to do together.

I have to say, it was one of the easiest mapping out processes I’ve ever been apart of. He and I kind of hashed out the entire thing in about an hour-and-a-half. Then I just f**ked off to the confines of my bedroom, and knocked it out in two months. Then five years later, the movie died many deaths. But we found a way to keep going, because we dug what this could be. But Evan’s been one of my best friends for 12 years.

To continue reading this interview, please visit: Interview: The Cast and Crew Talk About Filming Goon |

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