When an actor makes a movie that's a labor of love, it usually involves stepping down from the cushion that Hollywood movies provide and getting dirty.
Inspired by his eternal love of hockey and his father's personal connection to the sport, Jay Baruchel partnered with Superbad writer Evan Goldberg to pen Goon, a sports dramedy that focuses the spotlight on one of the sports lesser known positions. Based on the memoir Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey, Goon follows Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott), a bouncer recruited by a minor league hockey team to play Enforcer — a role that's essentially a "bouncer" on ice. Doug hits and hits hard, and his ability to crush his opponents in a fury of fisticuffs launches him into the big leagues. Baruchel grew up adoring hockey "goons," and the film is a love letter to the position, the sport and to his home country of Canada.
I sat down with Baruchel, Scott and actor Liev Schreiber to discuss Goon, picking their brains on what it takes to become a true hockey fighter? For Schrieber, it was five weeks of training, a very technical process in order to maximize the reality. For Baruchel and Scott…well, they come from the "punk rock" school of thought — which had the duo bathing one another and dipping inappropriate body parts into peanut butter. That's where the "dirty" part comes in.
See for yourself and check out Goon, which hits theaters March 30:
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Jay Baruchel & Seann William Scott
A big hit at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Hamlet 2 often careens out of control but when it connects the theatre fills with laughter. This is a story of a very frustrated high school drama teacher Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan) who decides to stage his own play--a musical sequel to Hamlet featuring original songs he has composed (titles like “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” and “Gay As the Day Is Long”). Yes he’s aware everyone died at the end of Shakespeare’s immortal classic but the failed actor-turned-teacher has found a way to bring them back to life by using a time machine(!) In any event he’s desperate to save the Tucson school’s arts program which is being cut and he thinks this is the answer. Certainly it’s better he figures than his usual productions which have the students re-enacting live stage versions of popular movies such as Erin Brockovich that are regularly panned by the ninth-grade drama critic. Of course the non-PC nature of the show causes lots of outrage from school officials and community leaders but with the help of ACLU attorney Cricket Feldstein (Amy Poehler) Dana remains steadfast in his determination to go on with the show. Coogan is brilliantly loony and wildly funny in a hit-for-the-fences interpretation of the character. He’s definitely taking chances turning off the audience with his off-the-wall approach to playing this desperate loser who has to resort to teaching bored kids. It’s Coogan’s energy and fresh approach that make the movie work better than it has any right to. Poehler who also scored recently in Baby Mama is hilarious as the take-no-prisoners lawyer who comes to Dana’s defense. Catherine Keener is droll perfection as his bored wife who is having an affair with their boarder Gary underplayed nicely by David Arquette. In the good sport category Elisabeth Shue turns up as…Elisabeth Shue now a local nurse after her movie career supposedly hit the skids. She’s actually very funny spoofing herself and the whole aura of the successful Hollywood star. The students are all first rate including Dana’s star pupils Rand Posin and Epiphany Sellers played amusingly by Broadway’s Spring Awakening cast members Skylar Astin and Phoebe Strole respectively. And special mention to The Ralph Sall Experience for their hilarious musical parodies. Director Andrew Fleming lets the gags fly with abandon and gets much of the broad bits to actually work. He and screenwriter Pam Brady forge a close collaboration that results in a pretty good hit-to-miss ratio on the laugh meter; anyone expecting subtlety has wandered into the wrong theatre. Working with a wonderful group of actors with plenty of improvisational experience certainly has helped here and Fleming’s film has the look and feel of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants experience. The actual staging of Hamlet 2 is rather inspired with the multitude of wacky musical numbers cleverly presented. The Southwestern high school that Coogan’s character is stuck in is spot-on although Tucson residents probably won’t appreciate the numerous jokes made at the expense of their town.