By: Anne M. Raso
We were lucky enough to catch up with Seann William Scott and Liev Schreiber at the NYC press day for their new minor league hockey comedy and ultimate "boy flick," Goon! We had a chuckle because they were hanging out with the Hanson brothers, the real life Canadian minor league players who starred in the ultimate hockey film Slapshot (but we hear the Hansons advised Scott and Schreiber how to make their characters even goonier)! We suggest that if you see this film, you have a strong stomach for a lot of bloodshed on the ice, and a lot of crude humor. This is not the kind of film Schreiber usually does, but we have to admit--there is something charming about him in a macho handlebar mustache and we kind of wish he kept it, LOL!
Seann William Scott: I have no background.
Q: You didn’t watch or root for anyone?
SWS: My friends played and I watched them, but I played basketball, football, and football. I thought for a while… I went to their games and I just remembered was because all the hot girls from school would go to their games, they wouldn’t go to basketball games. So I went partly to support them and partly to see the hottest chicks at school. That was my background, to be honest.
Q: That’s something Stiffler (your character in American Pie) would say. (Laughs.)
SWS: Eh, so would most other men.
Q: Seann, were you surprised or glad you got to play Doug Glatt?
SWS: Surprised? I was surprised I got the job. It was a huge opportunity for me from the beginning. It was the first movie I got to do with actors and directors that I love and already believed in. They felt I was right from the beginning. The role is just incredible. It’s hard for me to articulate why I love movies because there are just so y elements to it that are great. Was I surprised I got the job? Yeah, but I’m grateful.
Q: How did your character Doug’s growth affect everyone and the story moving forward?
SWS: I think Doug become a little more confident through out the movie, I think you see that with Allison Pill’s character, mature a little bit there, and a little bit with Liev’s character, too. But I don’t think it affected the performances too much. Marc-Andre Grondin’s character (Xavier Laflamme) is the best example of the growth. I think you see his confidence increase as he gets better as a hockey player and fits into his role and he stands up for his family. I like that side of his character, that he starts off with nothing, but finds something he loves and it affects positive change in him. It’s a greater theme a lot of people can climb onto in terms of how this film speaks to people beyond hockey fans.
LS: You see the most in the team. It’s a love story between a guy and a game. He starts off not knowing anything about it, he gets into it, and he loves it. And that passion for the game becomes infectious. I think that’s the thing that redeems Ross at the end. At first he’s thinking, “What am I doing this for? They don’t give a crap about me.” The kid reminds him how the fight is for the game and they love you because you’re a hockey player. Had there been someone around to give that kind of boost to these players that have been in the news the past few years then maybe the outcome would have been different.
Q: What other hockey movies do you think inspired you?
SWS: Dude, Where’s My Car, Triumph of the Will, and The Battle of Algiers...
LS: A lot of people just talk about Slap Shot, but there’s a lot of other great sports comedies from that period like The Longest Yard and North Dallas Forty that Michael Dowse the director looked at in terms of that blue collar grit and feel of sports films. Because a lot of sports comedies have become glossier and a little bit more high class, and Michael really wanted to give that blue collar feel to the film.
Q: I noticed that this film doesn’t not have major film company distribution.
LS: Those major studios don’t acquire films (like this one); it’s rare. I mean the Weinsteins sometimes do it. The producers really believed in the Magnet’s releasing model and they thought it was a good idea. We had interest from other studios, but they thought this was the best way to do it.
Q: A major studio would have tried to make it PG-13.
LS: Yeah, that’s the other issue; if we shot this with a studio they wouldn’t have let us make the same movie.
Q: Is this a tribute to goons? Are they going away since the lockout?
LS: I think they’re evolving where it’s harder to just keep an enforcer on your bench as a fourth line player. It’s going back to even Sean Thorpe. It’s going back to guys that can maybe put in ten goals a season but also put in 300 penalty minutes. Which I think is a really positive move for these guys and will give them a little more value and relevance.
Q: Liev, would you be nervous if your boys wanted to play hockey?
LS: I’d definitely be nervous. If my kids came up to me and told me they loved hockey and they expressed one billionth of the passion for it that Jay has for it, then how could I stop them? You can’t. Keep in mind though, my kids are three years old and four years old, I get nervous when they go to the bathroom.
Q: Seann, was it tough to train for the fights on the ice for this film?
SWS: It’s not always about fighting. When they trained me to play this game and I got on the ice with these guys, six-foot-five rocks of men that move like lightning bolts across the ice, and you feel that power, it’s not the fights you got to watch out for. I don’t know enough about hockey, but I challenge someone to come up with some statistics about the devastating injuries from this sport. I don’t think they come from the fights. They come from the same place they from in football and a lot of these other sports. They come from speed. You’re going to have injuries.
Q: Look at Ryan Nugent Hopkins.
LS: It’s not fighting, it’s speed. Think you can take speed out of the game? Because that’s what defines it.
Q: Do people fight too much (in hockey) these days?
JB: Oh, fuck no. I think it’s the opposite. What I do see though is a fairly terrifying trend of cynicism. I think what Liev said, there are a lot of guys, there’s no place to put their aggression and it manifests as cheap dirty shit. The one time I’ll ever agree with Brian Burke was when about a month ago he put Colton over waivers and said, “I think the rats are taking over the game.” And I think that’s a trend I see and that’s completely different and to me in direct correlation with the decline of pure enforcing.
LS: It seems to have decreased lately, when you would see whole teams glorified for that….that was in the Stone Age.
Q: You haven’t seen the Bruins lately. (Laughs.) Seann, someone said your character wouldn’t get suspended because he does everything right and doesn’t break the rules.
Q: Seann, so many roles in your career have been these cocksure ladies man types--is it nice to try a more humbled vulnerable character for a change?
SWS: Absolutely. Well, actually I have played guys in the past that you think are going to get the girl, but they don’t. But the character, and not just because he’s such a good guy and he’s humble, the story and the journey goes on. It’s everything I’ve been looking to do since I moved to LA to pursue acting.