Going for Goon Seann
William Scott tackles more than just a leading role in
hockey's bloody new blockbuster. By Jordana Divon
a Hollywood actor into the middle of Manitoba and
you're likely to trigger an avalanche of culture
Now, make sure it's the middle of winter, in a place
so cold most Canadians would rather gnaw off their own
foot than set it anywhere near the area, and you're
asking for a three-month orgy of whining and
Good thing the producers of Goon saw fit to cast Seann
William Scott as the lead bruiser in their brand new
hockey flick. The down-to-earth actor, while not
exactly prone to diva behaviour in the first place,
also happened to be raised in Cottage Grove, Minn., a
town just a quick sleigh ride over the Manitoba
border. In other words, he felt right at home.
"People were super nice," a thawed-out Scott
told TFP on the phone from his sunny California
pad. "Growing up in Minnesota it's all hockey,
so that wasn't a surprise for me. It just
actually made it feel even more familiar and
Well, familiar with one exception: "The girls
were much cuter in Manitoba than in Minnesota,"
Candid statements tend to flow naturally from
the 35-year-old actor, who first shot to fame as
the endearingly stupid Stifler from the American
Pie series. Scott tends to say things that would
give most celebrity publicists a heart attack,
but his spontaneity and self-deprecating humour
underline why the goofily handsome actor first
shot to fame in the late 90s.
Take his description of the Stifler groupie, for
example: "I don't get girls coming up to me! I
get older women who are naughty and lonely.
They're like, ‘Oh, that guy is the crazy weird
guy who drank semen in American Pie. He'll
probably hang out with me.'"
Or how about his absolute lack of compunction
when discussing career flops: "There's nothing
worse than seeing a shit movie that you've
done," he said with a laugh. "I remember going
to the Bulletproof Monk premiere in L.A… my
whole family flew down for it and I didn't know
how bad it was going to be but I had a bad
feeling when I did 75 per cent of my performance
in ADR (automatic dialogue replacement, or
"dubbing" in layman's terms)."
But despite his popularity in films like Road
Trip, Old School, and stoner classic, Dude
Where's My Car?, Scott spent most of his 20s
yearning to break out of the broad comedy
deadlock. "I'd never considered myself funny,
and those movies that I wanted to do were darker
things so I was really anxious to start getting
into that," he said.
While he admits he's since gotten "far less
anxious" about proving his versatility, Scott
leapt at the chance to play Doug Glatt, a
dim-witted small town bouncer whose ability to
throw a punch lands him an accidental career in
Glatt forms the nucleus of Goon, an
idiosyncratically Canadian movie that
screenwriters Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg (Superbad,
Pineapple Express) are hoping will have enough
universal appeal to attract hockey fans
worldwide. For Scott, however, it was love at
Though he grew up near
hockey-crazed Minneapolis, Scott is the first to admit his skills on the
ice left much to be desired.
"I played a little bit when I was a kid. I was awful. So I was like, I
guess I have to figure out another winter sport. But I was pretty clueless
(in the rink) to tell you the truth, and it's embarrassing because I'm an
athlete and it's just unfortunate that the one sport that I ended up
getting a chance to play in a movie wasn't one of the three or four I grew
up playing," he said.
Doug is also supposed to suck, at least initially, making it easy for
Scott to lend a little realism to the role. "My character is not supposed
to be a good skater, so I had that going for me," he said. "I really think
my lack of experience was beneficial to my performance because if I'd been
an awesome skater it would have been so hard to dumb that down."
One thing Scott could do convincingly was throw a punch -- an essential
skill for playing a character described as having "the fist of God." And
the ability to wield those fists made it easier for the actor to shoot
Goon's grueling, all-night fight scenes.
"Some of the guys that I'd be fighting wanted to get hit in the face," he
revealed. "They were ex-hockey players who were just tough badasses and
they knew they'd look cooler if we made contact. So it wasn't 100 per cent
full-on hitting people, but it was physical."
Producers brought in former Montreal Canadiens fighter Georges Laraque to
train Scott on the finer points of beating the shit out of grown men on
skates. Scott was so impressed by Big Georges' skill he managed to get him
a bit part in the film; a scene in which they, naturally, beat the shit
out of each other.
"He was like, 'You can hit me if you want.' I think he regretted it
because he did get smacked around a little bit, so he might have gotten a
little injured but he liked it. He's one of those guys who don't even feel
the pain," Scott recalled with a mixture of awe and bewilderment.
Goon's hyper-violence may be played for laughs in the movie, but it's a
subject that also happens to be a timely and serious issue around the
Although research exposing the devastating long-term effects of
concussions had yet to be published while they shot the film, Goon's
Tarantino-esque blood-and-gore fest may rattle hockey's anti-violence
When asked if he thinks the violence may affect Goon's reception, Scott
gives his first semi-evasive answer. "I think we just wanted to portray
the violence and the aggression of this guy putting it his blood, sweat
and tears into protecting his team and what they go through, but we never
would have imagined at all the stuff that happened afterward," he said,
suggesting Jay (Baruchel) would be a better person to speak to on the
However it's received by critics after its February 24 release, the film
already appears to have generated a lot of positive pre-screening noise.
Early reviews are saying it's the best hockey movie to come out since
Slapshot, while others note the strong performances pulled off by a cast
that includes Liev Schreiber, Alison Pill, Eugene Levy, Baruchel, and
French-Canadian star Marc-Andre Grondin.
And based on the standing ovation Goon received during its Toronto
International Film Festival premiere, Scott has high hopes for the film --
particularly since it earned the approval of a tough crowd.
"I went to TIFF with my mom and my brother and friends, and they're not
necessarily hockey fans but they just loved it," he said. "They laughed,
they loved the characters and they weren't bothered by the violence
because it was all for a reason and it played into the story. So I just
think if you love movies, you're going to love this one."