Just in time to join the debate about fighting in hockey, along comes the comedy “Goon,” the No. 1 movie in Canada and now available on demand to American cable subscribers ahead of its theatrical opening on March 30.
Filmed in Winnipeg last year and loosely based on the biography of Doug Smith, an amateur boxer who didn’t start skating until he was 19 and found work as an enforcer in the mayhem-filled Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey, “Goon” is funny, profane and, thanks to its Canadian filmmakers’ familiarity with the game, has the ring of truth. (Goalie to a new player: “Two rules: Do you have any Percosets? And keep your hands off my Percosets.”)
The leading roles are played by Seann William Scott, the actor best known as Stifler in the “American Pie” series, and Liev Schreiber, the actor and director best known to hockey fans as the narrator of the HBO “24/7: Road to the Winter Classic” series. Scott plays Doug Glatt, the sweet-natured, naïve bar bouncer who stumbles into a career as a minor league enforcer; Schreiber plays Ross Rhea, a fu manchu’d veteran at the last stop of a long, proud career as a fighter.
What follows are conversations with both actors about the film, and on their own views on fighting in hockey. Schreiber, something of an insider, said he based his character on a hybrid of Dave Schultz and Bob Probert. Scott came to the film with very little prior knowledge of the game.