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Interview: Jay Baruchel & Seann William Scott on Goon: Last of the Enforcers

03.16.2017

Hockey movies generally aren’t great, with the exception of something like SLAP SHOT. Yet, defying all expectations, Michael Dowse’s GOON emerged to become a genuine cult classic and one of the best hockey flicks ever made. And so, a sequel has been made and is on the verge of being released in Canada (March 17th, but American fans will have to wait a bit longer – as explained below). When Michael Dowse stepped-down as director, the first film’s writer/co-star Jay Baruchel took the helm, and he, along with star Seann William Scott, took the time to talk to us on the eve of the Montreal premiere about their ambitions for the sequel. Here’s Jay:

So when is this hitting the U.S?

Baruchel: I can’t give you a calendar date, but, we’re coming out in limited release in the States towards the end of the summer…and then also, eventually, Netflix bought us.

When you spoke to my buddy Nick, you told him that rather than make another SLAP SHOT, you wanted to make THE ROAD WARRIOR of hockey movies, so I assume the action is really hardcore this time.

Baruchel: It is. I remember having THE ROAD WARRIOR on VHS and one of the reviews on the back said “pure visual poetry.” (George) Miller has this way of simplifying incredibly complex things and distilling them down to what’s important. If you watch FURY ROAD, you can have a scene with forty cars and god knows how many actors, but you always know where Max is, and you always know what’s happening. We wanted to tell our story with as much image as possible rather than words and specifically the very literal ROAD WARRIOR thing is, there’s a lot of low angle “riding the asphalt” in ROAD WARRIOR and we have a lot of low angle riding the ice. And there’s something in seeing the subjects as the ground is flying by, which just makes you feel, in the pit of your stomach, a real scene of weight and speed. My biggest criticism, of hockey in cinema, is that nine times of of ten, it’s fucking slow as hell.
 

Well maybe that’s why they haven’t made that many hockey movies. I mean, I’m trying to think, besides SLAP SHOT, maybe YOUNGBLOOD?

Baruchel: YOUNGBLOOD, THE MIGHTY DUCKS, THE ROCKET, they’re all kinda hokey and slow and you’re also so bloody removed from it and so, to watch it in your living room, to watch it in the stands, to play it, slow doesn’t ever come into it. That’s not ever one of the words you hear. So, it was important to us, the task we gave ourselves is that there’s no country on earth that’s more versed in hockey as photographed than Canada. How do we scratch those same itches in our Canadian fans that they get from watching a game in a non-traditional way. And so, one of the things that’s sort of different from the first one even, is that we sort of get into the action and onto the ice more. We would shoot all of our hockey sequences in three conceits. We would start with our box-standard “broadcast”, up in the stands, panning left-right, like on “Hockey Night in Canada.” Then we would go to our shallow cam, which was basically this steel plate that had four pucks on the bottom of it, and this camera head screwed to it, and a shovel handle in the back of it. And our grip Stewie, would skate his arse off, pushing it around chasing the action. And so we were always at waist or stick level, or leg and skate level, so you got to see some of what the boys see when they’re skating, and then to marry the actors into that with our doubles. We were using this thing called the “MoVI stabilizer system”, which is this gear head you put on the handheld camera that mitigates all the high-frequency shakiness, which I think is now played to death anyway. Shaky cam is fucking dead. There are two hand-held shots in my movie, and the only two hand held shots are meant to be news interviews. I had a big ass fucking rule between me and my cinematographer, Paul Sarossy, one of Canada’s great living artists, “no fucking hand-held!” Every TV show or movie now bleeds into the same thing, they’re all shot by the same camera, they’ve done nothing to light it differently, they’ve taken it out of the box and used the pre-set, and now it looks broadcast quality.

It all sounds pretty ambitious for a first-time director, but you’ve been on set pretty much your whole life.

Baruchel: Since I was twelve. It’s dreadfully ambitious, for sure, but anything of consequence has to be and that’s just my taste. The movies I love are the epics. The movies I like, the comic I like, the music I like – I like a double album, I liked going to the video store and getting the two-tapes in a box like DANCES WITH WOLVES, I like an old-school epic.

In that vogue what recently have you really liked?

Baruchel: Well, my favorite films of ’16, number 1 would be Nocturnal Animals. I think it’s gorgeous and compelling and such a good mystery, and the music is insane. For a guy who’s such a good fashion designer, can just wake up and be one of the world’s great directors? I love that movie and…umm… This is gonna get me in a lot of shit, and you’re the first time I’ve said it publicly, I’ve been trying to decide when I’m gonna say it…my other favorite film of last year is…not the theatrical version mind you, just the director’s cut…

Oh I know what you’re gonna say…

Baruchel: BATMAN V SUPERMAN…DAWN OF JUSTICE: Ultimate Edition is probably the film I’ve seen the most from last year. I’ve watched it about seven times…”

Well, there’s a really distinct vision to it, and you can’t say that with the Marvel movies…

Baruchel: THANK YOU! This is what I said, even when I saw the theatrical one and didn’t love it. In its weakest moment, it has more choice, style and commitment to it than the best moment in CIVIL WAR. CIVIL WAR, I can’t tell you what it’s about or who made it. You watch BATMAN V SUPERMAN you know exactly what it’s about and he fucking committed to a choice and DC always does that.”

They’re toning it down for the next one though. I visited the set…

Baruchel: I know, I know, they have to. They have to. So, for my money I think history’s going to regard that as the world’s most expensive indie film.”

After chatting for ten minutes, we barely scratched the surface, so Jay agreed to guest on the JoBlo Podcast this week – so make sure to tune-in for a more extended conversation with him about GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS. Meanwhile, I also had a chance to talk to the gregarious Seann William Scott!

On stepping back into Doug “The Thug” Glatt’s shoes.

Scott: I’ll put it this way, it was just the most fun I’ve ever had. The first one, I was really trying to feel out the character and not ruin the movie! Everyone else was doing such a good job that I was just trying to figure the character out, and I was less sure about what I was doing. People liked the movie and bought we I did, so when I got the script for this one it was a no-brainer, because the script was one of the best scripts that I’ve read. It’s not just a comedy. What Jay and (co-writer) Jesse Chabot did, they wrote a great story. Maybe also because it’s a sequel, and not repeating stuff. I thought, cool man, it’s darker, there’s more drama to it, there’s more at stake, it’s interesting. And then, on a selfish level, to go back and spend time with these guys that I love, and to go do a comedy again. I haven’t done that many comedies in the last few years, and to be be creative and to see if I’ve still got it.

On Jay Baruchel.

Scott: I’ve worked with really cool directors and this was my favorite experience. He’s brilliant. And I know it’s GOON 2, but I still think the movie’s awesome. I love the film, and I think it wouldn’t have worked it if wasn’t for what he did. Just the way he speaks about films, the way he directed it, and so poised. I’ve worked with a lot of first-time directors, and they’re not like him. You would have thought this was his twentieth film. So I think he’s gonna be huge.

On doing action

Scott: Usually I’m the guy who gets punched. I mean, in THE RUNDOWN I get my ass kicked, that’s kinda it. But, it’s more fun (doing the punching). I think that’s one of the things that surprised people the first time. It’s really funny, it’s sweet, but the fights, especially the last one, it was also part of the sotry, there was some drama to it. The action is a big part of the movie, especially this time around.
 

On fighting Liev Schrieber

Scott: He would crush me. I would be like, I’m sorry Ray Donovan, please don’t hurt me. (On Schrieber being his mentor this time). It was cool man. I’m still intimidated by Liev. The first time, it was really easy for me to play a character in awe to him. This time around, I got to spend more time with him, we’re a little older, I got to hang out with him, I was less nervous. It was fun man, skating around, shooting the shit with him. It’s a little play on Rocky and Apollo Creed. I loved it, but it’s our own thing. I just thought it was clever. I liked it.

GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS opens in theaters across Canada March 17, and should be out in the U.S Summer 2017, followed by an exclusive Netflix run. Go see it. We had a blast!

 

 

Source: JoBlo.com

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