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Smith ready for U.S.-Canada, then it's 'Hit Somebody'

Sunday, 02.21.2010 / 5:02 PM / All-Access Vancouver

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Acclaimed filmmaker Kevin Smith spent Sunday doing interviews for his new movie, "Cop Out," which comes out Feb. 26. But there really was only one thing on his mind.

U.S. vs. Canada.

"I called my kid (daughter Harley), she's sleeping in a different hotel room from me this morning," Smith said. "I got up very early and I said, 'You know what happens tonight?' And she said, 'Parise vs. Brodeur,' and I said 'Yes!' It's a big game for us."

Smith, New Jersey to the core despite his current Los Angeles address, still bleeds Devils red. So for him, it's a win-win situation knowing either Canada goalie Martin Brodeur or U.S. forwards Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner are going to leave Canada Hockey Place happy.

"That's a big bucket of win for me," said Smith. "I'm not sitting there going (go) Team USA, and I'm certainly not sitting there going (go) Team Canada. I'm just like, that's the best hockey you'll ever see. Unlike an all-star game, these guys are going for medals. They're going to play really hard."

So hard, in fact, he hopes for some NHL-like extracurricular activity.

"I'm hoping they're so competitive Marty starts busting out like (Ron) Hextall and starts slashing ankles," Smith said. "It would be awesome to see a Marty-Parise fight."

While that likely won't happen -- at least outside of Lou Lamoriello's nightmares -- expect to see that kind of action in Smith's next project, the hockey-themed "Hit Somebody."

Smith revealed exclusively to NHL.com that Seann William Scott, who worked with Smith on "Cop Out," will play Buddy, the title character in "Hit Somebody." The script, based on a Warren Zevon song with lyrics by acclaimed writer Mitch Albom, is a story of a hockey enforcer who strives to score just one goal in a hockey game.

"Seann, for me, was the key into the character," Smith told NHL.com. "I had all the elements in place, and the one thing I was missing was the personality. Generally I like to write to a voice, but I didn't know who that voice was or what that voice could be. And then after spending all the time with Seann on this movie, he's pitch perfect. He is that guy.

"This dude has something in him that you can just see hangs so well on Buddy. He's got some pain that's going to work out well. More importantly he has so much love in his heart. Seann Scott is such an ebullient, happy person who's just happy to be there. And on ("Cop Out") you could see it. On our set the guy is just so delighted to be working, to be making people laugh. But he's always dismissed as Stifler. … This is his chance to shine."

Scott, a native of Cottage Grove, Minn., admittedly isn't much of a skater, but for the role of Buddy, that works just fine.

"I didn't grow up playing hockey which is good because the character is not supposed to be a great player, he's a great fighter," Scott said.

"When I pegged Seann, I said 'You're Minnesota; that might as well be Canada," said Smith. "You're from hockey country. He was like, I'm an athlete and I played a lot of baseball and basketball, but I wasn't good at hockey. I can skate, though. I said that's all I need. He doesn't have to be Paul Coffey on skates. He shouldn't be."

Scott said spending time with Smith drew him back into hockey -- he follows the Minnesota Wild, but not closely -- and Smith said he's hoping Scott will join him in June at the Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament in Brantford, Ont., that Smith has turned into a personal pilgrimage. Besides his playing goalie for his own team, Puck U., Smith will be bringing seven teams along with him.

The tournament also allows him to indulge his personal obsession with all things Gretzky, and have a life outside the movies. It's why he enlists close friends and family members for his own team, rather than friends like Seth Rogen and Ben Affleck.

"These cats are super-famous and they got other things to do, they got lives," said Smith. "The notion that you want to go to suburban Ontario to play street hockey while Wayne Gretzky's dad watches -- some people don't want to do it. Seann William Scott will definitely go. He wasn't aware of it last time. I remember saying while we were making the movie that I was going to play hockey, and he was like, where? Maybe he'll come."

While nothing is locked in contractually, Smith said having Scott's voice in his head makes finishing the script a far easier task.

"This dude has something in him that you can just see hangs so well on Buddy. He's got some pain that's going to work out well. More importantly he has so much love in his heart. Sean Scott is such an ebullient, happy person who's just happy to be there. … This is his chance to shine." -- Kevin Smith
"Once I get going I could probably write it in less than a month, because it's all right here at the top of my throat, ready to go, and in my heart," Smith said. "In my heart of hearts I know it's Seann, it's so easy to go. Just easy to skate all-out when you have a voice in your head and I have his voice well in my head."

That voice doesn't sound like Scott's famed "Stifler" character from the "American Pie" franchise. Scott has done dramatic roles before, and Smith believes Hit Somebody can elevate both their careers.

"I look at this as Seann's opportunity to go to the (Tom) Hanks level," Smith said. "Hanks for years and years did this (lesser) role and then he became that (blockbuster movie) guy. This is Seann's chance to do that as well, not just be Stifler. And it's my chance to not just be the "Clerks" guy. It's my chance to do something big, epic in scale. Stories I tell span one day. … This spans 30 years. You're talking a period. You're trying to bring people to a time in your life that hasn't existed in 30 years. The look of it, the feel of it, the sound of it -- everything I have is going to be in that movie."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com