This interview featuring Goon: Last of the Enforcers star Seann William Scott was originally published in the February 2012 issue of CANADIENS magazine.
Best known for his legendary antics in the American Pie trilogy, Seann William Scott has used his trademark delivery and willingness to push the envelope to bring gross-out comedy to a new level. From playing loveable stoners in Dude, Where's My Car and Role Models to tooling around with Jessica Simpson in her Daisy Dukes in The Dukes of Hazzard, the 35-year-old actor is ready to let his fists do the talking in his newest movie, Goon. We caught up with the Cottage Grove, MN native to see how enforcer Doug Glatt's on-ice chirps compare to those of Steve Stifler.
You grew up in Cottage Grove, MN, which is a couple miles away from one of the biggest hockey markets in the USA. Were you a hockey fan as a kid?
SEANN WILLIAM SCOTT: I played baseball, football and basketball as a kid. But the only reason I played basketball in the winter was because I was terrible at hockey! I played sometimes at the local arena and on some outdoor rinks, but I was just awful. So I ended up watching all my buddies play, and of course hockey players get the girls. In Minnesota, girls don't go watch high school basketball games, they love hockey players.
Were you surprised when you were approached for this role in Goon?
SWS: I was surprised because of the people involved in this project. It was a different experience because I didn't go after Goon. I was working on Role Models in 2008 and Paul Rudd told me that he just got off the phone with [Goon writer] Evan Goldberg and he wanted to talk to me about this hockey/fight movie that he's writing with Jay Baruchel and they really liked me for this role. So I talked to Evan that day and he told me about it and he thought I would be really good it. I was excited knowing that the film makers wanted me and I wasn't like their 10th choice. They really believed in me, it was a good comfort for me going into that experience.
Did you do all your own skating in Goon, or did you use a ringer for the hockey scenes?
SWS: Oh yeah, I skated! But like everyone in the movie, we each had a double. We had such a great team of guys working with us in Winnipeg. My character isn't supposed to skate, really. Thank god, because I can't! I practiced for about a month before and trained with a guy, so I got pretty okay at it but I never got to the point where I was good enough to stop on my own. I always had to skate into somebody or into the boards.
Goon excluded, what is the best hockey movie ever made: Slap Shot, Miracle, The Mighty Ducks or Youngblood?
SWS: Slap Shot, for sure. What's funny is that I saw it a long time ago but I didn't know much about hockey. It makes you want to know more about hockey. I don't want to compare Goon to it. But like Slap Shot, you don't need to know much about hockey to love Goon.
Did you pick up any tips or notes on fighting from former Canadiens tough guy Georges Laraque during production?
SWS: Oh my god! Dropping the gloves with him was frightening! He was hilarious. I loved the guy. He's so unassuming in the sense that you didn't feel like you were talking to one of the best fighters ever. He's such a sweet and funny guy. Thank god I had some practice going toe-to-toe with The Rock in The Rundown before fighting Georges Laraque. I'm used to looking up at a giant, but I didn't make it any less frightening. In the movie the fight looks pretty legitimate, serious, and aggressive. He could've shaken me like a doll if he wanted to. I had to use all my strength just to hold on to his jersey. The guy is a beast.
Can you imagine actually going up against Laraque for real?
SWS: Um, no. Not without an Uzi! (laughs) I can't imagine it at all!
There are a lot of occupational hazards that come with being an NHL enforcer. As far as professions go, how tough do they have it?
SWS: Oh it's no joke. I really didn't have a clue until I started watching some footage. Just being out there and seeing the physicality and how brutal it is. Some of these guys have to protect themselves a little bit more and they're just going at it. It's unbelievable. People don't understand how just how incredibly aggressive and athletic these guys are or how beautiful the sport is.
Fighting is a hot topic in the NHL right now. Do you think fighting should be banned or is it an important part of the game?
SWS: You know, I think I would have to know more about the game and have a little more knowledge about it, so I wouldn't want to say. I don't know but seeing all those recent tragedies must be a major concern right now. Removing the fights would be a strange thing. You want everybody to be safe, but it would definitely change the game.
You play an enforcer in the movie but in real life, are you a lover or a fighter?
SWS: Oh, I'm definitely more of a lover! (laughs)
Your co-star and one of the movie's producers, Jay Baruchel, is a diehard Habs fan. Did he manage to convert you during filming?
SWS: Oh yeah, big time! Well, I guess it wouldn't have been appropriate for me to talk about any other hockey team. (laughs) He was dressed up in Habs colors and jerseys and stuff all the time. Jay's a true fan of the team and hockey. I couldn't speak about the Minnesota Wild around him, not that I know anything about the Wild!
This will be a busy year for you. Was it to hard to convince you to play Steve Stifler one more time in the upcoming American Reunion movie?
SWS: No, since I actually pitched the thing. I was the one who called the studio two-and-a-half years ago and thought about what the story could be. I thought just the general idea about the high school reunion with everybody back would be cool. It was hard to try to convince myself that it might be the right thing to do. But I figured who cares if it's not the right thing for my career path, it just seems that it might be so much fun to play Stifler in his 30s, with everybody back and with a really solid storyline that made sense. The challenge was trying to make it a better film - a good film that could possibly be funnier. Once I got the ball rolling, I was super-psyched just hoping that it would all come together.
In the American Pie movies, Eugene Levy played the role of your friend's dad. Was it weird to have him play your dad in Goon?
SWS: I'm a huge fan of Eugene and it was such a great thing to have him in the movie. I was only concerned, and I'm sure that he was too, that maybe people would have a hard time seeing us as father and son in the film without associating us with the American Pie films. It was just so great to act with him and see how he works. In Goon, my character is so different from Stifler so you're not distracted by it.
What classic Stifler line do fans recite to you the most?
SWS: A lot of people just shout "Stifler!". What's weird is sometimes people shout "Stifler's mom!". I'm like "What the [expletive]? What are you talking about?" I guess it also happens to the other guys too because Eddie Kaye Thomas, who plays Finch, gets the same thing. He didn't understand it either!
What's the funniest or most memorable encounter you've had with a fan?
SWS: I think it was in Montreal, actually. I was at the airport and the lady at the security checkpoint asked me, "What's the capital of Thailand?" I wasn't too sure, so she went "Bangkok" and she acted like she was hitting my balls! I didn't put it together at first, but I quickly realized it and I said to myself "Holy crap! That's weird, but awesome!" I was really honored that she quoted that line to me. I'm sure Brad Pitt doesn't get that! (laughs)
Is it a good or bad thing that one day you'll be with your grandkids and someone's still likely to come up to you and say, "Hey Stifler!!!"?
SWS: If I'm with my kids and somebody just comes up to me and says ''Hey Stifler you [expletive] face'', I think I would give him a high five. Who gives a [expletive]? I would tell my kids just don't do that to another person because you might get punched. (laughs) If somebody comes up to me 30 years from now and says to me 'Hey Stifler you [expletive] face, I remember when you drank that beer with [expletive] in it. That was awesome!", I'll really know I made it. I'll know that I was a real legend if somebody tells me that when I'm 80.