Filmmaker and actor Mike Myers will go to great lengths to make certain his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs
experience a triumphant season – even at the expense of good friend and Los Angeles Kings
defenseman Rob Blake
“It’s one of the great pains in my life that the Leafs haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967,’’ said Myers. As such, the veteran comic has decided to do something about it, even if it is a bit over the top, in his new comedy, The Love Guru
The film, which co-stars Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Verne Troyer, Romany Malco, Meagan Good, Omid Djalili and Ben Kingsley, opens June 20.
Blake, who has known Myers since 1993, was cast in four scenes in the movie during filming at Air Canada Centre in Toronto in October. Although the 18-season veteran wasn’t sure which scenes would survive the editing process, he was grateful for the Hollywood experience.
“Through the years I’ve done a few commercials and things like that for the hockey team, but you never really have a chance to be involved in a big motion picture, so it was interesting to see how everything went,’’ Blake told NHL.com. “I was in London at the time with the Kings for the start of our season (against the Anaheim Ducks
), and after our two games, flew to Toronto where I met the cast and directors and did all my scenes that needed to take place (at ACC). I had to be out of there by 10 p.m. and back in Los Angeles.’’
Myers plays the role of Guru Pitka, a spiritualist and self-help expert who returns to America to seek fortune and fame. His skills are put to the test when he must get a broken-hearted hockey player’s marriage back on track in time for the player to help his team, the Leafs, win the Stanley Cup. Blake plays a Kings defenseman who is on the ice when the Stanley Cup is won.
“Anybody who likes Mike Myers-type of comedy will get a kick out this film,’’ Blake said. “It’s actually loosely based on the 1993 Campbell Conference Final series between Los Angeles and Toronto, but in the movie, the series was for the Stanley Cup instead. I was the only guy left from those teams still playing in Los Angeles and Myers knew me, so that’s how this kind of worked out. It was a lot of fun to do.’’
If you’ll recall, the Kings defeated the Leafs in a thrilling seven-game series then, denying the Leafs their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1967. With the series tied, 3-3, Wayne Gretzky
recorded a hat trick in the deciding game to give Los Angeles a 5-4 victory and a berth in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history. Gretzky was quoted as saying that his performance in Game 7 was the best NHL game of his career. The Kings went on to lose in the Stanley Cup Final to the Montreal Canadiens
in five games.
While Gretzky does not make any cameo appearances in The Love Guru
, any hard-core hockey fan will appreciate Blake’s attempt at taking a faceoff against Malco’s character, Darren Roanoke, during the final stages of the movie.
“Let’s put it this way,’’ Blake said, “this is what you get when you give a defenseman a chance to take the draw.’’
Malco was thrilled to play an African-American hockey player, even holding out hope that with more role models, greater diversity one day will come to the game.
“Darren is supposed to be like the new Wayne Gretzky
, so I gave my all to master (skating) and deliver my best,’’ Malco said. “But I’m thinking if my uncoordinated body can learn to skate in six weeks, there must be some really talented kids out there who haven’t had the opportunity yet but could really cut it up.’’
When Blake arrived at ACC to shoot his scenes, he was surprised to see Timberlake, who plays the role of the legendary Kings goalie, Jacques Grande, decked out in goaltending gear.
“The day I was there was Justin’s first day with the goalie equipment, so he was there practicing a few days so I was taking some shots on him,’’ Blake said. “But there were a lot of extras playing Kings and Leafs players and a few other skaters (including former NHLers Jim Thompson and Bob Probert
) and a few minor leaguers, so they had been there about a month filming already when I got in.’’
Myers also recruited Mark Ellis, renowned for creating much of the cinema’s most realistic sports action, including the scenes in the 2004 hit Miracle, the story of the United States 1980 Olympic ice hockey team’s triumph in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Blake was happy to play a small part in promoting the game, even if it was in a light-hearted fashion.
“Everyone will be able to go see it and it’ll be fun,’’ he said. “It’s kind of neat when you have hockey fans who are also big into Hollywood and enjoy promoting the game just as much as we want to. It’s all done in fun, and when you see the way the movie ends, you realize we certainly are dealing with pretty comical movie magic.’’
Contact Mike Morreale at firstname.lastname@example.org.