LAS VEGAS, Nevada - Alexa Lemieux has been surrounded by hockey her entire life, being the daughter of Penguins owner and Hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux.
So as she embarks on her acting career it's only fitting that her debut film, "Odd Man Rush," is a movie about hockey.
"It was really special for my first film to be a hockey movie. I felt really comfortable," Alexa, 21, said. "Half of the scenes I did were in a hockey rink. So, it was awesome."
The movie is based on a book by Bill Keenan titled: "Odd Man Rush: A Harvard Kid's Hockey Odyssey from Central Park to Somewhere in Sweden - with Stops Along the Way." It's a comical coming-of-age story set in the quirky world of European minor league hockey.
The film follows Bobby Sanders, who scores a spot on the fringes of pro hockey in European minor leagues after playing hockey at Harvard. Alexa plays the role of Annabel, a Harvard student and friend from Bobby's life in school.
"It's a small role, but I think the same amount of work goes into any kind of role you get," Alexa said. "You try and find what makes the character the way she is. You start from childhood and think about what she's like and how she carries herself and why she does the things that she does. It's all about background work and what you decide to make it."
For Alexa, the movie is a big first step in her acting career, something she has aspired to since her youth.
"Ever since I was a little girl it's all I wanted to do," Alexa said. "This is my first movie, so hopefully there will be more to come."
Alexa took acting classes while attending USC, as well as having an acting coach since the age of 13. She graduated with a degree from USC in real estate development for "something to fall back on."
Alexa was contacted for the role by the film's co-producers Howard and Karen Baldwin, who formerly owned the Penguins before selling the team to Alexa's father. After auditioning, Alexa got the part.
"I just had one audition. A few months later we were on set in New York," Alexa said. "We were there for about two weeks. It was awesome. It was in a small town in New York, the cast and the locals there loved it."
Part of that cast is Trevor Gretzky, who is the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky. Though they grew up the children of hockey heroes, the duo hadn't met until the day they filmed a scene together on set.
The movie has many other hockey ties. Jessarae Robitaille, son of former Penguin Luc Robitaille, contributing original songs to the soundtrack. Dylan Playfair, son of former NHLer Jim Playfair, is in the cast. Paul Stewart, who refereed over 1,000 games and is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, cameos as a Harvard hockey coach.
"We're really excited," Alexa said. "We're hoping to get accepted into Toronto Film Festival. That would be really cool for our debut. We'll see where that goes. I'm really excited for it to come out and to see it. It's such a fun movie. I think everyone is going to like it."