Jay Baruchel showcases his passion for hockey in Goon
"Hockey is my religion," Jay Baruchel tells me over the phone with not a single hint of sarcasm. "The Habs play 82 games a year; I probably watch 76 of them. It’s how I organize my weeks." And while that might sound extreme, just you wait. "Even as I sit here right now, I’m wearing a Habs jersey, sitting on a Habs pillow and playing with my Habs wallet."
Yes, I’d say Baruchel is a very big hockey fan.
Baruchel’s love (read: obsession) for the game served him well on Goon, which was directed by Michael Dowse of Fubar fame. The film shines for two main reasons, not the least of which is its authenticity and evident appreciation for the sport itself. The second reason is the film’s star, Seann William Scott. Famous for comedic parts in the American Pie series and the classic Dude, Where’s My Car?, Scott would not be my first choice for the sensitive role of Doug Glatt, a guy going nowhere and getting up there in years, who discovers his calling working as an enforcer for a minor league hockey team in Halifax, Nova Scotia. For Baruchel, there was no other choice.
"We were very lucky that he was able to do it, and I can say this now that the movie is made and about to come out, but we didn’t have a backup!" Aside from being glad it all worked out, Baruchel also has nothing but kind things to say about Scott. "Anybody who has ever met Seann for 30 seconds knows that he has a massive heart and is the most humble, disarming guy you’ll ever meet. He puts most Canadians to shame."
While Baruchel has been making waves in both Canada and the USA with his acting, Goon marks the first time he has written a feature screenplay. "When you see these people connect to these characters that you created, so much so that they start to know the character better than you, that was what was most exciting. These are people I wrote, but the actors took ownership of them."
While Baruchel is riotously vulgar as Doug’s best friend in Goon, it is clearly his role as writer that left him feeling smashed against the boards – y’know, in a good way. "It was a difficult movie to make, but even at its hardest point, it was still this thing that came from my heart and my head that was now becoming real. I was just on a high the entire time we were filming."