Let the Goon times roll

New mom Ali­son Pill chats about her lat­est movie and grow­ing up in Mid­town

Bayview Post - - Arts - by Macken­zie Pat­ter­son

“I grew up in the Repub­lic of Rath­nelly, which is to­tally a known repub­lic,” laughs ac­tress Ali­son Pill, re­fer­ring to the small re­gion be­tween the An­nex and For­est Hill. “It’s not al­ways ac­knowl­edged that it’s a repub­lic, but it is.”

Since burst­ing into the col­lec­tive con­scious­ness back in 2010 with Scott Pil­grim vs. the World, the Toronto-born thes­pian has given birth to a baby daugh­ter and, this month, re­turns to the big screen with a hotly an­tic­i­pated se­quel, Goon: Last of the En­forcers. Pill be­gan her act­ing ca­reer early. “I started when I was 10,” she says, orig­i­nally dip­ping her feet into the in­dus­try thanks to books on tape and an­i­ma­tion. “I got an agent in Toronto, and at the time, be­cause of where the dol­lar was, there was a ton of pro­duc­tion go­ing on in Toronto, and so I just started work­ing.”

Since her for­ma­tive years in Canada’s pint-sized repub­lic, Pill has acted in a wide va­ri­ety of movies and TV se­ries, gar­ner­ing sev­eral awards and hon­ours for her work. She re­ceived a Gemini nom­i­na­tion for The Pil­lars of the Earth and a Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress nod from the Van­cou­ver Film Crit­ics Cir­cle for the first Goon movie. Pill’s most re­cent project is Goon:

Last of the En­forcers, the se­quel to 2011’s Goon. The movies chron­i­cle the story of Doug “the Thug” Glatt — an un­der­achiev­ing bouncer turned semi-pro hockey player, played by Seann Wil­liam Scott ( Amer­i­can Pie) — and his ev­er­sup­port­ive wife, Eva, played by Pill. Al­though Glatt is the tough en­forcer of the Hal­i­fax High­landers, he’s also the glue that holds the team to­gether and a true softie at heart. In the sec­ond film, he goes head-to-head with an an­gry ri­val, An­ders Cain (played by Wyatt Rus­sell of Black Mir­ror’s Playtest episode), and faces pos­si­ble re­tire­ment due to in­jury, all while build­ing a fam­ily and a home with Eva. In the film, Glatt’s team must deal with the chal­lenges the team faces on ice, as Eva pre­pares for mother­hood. Co-writ­ten and di­rected by fel­low Cana­dian Jay Baruchel, the sec­ond Goon film is full of even more out­ra­geous scenes and slap­stick hu­mour than the first film. Think blood, gore and plenty of locker-room jokes. Pill says film­ing the se­quel was a unique ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause it was Baruchel’s di­rec­to­rial de­but, and the en­tire cast, which also in­cludes Elisha Cuth­bert ( 24) and Liev Schreiber ( X-Men), was keen to re­unite.

“Ev­ery­body com­ing back to­gether to film the sec­ond movie was so special, and to be part of Jay’s first di­rect­ing gig was so ex­cit­ing,” Pill says. “Hav­ing done the first one, we all knew we were go­ing to have a good time.” Baruchel, known for his roles in

This Is the End and Knocked Up, di­rected and co-wrote the screen­play for the Goon se­quel and also acted as the char­ac­ter of Pat, Glatt’s foul-mouthed best friend.

The ac­tor-di­rec­tor pair­ing made for quite a few on-set anec­dotes.

“It was pretty un­for­get­table watch­ing Jay hav­ing to di­rect while dressed as Pat and fin­ish a scene [with] Seann Wil­liam Scott and then say­ing, ‘Cut!’ There were a few mo­ments of mul­ti­ple hats be­ing worn,” Pill says. “It was great.”

Baruchel’s new di­rec­to­rial gig wasn’t the only change since Goon. This time, film­ing was dif­fer­ent, too: shot in Toronto in­stead of Win­nipeg, and the scenes with Pill and Scott were com­pleted be­fore the hockey arena scenes.

“We kind of did this lit­tle do­mes­tic fam­ily com­edy for a cou­ple of weeks, and then they all went off and shot a hockey movie,” she says. “The scenes in the house with Seann and me were to­tally sep­a­rate from the scenes in the arena with the dudes on skates, but it was mostly this lovely lit­tle fam­ily movie that I was do­ing.”

Pill at­tended Vaughan Road Acad­emy as a teen, grow­ing up in the afore­men­tioned Repub­lic of Rath­nelly. The area is known for its tight-knit com­mu­nity and strong sense of fun and re­bel­lion. To wit, back in ’ 67, the repub­lic se­ceded from Canada and later asked the of­fice of then prime min­is­ter Pierre El­liott Trudeau for a Cana­dian for­eign aid grant to help es­tab­lish a lo­cal play­ground.

“We had a pa­rade ev­ery year and a queen,” Pill says of the area.

Pill now lives in L.A., but she tries to get back to T.O. as of­ten as she can. “There’s a lot more pro­duc­tion hap­pen­ing in Toronto now. I’ve been able to be up there work­ing for the past three sum­mers,” she says. “Some of the crew I’ve known for 15 years.”

When she does get to T.O., one of her favourite din­ing des­ti­na­tions is Fresh. Pill says she has eased up on be­ing fully ve­gan since giv­ing birth, but veg­e­tar­ian and ve­gan restau­rant Fresh is still one of her non-ne­go­tiable lo­cal go-tos.

“Fresh is a must! I al­ways, al­ways eat there when I come to Toronto,” she says.

One of her most ad­mirable qual­i­ties is her char­i­ta­ble ef­forts. She re­cently posted an im­age to In­sta­gram pos­ing with an ar­ray of brown bag lunches for home­less peo­ple in her ‘hood, as part of her stated aim to “make the world a lit­tle less mean.”

Pill is now up for a spot of respite, tak­ing time to fo­cus on her tough­est job yet: mother­hood. She and hus­band Joshua Leonard, a writer, ac­tor and di­rec­tor, re­cently wel­comed their daugh­ter into the world, and Pill is fo­cused on par­ent­ing for now be­fore work re­sumes.

“I have a cou­ple of things com­ing up in the spring and sum­mer, but noth­ing is of­fi­cial yet. Right now is baby time,” she says. “Try­ing to keep the baby from dy­ing: that’s my main parental goal for the first year. Make sure she’s eat­ing, sleep­ing and not dy­ing!”

Goon: Last of the En­forcers hits the­atres March 17.

Ac­tress Ali­son Pill re­turns to the big screen in this month’s ‘Goon: Last of the En­forcers’

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