Goon se­quel will be darker, hockey-mad writer prom­ises

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS & LIFE - By Nel­son Wyatt

MON­TREAL — It’s numb­ingly hu­mid out­side, the Stan­ley Cup has been de­cided and the NHL’s stars are shin­ing on the golf course. Yet hockey is not far from Jay Baruchel’s mind.

Specif­i­cally, get­ting the se­quel to Goon, his pop­u­lar movie ode to hockey, be­fore the cam­eras.

“We’re fu­ri­ously typ­ing away,” Baruchel said of him­self and writ­ing part­ner Jesse Chabot. “If all goes ac­cord­ing to plan, we’ll be shoot­ing this time next year.”

Goon, which came out in 2011, starred Seann Wil­liam Scott as a dim but well-mean­ing bouncer whose skill at throw­ing and tak­ing punches lands him a spot as the res­i­dent en­forcer on a mi­nor-league hockey team.

Baruchel, a hockey-mad Mon­trealer, co-wrote, co-pro­duced and co-starred in Goon and says he’s pleased with how the se­quel is com­ing to­gether.

“I’m proud as hell of the first one but I think we’re go­ing to smoke it with No. 2,” Baruchel said Thurs­day as he pro­moted a July 25 show he will host at the Just For Laughs com­edy fes­ti­val

While fans can ex­pect “all the stuff you loved from the first one and then some,” Baruchel says Goon 2 will have “a bit more grav­i­tas” and be a bit darker.

The first Goon ex­am­ined how the char­ac­ters find their place in the world. Baruchel says the sec­ond film looks at what hap­pens when that dis­cov­ery has a price at­tached.

That will see char­ac­ters be­ing taken to places no­body would have guessed, he says.

“We’re re­ally, re­ally ex­cited and proud of it. As far as I’m con­cerned, it’s bet­ter than the first one al­ready.”

Work­ing on the Goon se­quel is only one of the things on the crowded plate of the young Mon­treal ac­tor, who has worked along­side screen icons such as Clint East­wood and Mor­gan Free­man.

He is in the re­boot of the fu­tur­is­tic cop drama Robo­Cop, which filmed in Toronto last year and is now in post­pro­duc­tion for re­lease next year. Baruchel, who ad­mits he is choosy about his roles, says he jumped at the chance to play one of the cor­po­rate big­wigs in the com­pany that makes money off law en­force­ment.

“I leapt at the chance to get to work with Gary Old­man and Michael Keaton,” he said. “Old­man’s a bona fide hero of mine and Keaton’s movies raised me.

“To go work with heroes of mine, it was a spe­cial, spe­cial thing.”

As for host­ing the spot­light show at the com­edy fes­ti­val later this month, Baruchel says that kind of ef­fort in­volves “a dif­fer­ent dis­ci­pline.”

Asked what he’s do­ing to pre­pare, he quipped, “Not as much as I should.”

The un­pre­ten­tious Baruchel, who shows plenty of wit both on and off­screen, has no trou­ble reel­ing off the names of co­me­di­ans he finds funny, in­clud­ing clas­sic fun­ny­man Buster Keaton, Kids in the Hall, Michael Richards of Se­in­feld and Bri­tain’s Rowan Atkin­son and Ricky Ger­vais.

He’s well aware of the chal­lenges of do­ing live com­edy.

“You get your one shot per joke and there’s not a lot of wig­gle room,” he said.

The co­me­di­ans will be the ones do­ing the heavy lift­ing at the Just For Laughs show, Baruchel says, al­though he and Chabot will con­trib­ute some bits for his seg­ments. That’s as close as he’ll get to a ca­reer in standup com­edy.

“It would re­quire too much prep time and en­ergy,” he said. “If I’m not in my py­jama pants on my couch, I’m out­side of my com­fort zone.”

The Just For Laughs ap­pear­ance is the lat­est stage per­for­mance for Baruchel, who re­cently re­ceived rave re­views for star­ring in a Mon­treal pro­duc­tion of Sher­lock Holmes.

“It was awe­some, en­thralling, ex­hil­a­rat­ing, hor­ri­fy­ing, ex­haust­ing,” he said, adding do­ing the play was a “dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish com­pletely” from what he usu­ally does.

“Dif­fer­ent dis­ci­pline, flex­ing mus­cles that I haven’t used ever and an amaz­ing learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

CHRIS YOUNG / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Jay Baruchel prefers act­ing to standup com­edy.

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