His on-screen education becomes clear as he explains how he tackled the character of Doug Glatt, the impossibly sweet, but violent hockey enforcer in Goon.
“He’s not Peter Sellers in Being There,” he says. “I wanted to make sure he came across as a real guy,” says Scott. “Not Forest Gump on skates.”
Director Mike Dowse chimes in with his own film comparisons.
“Doug reminded me of Lenny from Mice and Men or Rocky Balboa or even Chauncey Gardner. A great simpleton character.”
It’s a risky role. Play him too broadly and he’ll be a caricature, underplay him and the audience won’t care about him.
“It’s a performance thing,” says Dowse. “What we did was develop a ‘Doug Filter’ that Seann would put on as an actor. We talked about how Doug isn’t slow, he’s careful. He chooses his words. He tries to be polite. Once Seann got the filter, you could throw anything through it. It’s a really difficult thing to do; play a simpleton smartly.”
Throwing ideas through the filter is one thing, but Doug also throws punches. Lots of them.
“As violent as it is, and as wild as the fights are, you still love my character,” says Scott, “because he doesn’t fight just to fight. He has a moral code. Doug is such a good, sweet guy, you can get away with that because there is an interesting dichotomy between the guy who’s out on the ice bleeding for his team and the man he is off ice.”
“We weren’t trying to glorify the violence at all,” says Dowse. “We’re just trying to show the impact of being in this guy’s skates and having the audience experience that.”
“I also loved how polite these guys are,” Scott says of the hockey enforcers he met while researching the part. “They’re like, ‘Good fight,’ after they’ve just beaten someone on the ice.”
One aspect of the role that eluded Scott was the skating.
“If there are any shots of me skating fairly well that would be my double,” he laughs. “Anytime I’m falling down, that was me. The double had to actually dumb down his skating to match mine.”