Mighty Ducks Anniversary: Joshua Jackson and More Reflect on Trilogy With 10 Duck-Worthy Facts
Charlie Conway forever! Time magazine got its ducks in a row this month (pun intended) when it reached out to Mighty Ducks star Joshua Jackson (Conway), director Peter Berg, writer Steven Brill, and more for interviews to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the cult classic's sequel, D2: The Mighty Ducks. (The Disney hit first became a classic with the 1992 original Mighty Ducks. In 1996, its third installment, D3: The Mighty Ducks, premiered.)
Cue the Bash Brothers and "Goldberg!" memories—and read what they had to say!
1. Darker Ducks?
Brill wrote the script while living with Berg in Culver City, Calif., unemployed—and admitted it wasn't supposed to be as kid friendly as it turned out. "It wasn't a Disney movie. There weren't murders or anything, but there was some adult romance. And a lot of hockey—that was always the key thing," he said. "As far as dark humor, there was always that DUI at the beginning, and I don't think that would hold up right now in a Disney movie. Then in the movie there are sort of having-sex-with-your-mother jokes in there and flatulence jokes, and guys are getting hit in the nuts."
2. Gordon Bombay Switcheroo!
Berg, whose credits include the TV shows Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, and About a Boy, was eyeing Emilio Estevez's pee-wee hockey player-turned-lawyer-turned-hockey coach part for himself. "I was sort of starting out as an actor, and the plan was originally that I was going to star in it. We went in there and Steve said, 'Here's my man.' And the financiers kind of looked at me and then looked at Steve and were like, 'Yeah. No, he's not your man, Steve,'" he recalled. "So, Emilio Estevez was the man, and, you know, the rest is history."
3. Joshua Jackson Was a Shoe-In
"When everyone saw Josh, everyone wanted Josh. I thought he was really grounded and good," Brill said. The Fringe alum, however, thought otherwise. "God, I might be making this story up, but I think this is true. That this was my first lesson in Hollywood about bad auditions," he said. "I went in and I auditioned for Charlie, and then they asked me to audition for one of the other kids, and I think I was pretty upset by it because I didn't understand that that was a good thing. You know, that they were trying to see if you could do anything else."
4. Real Life Hans
Hans, played by Joss Ackland, was based on a man who worked at a Culver City skate shop. "One day Brill and I were skating, and Brill hit the boards at a bad angle and broke his leg, and he was writhing around on ice," Berg recalled. "Hans kind of came over and looked down at him, and Brill said, 'Hans, I think I broke my leg.' And Hans paused and looked at him and said, 'Well, that’s your own personal problem' and walked away."
Credit: Buena Vista Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection
5. Fulton Fail!
Elden Henson, who played shy Fulton Reed, didn't know the first thing about playing hockey before filming. "I was in New York at the time. I auditioned for the film and I guess there are some people who thought I kind of didn't really look the role, so Jordan and Steve Herek, the director, they flew me to Minnesota, dyed my hair, put wardrobe on me, even put like a little fake scar on my face and actually screen-tested me under the name Peter Quinn. And then I got the job," he said. "My skating ability was that of zero. I grew up in L.A., man, so I played baseball and football and stuff like that. But I’d never played hockey. It wasn't really on my radar."
6. Adam Banks Blues
The actor originally cast as Banks was fired after becoming somewhat of a bully to the other young stars on set. Vincent Larusso, who was already hired for a much smaller role, eventually took his place. "It was kind of strange. Definitely a life-changing event. I was cast along with two other Hawks: Larson and McGill. Their names are like burned in my memory. At that point I was cast as one of them, I just wasn't cast as a particular one of them," he said. "Then the young kid that they had hired to do Adam Banks, he was let go, and they asked me if I would audition while I was already there in Minneapolis, and so I did."
7. Coach Catastrophe
The Minnesota weather was so frigid that Estevez and Heidi Kling, who played Jackson's mother Casey Conway, ran into a Christmas Story dilemma. "When they kissed, their lips stuck together," producer Jordan Kerner revealed. "We had to get makeup to grab warm water and put droplets on their lips so they could actually separate."
8. Iceland's Swag
Danish actor Carsten Norgaard, who played the intimidating (and basically terrifying) Iceland Coach Wolf "The Dentist" Stansson in D2, looked to U.S. coaches for inspiration. "I had thought about American sports coaches and I like to sometimes anchor a part in a reality, in a real character. I mean, I loved the tapes of so many U.S. coaches," he said. "When I saw Pat Riley, his slickness, his style, his coolness, his swagger, that spoke to me. And he sort of became my base for the character."
9. Adios, Estevez!
Jackson thought Estevez's short time in the franchise's third installment was, well, weird. (At the time, Estevez was too busy starring in and directing The War at Home. Jeffrey Nordling stepped in as Coach Ted Orion for the film's college setting.) "Emilio explained the reasons why he couldn’t come back and it is a business and so we all understood the business reasons for it. But yeah, it was weird," Jackson admitted. "And then at the same time, it wasn’t all that weird because at that point, we were 17, and at 13, he basically made this thing happen. I look back on it and I'm amazed that he was patient enough to be able to deal with us as a bunch of totally unprofessional 15-year-olds."
10. Charlie's Comeback?
Jackson wants the quack pack back! "I feel like a fourth film should happen, and if there was space for any of the original kids to come back and have a role, I would be surprised that anybody didn't want to do it," the Dawson's Creek alum said. "The next generation should have its own version. Not that we need to come back as adults, but I hope my kids grow up and play pickup hockey and I hope that they have their own movies like my generation had those movies. In that way, yeah, of course, I'd be a part of something like that."