“Mystery Alaska” hit the big screens in 1999…you’ve probably seen it. A lot of great actors in the film. If you’re a Kings fan, the movie probably hit home a little more with one particular character…Jim Fox, who of course played himself as a TV commentator alongside Mike Myers (aka Donnie Shulzhoffer).
LA Kings Insider had a chance to speak with Fox about his experiences working in the movie and memories of being on the set with Myers.
Q: Talk about your experiences on the set of Mystery Alaska
A: Well, I think the first thing I have to say is that it was extremely professional. Certainly I had heard a lot about the movie industry, but never had experienced it firsthand. I had to go get fitted for clothes, you get [to the set] and you have a little bit of a dressing room and food is there any time you want it. Everyone is there to help you do whatever you’re trying to do. I was of course was only a small part of it, but I was very impressed with how organized they were, how professional they were and how serious they took their job.
Q: Talk about your scene with Mike Myers
A: Well, I only did one scene with Mike Myers. The whole taping was done at Sony Studios in Culver City and we had a green screen behind us, so they could make us look like we were at an event like we were inside of a studio covering a game. You get an understanding of what actors go through with a whole bunch of cameras right in front of us, and then you have 10-15 people behind the cameras: you have camera operators, the director and a whole bunch of bunch of other people behind there, but you’ve got to try to focus on what your job is. Obviously Mike has a lot more experience at it than I do. The first time I had three or four lines, and I remember the first take I asked a question to Mike Myers, and I had it pretty much all memorized, so I asked him the first question, he gives his answer, and I just paused and remembered, “Oh ya, I have another question there!” So they had to cut there and start all over again. That was basically the only time we had to start over and do it again. With Mike, he didn’t really have lines. He was able to improvise and do whatever he wanted to do. I think from that standpoint he knew what the theme was going to be, he knew the questions that were to be asked and he knew the situation…but he just went at it. The thing for me a couple times was I knew that they had different cameras, and shot from different angles, but I’m breaking up laughing. He’s going off on his lines, and I’m just howling and almost rolling on the floor at times, and I’m trying to stay out of the way of the camera, I’m trying to keep my voice down, a whole bunch of different things. I would say everyone else was professional, but I don’t know if I was because I wasn’t able to keep my cool under those circumstances.
Q: How did you get the call that they wanted you to be a part of this movie?
A: I think that’s an interesting part because I got a call from David E. Kelley’s office and I obviously took it. I’ve played with David in a few charity games over the years, so I knew who he was and talked to him in the past, but I wouldn’t say we were friends or anything like that. So we talked for a few minutes and he told me about his movie and at the end he tells me about an old timer’s tournament coming up and asked if I would play on their team. So I was wondering if he called me for the movie or called me to play on his team, so that was kind of funny. I appreciated the call and was kind of caught off guard by it because I had no idea he had this project going, and he was one of the main writers and producers, so that was certainly a call I will never forget.
Q: When you watch the movie today, what is the first thing that goes through your mind?
A: In all honesty, the first thing that goes through my mind was how funny it was. I thought it was hilarious. When I watched it, I thought it was very well done. I thought the inside-the-locker-room scenes were almost dead on in the way it is in a team’s locker room, so that really caught my attention. Of course, the on ice scenes I was looking to see how people were skating and things of that sort. I wasn’t there when they did all the shooting for hockey, but obviously they picked a lot of solid hockey players. Russell Crowe obviously had not skated before so they had to do all the angles, and make sure it looked like he’s skating and those types of things. All the kids that they got to play the real hockey players did an outstanding job. Overall, I just thought it was interesting how it all comes together, and like I said I thought it was hilarious, and of course at the end you have the inspirational part like a lot of sports movies. I know there was some language that was not appropriate for a lot of people, but again that to me is what brought more of the reality to it, especially when I was talking about the scenes inside the locker rooms and how hockey players talk.