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Former NHL enforcer Colton Orr finds new role in spotlight


The hardest part for Colton Orr was pretending.

After duking it out dozens of times over an NHL career that spanned almost 500 games, Orr was now trying to pretend he was fighting in front of the camera as a first-time actor in "Goon: Last of the Enforcers."

It's the latest step in the spotlight for the 35-year-old Winnipeg native.

Orr retired from the NHL last April, just over a year after his final game with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Though he played in hockey hotbeds like Toronto, New York and Boston, Orr was often reluctant to step in front of the microphones and cameras.

All that is beginning to change as he adjusts to life as a retired player with his two young children and wife, Sabrina. Not only will Orr have a part in the "Goon" sequel, which features Seann William Scott and Liev Schreiber, he's also getting into broadcasting with SportsNet New York.

His real-life story slightly resembles that of Doug Glatt, the main character in "Goon" (Scott), an enforcer forced to confront the end of his playing career. Unlike Orr, who stepped away for good as the NHL transitioned away from enforcers, Glatt decides to give his dream another go.

"It's not always easy when you retire from something that you did for so long, that was your livelihood and everything you've done since you were a kid," said Orr, who's also coaching youth hockey and working with the Rangers' alumni program.

"It's hard, but you have to find ways to push through and figure out what you're going to do next."

Orr, who lives in Westchester, N.Y., was thrilled when Jay Baruchel, the film's Canadian writer and director, asked him to be involved.

He found the nerves were different as an actor.

As a player, he was often worried about getting hurt in a fight. On the set, he would sometimes feel a pit in his stomach when someone would shout, 'Action!'

Orr was worried he might make a mistake and force the shoot to linger longer into the night.

"At first you're like, 'OK, what? What was my line again?'" Orr said with a chuckle. "It was like one word."

Orr was excited to get a trailer of his own on set and spent time between shoots catching up with longtime colleagues like George Parros and George Laraque — both of whom were in the film — as well as some of his acting heroes.

A film and TV buff, Orr was a fan of Scott from "American Pie," Schreiber from "Ray Donovan" and Baruchel for his role in "Tropic Thunder."

He came away somewhat starry-eyed.

"You watch these guys all the time, you see them on TV and in interviews so it was kind of surreal being on set with them and being part of their movie," Orr said.

The fight scenes, which were choreographed beforehand, proved to be the biggest challenge.

As if he were a professional wrestler, Orr was having to sequence his usual fighting motions to script — right punch, left punch, upper-cut, etc., — and sell it hard when he supposedly got hit.

He remembers thinking: "If we can just get in a real fight and just film that, I'm pretty sure that's gonna look good on camera!"

Jonas Siegel, The Canadian Press

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