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Wyatt Russell, former Junior A goalie, getting breakout role in ’22 Jump Street’

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

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Actor Wyatt Russell played Junior A for teams in Ontario, B.C. and the U.S. (The Associated Press)

An actor with a junior hockey background playing a fraternity member, that's wise casting.

When Wyatt Russell was toiling as a junior hockey goalie for teams in locales such as Richmond, B.C., Brampton, Ont., and Chicago a decade ago, playing up his celebrity bloodline seemed to be missing the point. Being the Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell's son obviously made for a privileged childhood that would have been a huge leg up in pursuing a hockey dream. But having parents who were bankable stars in 1980s Hollywood isn't going to help anyone stop pucks with enough consistency to land a starting job.

Russell's background and his ambitions crossed paths while he was playing. In 2003, some of his teammates on the Richmond (B.C.) Sockeyes, where some of his teammates ended up working as extras in the film Miracle, where his father played the famous coach Herb Brooks. Now that he's out of hockey, Wyatt Russell is finding his way in the acting game, where he's hit to have a major role in an upcoming big-budget comedy.

From Borys Kit:

Wyatt Russell, the son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, is joining Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in 22 Jump Street, the sequel to Sony’s hit action comedy 21 Jump Street.

... The part is a major coup for Russell, who up until now has been known for his minor league hockey career. (In fact, he played a hockey player in last year’s Judd Apatow comedy This Is 40.) But he has been slowly making in-roads into screen work, with recent credits that include Cowboys & Aliens and Love and Honor, a drama that also starred Liam Hemsworth and Teresa Palmer.

His part in Jump Street is sizable: He plays a frat brother who bonds with Tatum’s character and is the lead suspect in the case. (The Hollywood Reporter)

It's actually not the first time a British Columbia Hockey League alumnus has played a frat boy. Canadian actor Lochlyn Munro once said he modelled his Cliff O'Malley character in the late '90s cult comedy Dead Man on Campus on his hockey buddies.

(That film included a teenaged Jason Segel, who has co-starred in a few films with Jonah Hill, who will now be co-starring with Wyatt Russell. Please use that the next time you play the Kevin Bacon game on a long car trip and don't be that person who pulls out a smart phone.)

Perhaps this was an inevitable career move for Russell once hockey ran its course, but it's not a sport one can participate in halfway. After a far-flung junior career (five teams in four leagues), he played in the NCAA for the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers and had a pro stint in Europe before a hip condition led to retirement.

The goalie turned actor's first "vivid memory" is of receiving his first pair of skates at age three. That sounds very stereotypical of hockey and less so of Hollywood. Just goes to show every person is several people.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

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