The Mighty Ducks was released at what can be called the Golden Era of children’s sports movies. The trilogy launched itself as a modern classic that stands right up there alongside Space Jam or Rudy. With the movies being over 20 years old, it’s since spawned into an animated series, an NHL team, and there’s some hope that a fourth movie will be in production. Outside of Emilio Estevez as coach Gordon Bombay, the young cast was made up of mostly unknown actors.
The Mighty Ducks Is A Hockey Version Of The Bad News Bears
Writer Steve Brill confirmed to TMZ that the movie is based on the baseball comedy that served as his inspiration: “I had idolized The Bad News Bears my whole life. I thought that was a great movie, and I thought it would be great to make a movie that could stand up and be another.”
On top of that, Brill was particularly affected by hockey’s growing popularity in California, all thanks to the arrival of Wayne Gretzky.
Steven Brill Was Bummed About Not Being In The Movie
The Little Nicky writer wanted to play Gordon Bombay in the movie. Disney threw him a bone and gave him a small role instead. Brill played the role of Frank Huddy, the lawyer who Bombay defeats in court at the beginning of the first movie. Then he goes and gets busted for a DUI.
The part was shot during the first week of filming, with Brill sticking around through the remainder of the production as a writer.
The Draft Brill Wrote Was Much Darker
It just wasn’t a Disney movie. There weren’t any murders or anything, but there was some adult romance. As far as dark humor goes, there was already that DUI scene at the start of the first movie.
Producer Jordan Kerner had his writer revise the screenplay to make it more kid-friendly. They changed the character of Gordon Bombay to a lawyer. Originally, he was an ex-NHL player who downplayed the whole recovering-from-a-problem issue.
One Of The Stars Of The Movie Could Have Been Played By Someone Else
Future Dawson’s Creek actor Joshua Jackson was never the first choice to play Charlie Conway. A small, unknown actor by the name of Jake Gyllenhaal tried out for the role. Unfortunately, the future star of Donnie Darko didn’t get the part because his parents wouldn’t let him do the movie.
So, Jackson embodied the role of Conway, but it’s interesting to think if either actor’s careers would have been any different if Gyllenhaal went through with the role.
Emilio Estevez Didn’t Think The Mighty Ducks Movie Would Be Successful
The son of Martin Sheen noted to FSN that nobody really expected them to be successful, and called it “kind of a fluke.” In the interview, the actor revealed a few more hidden secrets after making the film.
First off, the actor came out and said that he never knew how to skate before being cast in the movie. Secondly, the actor-turned-director hired Jackson for his movie Bobby based on his experience working with him.
Vincent Larusso Was Originally Cast In A Lesser Role
The actor was going to play one of the Hawks, but in a smaller role. Larusso would get promoted to a more significant role after one of the child actors was fired for being a complete nightmare on the set.
Producer Jordan Kerner revealed to TIME that the kid was a bit of a bully to the other kids. His mother thought of him as Marlon Brando or Brad Pitt. Despite warnings to stop, the kid got the boot.
Fulton Reed And Guy Germaine Are Actually Brothers
Elden Henson played Fulton while his brother Garette played Guy. Elden had to dye his hair brown and change his last name to Ratliff in order to secure the role. He told TV Guide that he owes a lot of his career to the Mighty Ducks trilogy:
“I still get recognized for The Mighty Ducks. I played sports growing up and I’d be playing baseball and the other team would be quacking at me and stuff. I love those movies.”
Many Of The Original Ducks Were Left Out Of The Sequel
Producers wanted characters who were funny, bigger, and had a personality. Unfortunately, that meant some of the original Ducks from the first movie are left in the Minnesota cold. However, the real surprise is that Joshua Jackson was almost recast.
Director Sam Weisman wasn’t too keen on recasting the Canadian actor. But, he managed to survive and portray the character for two more movies. It would have been extremely weird for Jackson to be recast by some unknown actor.
Iceland Was Not The First Villain Choice For D2: The Mighty Ducks
According to Brill, Russia was a bit “too obvious” for many reasons, especially after the fall of the Soviet Union years prior. However, the writer told TIME how he came about with the idea of using Iceland as the random villain:
“I was like, ‘Iceland, oh my god.’ People don’t quite know much about it. It’s got that Nordic mystique. I can make them essentially these blond-haired, blue-eyed menacing villains with funny accents and weird culture.’
The Third Film Was Going To Be Much Different
It’s a little complex, but the movie was going to go back to the Goodwill Games, and the Ducks go back up the rankings. But, the film was going to be done in Europe and Disney was insistent that it should be a high school story.
Of course, the company had the final say. D3 was about the Ducks attending a prep school, but it doesn’t take long for them to clash with the upper class.
There Might Be A Fourth Movie
Kerner revealed to TIME that there have been discussions with Disney about making another film in the series. It could, however, be a reboot, or have some of the original cast return as themselves as coaches/players in their thirties.
But, it’s hard to picture Emilio Estevez making a cameo if it ever happens. Nevertheless, people like Joshua Jackson are among the few who would love to see a revival. Nothing is currently in the works.
Larusso originally had a smaller role but got promoted as Adam Banks, who ends up on the Ducks. Gordon Bombay realizes that Banks resides within the team’s district. But, since those days of playing a hockey star, Larusso hasn’t done much.
However, he made a brief and unexpected return to the big screen. He portrayed a bank robber in the 2008 parody Superhero Movie. Today, Larusso works as an inventory controller for Soho House.
Tamberelli’s only appearance came in the first movie with the role of Tommy Duncan. Tamberelli opted to take on the part of Little Pete Wrigley in Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete and Pete, a part he’s still recognized for.
Later on, he lent his voice for the role of Arnold Perlstein in The Magic School Bus. The actor would again use his voice for the role of Michael De Santa in Grand Theft Auto V.
Doherty is best known for playing the role of Lester Averman. Plus, he had a role as William “Heed” MacKenzie in So I Married An Axe Murder. As soon as the actor transitioned into adulthood, the roles started to dry up.
He was a supporting actor in Computer Guy, Masterpiece Video Employee, and Twitchy Guy. He didn’t get credit for his small role as a butler in the Oscar-winning film, Argo.
Brandon Quintin Adams
Adams played Jesse, the sarcastic forward who’s skeptical of everyone else. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because the actor played Kenny DeNunez in The Sandlot. Adams also appeared in The Fresh-Prince of Bel Air and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, playing Zeke in the “Smooth Criminal” segment.
He was the lead actor in Wes Craven’s The People Under The Stairs, and he provided his voice for Rai in Kingdom Hearts II.
The actress played Connie Moreau, the only girl on the team who isn’t afraid to push the boys around. After the Ducks, the actress landed some of her most prominent roles.
In 2001, Moreau stared as Katie in the cult-following Wet Hot American Summer. She reprised the very same role in the prequel Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. Moreau has piled in a few small-screen appearances on shows like The O.C. and The People v O.J. Simpson.
Henson played the hulking enforcer Fulton Reed. The Mighty Ducks enforcer would be a pivotal part in the next two films. Following D3, the actor appeared as Elden Madden in Cast Away and Turk in Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd.
His career would turn around after he played the part of Pollux in the two-part finale of the Hunger Games. He’s also portrayed well-meaning lawyer Foggy Nelson in two seasons of Netflix’s Daredevil.
We’ll forever remember Thompson’s role of Russ Tyler for yelling “It’s knuckle puck time!!” in D2. However, the actor had an incredible career since the time the movie was released. Thompson is the other half of Kenan and Kel, the pair that appeared in the classic Good Burger.
Since 2003, the All That star has been on Saturday Night Live, and he’s the longest-tenured cast member. In 2018, Thompson lent his voice for The Grinch as Bricklebaum.
Estevez was the arrogant defense attorney who ends up coaching a peewee hockey team. Estevez would carry on acting into the early 2000s. But, these days the former star of The Breakfast Club has toned it back to directing.
In 2006, he directed the film Bobby, which took over six years to write. Twelve years later, Estevez would direct another feature film, The Public. The actor wrote, directed, in appeared in the movie alongside Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater.
It’s still hard to believe that Jake Gyllenhaal was considered for the role of Charlie Conway. Nevertheless, Jackson prevailed in the role, which opened more doors for the Canadian. People still know him for being a main cast member on Dawson’s Creek.
He currently stars in the successful Showtime series The Affair, playing the protagonist Cole Lockhart. In March 2018, Jackson made his theatrical debut on Broadway in, Children of a Lesser God, playing the role of James Leeds.
Weiss was considered a perfect fit for Greg Goldberg due to his big-boned appearance. Luckily, goalies don’t do a lot of skating, and Weiss learned to stay off his backside and on his feet.
Following The Mighty Ducks, the actor appeared in Heavyweights alongside Ben Stiller. He would enjoy a run as a freak named Sean on Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks. Weiss also had small roles on The King of Queens and Boy Meets World.
Weiss Was Not An Adept Skater
Director Pete Berg was pleasantly diplomatic, telling TIME “He just had to be able to get into his crouch and be able to defend the goal.” But, the actor wasn’t alone because the other actors had stunt doubles, needing to perform well to be believable.
That’s when producers brought in a hockey trainer to quickly teach the kids how to skate. It was a bit better than summer camp too, knowing that the actors were getting paid to skate.
He Broke Into Acting On PeeWee’s Playhouse
Before people knew him as Goldberg, he was on the popular Peewee’s Playhouse. Weiss would play the character named Elvis, a member of the Playhouse Gang. Plus, he was one of the groups of kids who would stop by and play with Peewee Herman.
However, Weiss’s time on the show was short-lived. His character only appeared on the first season of the show which aired in 1986. Weiss was only eight years old at the time.
Weiss Appeared In Nation Wide Commercials
Following his appearance on PeeWee’s Playhouse, the actor was in 30 ads nationwide. One of the most memorable ads goes back to 1990. At a time when watching movies on VHS tapes was the norm, Weiss’ fame came from a Pizza Hut ad.
The commercial would make an appearance at the beginning of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie. The New Jersey native also appeared in ads for Kraft Macaroni and Castrol.
After The Mighty Ducks, Weiss Appeared In Drillbit Taylor
Weiss didn’t really have any acting credits in the 2000s. However, he did have a small role in a movie directed by Mighty Ducks writer Steven Brill. This time, Weiss made an appearance in the comedy film Drillbit Taylor, starring Owen Wilson and Nate Hartley.
Instead of being a goalie and providing some comedic relief, the actor had a different role. Weiss played the school bus driver at the beginning of the film.
In 2017, Weiss Was Arrested Twice
Weiss’s last known ad was a Verizon commercial in 2009. After that, the former child star went down a dark path, only to resurface in 2017. This time, Weiss wasn’t doing commercials or playing a small role. Instead, he was arrested for stealing from an electronics store.
He was arrested for stealing and was sentenced to 150 days in LA County Jail. Authorities reduced his sentence to 12 days. But, almost a week later, Weiss was busted for meth possession.
Weiss Got Into Trouble Again
It seems as though being arrested twice wasn’t enough for Weiss to stay out of trouble. Instead, the actor was reportedly picked up in Oroville, CA, in August 2018. This time, he got charged with public intoxication and spent the night in the drunk tank.
To make matters worse, TMZ got a copy of his mugshot, revealing that the actor wasn’t looking in the best shape. He looked a lot older than someone who’s 40 years old.
Following His Public Intoxication Arrest, Weiss Entered Rehab
Weiss, in an attempt to turn his life around, announced he would be entering rehab, leaving a lengthy message on Facebook.
“At this time, in an effort to break free from the self-destructive patterns of behavior and drug abuse that have landed me at rock bottom, (to be real… BELOW rock bottom. Even rock bottom is like, how’d you get all the way down there?’) I have checked in to a well regarded, long-term rehabilitation center.”
He Also Expressed Gratitude For The Support From Mighty Ducks Fans
In a continuation of his Facebook post, Weiss said: “I hear stories about how much Heavyweights or the Ducks movies impacted their lives or helped them through hard times or just made them laugh over and over.”
“Such a testament to all the blood, sweat and tears everybody put into those flicks during that magical time over 20 years ago. Please believe how medicinal these personal exchanges are for me.”
The Rehab Stint Wasn’t A Long One
After being arrested and entering rehab, everyone worried about the former child star. But apparently, Weiss’s attempts to live a better life have not gone according to plan.
TMZ reported that the actor was arrested again in November. The former actor was caught shoplifting once again. This time, he stole over $200 worth of products from a Rite Aid store in Los Angeles. Weiss now faces a petty theft charge and a probation violation.