The early ’90s produced some of the greatest kid-themed sports movies ever made: Lady Bugs, Little Giants, The Sandlot, Rookie of the Year, Angels in the Outfield and 3 Ninjas (ninja fighting is a sport). The early ’90s also produced a movie that was so original and fun, it deserved to happen 3 times: The Mighty Ducks, D2: The Mighty Ducks and D3: The Mighty Ducks.
D2: The Mighty Ducks recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of its release, and TIME Magazine interviewed some of the cast and crew to get the scoop on the making of the movie. Here’s a recap of some of the things you probably didn’t know about The Mighty Ducks:
1. It was one of the first hockey movies ever to exist.
Hockey wasn’t a popular sport in the United States before Wayne Gretzky showed up in 1988, so there really weren’t any hockey movies until The Mighty Ducks (besides the cult classic Slapshot, but let’s get real, we weren’t allowed to watch R-rated movies yet). Disney was ready for a hockey movie, and so were the rest of us.
2. The writer’s inspiration was Bad News Bears.
The writer, Steve Brill, idolized Bad News Bears, and wanted to make a movie that was just as good and just as sporty. He wanted to make a movie that really showcased hockey so it wasn’t just incidental to the story line. Considering that hockey quickly became a mainstream sport in the United States after the first movie was released, I think it’s safe to say that he succeeded.
3. The Anaheim Ducks were named after The Mighty Ducks.
Based on the success of the movie, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim were founded in 1993 by Disney. The hockey franchise was sold in 2005, and the team name was changed to The Anaheim Ducks. There has never been another professional sports team named after a movie. Or a duck.
4. Half of the actors didn’t know how to skate.
Not only did the kids on the team need to be good comedic actors, they needed to know how to skate. In the first movie, they all had stunt doubles, but they needed to be able to perform well enough to be credible and believable. A well-known hockey trainer was brought in to quickly teach the kids how to skate. It was like a free summer hockey camp. Actually, it was better than that because the campers got paid.
5. Some of the actors still get harassed on the ice.
Some of the actors still play hockey, and still get checked for being members of the Mighty Ducks. But that’s hockey. If people aren’t throwing you around and shouting mean things at you, you’re probably playing tennis.
6. Bullying wasn’t tolerated on set.
The original actor who played Adam Banks (a villain from the other team) was bullying some of the other actors during hockey camp. One of the producers gave him a warning that he would be sent home if it continued, but it continued. The kid was sent home, and the role was recast. If you’re a bully, you will lose friends AND movie stardom.
7. Minnesota is a really cold place to shoot a movie.
You probably already knew that Minnesota is really cold in the winter, but did you know that it can get down to negative 50 degrees? Positive 50 degrees can be chilly, so negative 50 degrees seems not okay for humans. During a kissing scene between Emilio Estevez and Heidi Kling, it was so cold that their lips stuck together. The makeup artist had to drop warm water on their lips so they could separate.
8. The Mighty Ducks Bill.
Minnesota had so much Mighty Duck pride, they passed the Mighty Ducks Bill (best name for a bill ever). The bill created new ice skating rinks to accommodate all-girls teams in an effort to mainstream girls into boys’ teams, which is something that hadn’t really happened in other cities until that point.
9. We basically have Michael Eisner’s kids to thank for The Mighty Ducks trilogy.
Michael Eisner was the CEO of Disney. He decided to move forward with making the movie, because he was a big hockey fan. He had been going to his sons’ hockey games for years, and before he even read the script, he already knew he wanted to make a hockey film. So, thanks to three hockey-playing young boys, a hockey franchise was born.
10. There may be more in store for The Mighty Ducks franchise.
They’ve talked about doing a 4th movie and about doing a Broadway show. I’m not sure I can get behind disrupting the pristine perfection ofThe Mighty Ducks trilogy and turning it into a quadrilogy (is that even a thing?), but I can definitely get behind singing and dancing hockey players.
Featured image via CinemaBlend