Hab at heart: Marc-André Grondin
MONTREAL – Whether he’s on a red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, a movie set in Paris or in his living room in Montreal, Marc-André Grondin always sports the bleu-blanc-rouge with pride. The canadiens.com crew met up with the star of films like C.R.A.Z.Y., The Dumont Affair and Goon, among others, to learn more about his love for hockey, the Canadiens, and the ways he stays up-to-date on the latest sports news when he’s on the road making movies.
Did you play hockey growing up?
MARC-ANDRÉ GRONDIN : When I was young and we played street hockey, I was often in goal. I never really had the opportunity to play organized ice hockey. I’ve been shooting and making television shows since the age of three. I wanted to play hockey, but I had to choose between the two. In the end, I think I made the right decision.
How long have you been a Canadiens fan?
M.-A-.G. : I was born in Montreal, so I’ve essentially been a fan since I was born. When I was young, I was a huge Patrick Roy fan. I was born in 1984, so Patrick was the big star at that time. My parents weren’t really big hockey fans. The only person close to me that loved and watched hockey was my grandmother. She watched games religiously. I remember when we went over to her place to eat, she’d suddenly disappear and we’d find her alone in front of the television. She knew all of the players. At some point, I’d sit with her and we’d watch hockey together. I come from a very modest family, so we never really went to hockey games. I skated at the Forum during an album launch party, and saw a period when I was shooting something. I saw my first full game eight or nine years ago when Jay Baruchel couldn’t attend a game and he passed the tickets along to me. So, Jay Baruchel is responsible for me seeing my first full hockey game.
What is your favorite Canadiens memory?
M.-A-.G. : I remember the last Stanley Cup win. I remember Patrick lifting the Cup. I was living in the eastern part of the city, and I watched everything on TV. There was incredible excitement. Suddenly, everybody had a Canadiens cap. I had a Kings jersey that I stopped wearing from that moment on. I had a Patrick Roy jersey and a Canadian Tire hat with the No. 33 on it.
When did you know that something special was happening back in 1993?
M.-A-.G. : I don’t think I really grasped just how big it was. I saw everyone’s excitement. Being a kid, I was excited, too, but I didn’t realize just how much. I didn’t really comprehend just how physically and mentally demanding it was to get to that point.
In Goon, you play the role of a very talented player. Was your natural talent on the ice equivalent to that of your character in the film?
M.-A-.G. : I won’t answer that question…(laughs). To be frank, for a guy that didn’t skate before we started filming three or four years ago, I held my own. I worked with a nutritionist, I worked out in the gym and on the ice. Those are the only things I did five days a week. I was living the life of a hockey player. I was drinking protein shakes. I had the mindset of a hockey player. After filming wrapped up, I continued to play a lot, two or three times a week. When I told people that I learned to skate two of three years before playing, they were very impressed.
There’s talk about possibly making Goon 2. Which player would you like to see in the film?
M.-A. G. : It’s still a rumor, but the movie is going to happen. It will eventually get done. After the first movie, I met so many hockey players that wanted to be in the film. I think a guy like Subban would have a lot of fun with it, especially if he had a scene with my character because they’re two flamboyant people. I think P.K. would be good. If not, Prust would be a good fit because he’s a fighter.
Just how hard is it to follow the Canadiens when you’re on the road filming?
M.-A. G. : It’s been about six or seven years since I started working in Europe. I’ve learned what long-distance relationships are like, even if they’re not ideal. When I travel, especially when I go out of town for a while, I always take a Canadiens cap with me. When I was filming during the playoffs a few years back, I got home early in the evening, took a nap and got up around 1 a.m. to watch the game. I watched the game until 4 a.m. before heading back to bed and then going to work. I’m really happy when we film scenes at night in France because I can listen to the game on the radio or on my cell phone. I always have one headphone in my ear during games and I only take it out when I’m filming.
Where is the most unusual place you’ve ever watched a Habs game?
M.-A. G. : Watching a hockey game on television in Paris is tough. When you’re in Prague, hockey is far more important, so it’s easier to see games. In Paris, there aren’t many sports bars that show something other than soccer. You’d be hard-pressed to find a place that’s showing anything beginning at 1 a.m. I’ve seen a few, especially at the end of the season. They were games against the Maple Leafs. Paris isn’t really a hockey city.
And, when you can’t watch a game?
M.-A. G. : If I can’t watch a game, I shut everything down at night and open up NHL.com the next morning. I know the site really well, and I hide the scores so I don’t see anything until I get to the page featuring game highlights. I watch the highlights. It allows me to get involved in the game.
Interview conducted by Vincent Cauchy. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.