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D3 almost had an anti-Semitic slur: 8 things you didn't know about The Mighty Ducks

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The Mighty Ducks.

In case you didn't feel old enough already, it's now been twenty years since D2: The Mighty Ducks. The second film in the Mighty Ducks trilogy celebrated its 20th anniversary this spring.

While celebrating a sequel's anniversary seems like a flimsy excuse to start talking about The Mighty Ducks movies, I think most of us can agree that any excuse to talk about the Mighty Ducks is a good one -- especially if you've got the people that made it in a room.

In honor of this anniversary, Time Magazine gathered a number of the actors, writers, and producers for an oral history on Monday, and like the oral histories of this film that came before it, it's full of fun and new information about one of the most beloved hockey movie franchises of all-time.

Here are 8 new facts about the Mighty Ducks. 

1. The original script was more "Little Miss Sunshine" than "Bad News Bears".

More of an indie movie -- dark, but with some heart and some laughs. But then Disney got involved, and the whole thing took on a more family-friendly air, explains producer Jordan Kerner:

KERNER: In those days, there weren’t many little indie films. So as a smaller indie film, I think that a darker script would have been terrific. And had there been more language and it was more Little Miss Sunshine, I think that could have been very successful. It just wouldn’t have been a Disney movie. And here we were in something that we felt we could tell as a dramatic story, and we didn’t want to digress from that. We didn’t whitewash it — we just didn’t show certain things. It was more lyrical, what Steve ultimately wrote.

Some of the grown-up fare remained, however, such as Gordon Bombay being assigned to the Ducks after being arrested for drunk driving. That's some serious stuff right there.

2. Matt Doherty, who played Averman, got a concussion from the movie.

That's how you know it was a hockey movie. But he didn't get it while filming. He got it while playing hockey, after he'd been in it.

DOHERTY: I remember getting concussed in my last hockey game in high school because everybody wanted to check the Mighty Duck, you know? They’d always be talking on the ice.

Imagine Averman in the quiet room. He'd take it about as seriously as NHL teams do.

3. Vincent LaRusso was bumped from a background character to the Adam Banks role because the kid cast originally was acting like a total dick.

The 10-year-old scored a major role, and then lost it bullying the other kids and acting like a hotshot. (Apparently, he and his stage mother fancied him more of a Brando or Pitt-type.) So after a warning, then another incident, he got fired:

KERNER: And literally four days later it happened again and I called the mom and said, “You and So-and-so, you’re going home.” That kid’s role was a sort of central villain who would eventually turn and become friendly to the Ducks. And we took one of our other kids from a much smaller role and moved him into that role. And he just was terrific. It was the Adam Banks character.

No one else could have been cake-eater.

4. When Emilio Estevez kissed Charlie Conway's mom, their lips stuck together.

It was tongues-frozen-to-lampposts cold in Minnesota during filming. Which made that big kiss a problem. 

KERNER: We we were in the midst of filming the scene where there’s a kiss between Emilio Estevez and Heidi Kling, who plays Josh’s mom, in 55 degrees below zero in St. Paul. And when they kissed, their lips stuck together. We had to get makeup to grab warm water and put droplets on their lips so they could actually separate.

That's what he gets for going after one of his players' moms, I say.

5. The director of D2 wanted to recast Charlie Conway.

Joshua Jackson explains that they nearly recast him, like they did for Marty McFly's girlfriend in the second Back to the Future movie, or Vivien Banks! 

Well, in typical Disney fashion they sign you for three-picture deals. So it was never going to be my option, whether I got brought back or not. I do seem to remember that the second director was kind of keen to recast me, but I managed to survive him. It would have been weird to recast and keep that role played by somebody else. That would have been an odd thing to do.

Can I be retroactively outraged? I am retroactively outraged.

6. The first plot for the third movie had Iceland and the Ducks teaming up after someone from Bulgaria said something Anti-semitic to Goldberg.

Producer Jordan Kerner's idea for D3 had the Ducks returning to the Goodwill Games in Europe, where someone from Team Bulgaria said something nasty to Goldberg in a restaurant. 

KERNER: We were going to use — and please forgive me, Bulgaria — we were going to use the Bulgarian team that would say something off-color to Goldberg, and could be anti-Semitic possibly — making fun of a guy named Goldberg — and fun of a guy like who’s a little bigger than the average guy on the ice. Then a fight would ensue and in that room was also the Icelandic team who hated the Ducks. And rather than having them sort of look and chuckle, they got involved, and they helped Goldberg.

Also, the Ducks lose the next game to Iceland. But then Coach Bombay convinces them to go to the gold medal game and cheer on Iceland to beat Bulgaria, you know, because one team is racist and the other team isn't. Sadly, this insane idea didn't fly.

7. Paul Kariya, who made a cameo in D3, absolutely crushed his first take. He played himself perfectly. But the director thought it was too boring, as hockey players being themselves often are.

KARIYA: On the first take, I got my lines perfectly, and I was really proud of myself, and the director said, “You know, that was great, but do you think you could put a little more emotion or like a little more energy in those lines?” And I said, “Well, I’m playing myself. This is how I would do an interview.”

Unsurprisingly, Disney didn't find the verisimilitude all that entertaining. Weird that a normal hockey interview didn't jump off the screen.

8. There might be a D4.

Joshua Jackson is in. And it's been talked about several times:

KERNER: I’ve been pitched a story two or three times. It hasn’t been the right story yet, but the idea of doing that is something Steve and I have talked about and actually Disney and I have talked about. So I’m not going to fuel the rumor mill that it’s going to happen, but I’m saying to you that the studio said to us, “We’d be interested if you come to us with the right story.”

The right story. You heard the man. This might be one of those Jason Segel-type situations, where someone who loved the films as kids revives the franchise by penning the perfect script. Get cracking, hockey fans.

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