Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.
Rock is shaken on ice
"Tooth Fairy," the new family-oriented comedy starring Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, is only tangentially about hockey.
But it did require Johnson, who grew up mostly in Hawaii and Florida, to don ice skates for the first time. It went badly.
"Within a couple of minutes I realized it was very sobering, a humbling experience," he said Tuesday over soft drinks at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Columbus Circle.
"I took a big spill, as everyone does. I had to go from never skating to skating as if I had been skating all of my life and was a professional."
It never happened. "It's the arrogance of the athlete," he said. "I told them, 'I can do this.' Five minutes later, same conversation: 'I can't do this. We're going to need to find stunt doubles.' They did a great job covering my incapabilities."
Johnson said part of the problem was his inability to put all of his weight on his left ankle because of the Achilles tendon injury he suffered filming "The Game Plan" several years earlier.
Filmmakers used overhead wiring to allow him to skate in a line and to lift some of his weight off his skates. "It was interesting how we had to set up the camera shots," he said. "It's an illusion."
Johnson never had been to a hockey game before filming the movie but now has an appreciation for the sport.
"We had a lot of ex pro players on the teams, and watching how fast the game is played and the violence of the collisions was amazing to me," he said.