The Mighty Ducks Cast's Age Created Some Problems During Production

It was pretty sweet to be a kid in the '90s. "The Sandlot," "Little Giants," "All That," so many movies and tv shows were geared toward us '80s babies, and a lot of it has stood the test of time. One of the classics of that era is "The Mighty Ducks," a film that introduced this South Carolina girl to hockey and Charlie Conway. Oh yeah, the rest of The Ducks, too.

In the event that your childhood wasn't as cinematically awesome as mine, I'll give you a quick synopsis. Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is an egotistical lawyer who catches a DUI charge. He's sentenced to community service, which forces him to coach a junior hockey team full of young, mischievous kids. It's a Disney movie, so Bombay has a heart of gold by the end of the film, and his hockey team, The Mighty Ducks, wins the peewee championship.

As you can imagine, a lot of mischief takes place between their first meeting and winning the big game. In the movie, the mischief is harmless, but, as Time's oral history of "The Mighty Ducks" revealed, that wasn't always the case on set.

'Quack, quack, quack, Mr. Ducksworth!'

In the late '80s, Writer Steve Brill was unemployed and broke, sharing an apartment with the director, Peter Berg, who was an out-of-work actor at the time. The two spent what little money they had at a skating rink by their apartment, and this habit paired with Brill's love of hockey, inspired "The Mighty Ducks."

Berg spoke to Time about what Brill was like while writing the '90s classic:

"He would sleep in as I recall 'til about 1:00 with his pillow kind of wrapped around his face in a very odd way that sometimes made me think that he had in fact died during his sleep, because of the way he would choke himself with the pillow. I would check on him periodically. He would scream at me to get out of the room. He would then get up, pour a cup of coffee and go back to his desk, which was right by his bed. My memories are of Steve hunched over his computer in his underwear with his hair sticking straight up, drinking coffee, writing "The Mighty Ducks," cackling."

Admittedly, that sounds pretty horrible for everyone involved, but art demands sacrifice.

Brill periodically emerged from his cocoon of drafting to share scenes with Berg and a couch-surfing friend of theirs. The writer would make note of their comments and then return to his lair. Brill's time in a drafting cave paid off in a big way in 1990, when Disney bought his script. Unfortunately, Berg's sacrifice would only be rewarded with memories.

Originally, Brill suggested his roommate for the role of Bombay, but executives shot that idea down quickly. Berg recalls the exchange in Time's oral history:

"I was sort of starting out as an actor, and the plan was originally that I was going to star in it. We went in there and Steve said, 'Here's my man.' And the financiers kind of looked at me and then looked at Steve and were like, 'Yeah. No, he's not your man, Steve.' So, Emilio Estevez was the man, and, you know, the rest is history."

With Bombay cast, the search for The Ducks began.

'Are we ducks or what?'

The casting of the kids wouldn't be so straightforward. Young actors from all over the country auditioned to be a part of The Ducks, but only a few would land the part, which led to a lot of anxious auditions. A few of the actors spoke to Time about their nerve-racking experiences.

Marguerite Moreau, who played Connie, recalled:

"I was so scared, especially that I would mess up Charlie Conway's nickname. Spazway, right? So I had to say that in the audition and for the life of me ... I couldn't say it. I would always say, "Spazroy" or something. And I left feeling like I had wasted my parents' time."

Joshua Jackson, who portrayed Charlie Conway, explained:

"I went in and I auditioned for Charlie, and then they asked me to audition for one of the other kids, and I think I was pretty upset by it because I didn't understand that was a good thing. You know, that they were trying to see if you could do anything else. And then ... they sort of put all the kids together to see how everybody interacted, and at the end of the day, I'm pretty sure that's how they cast the movie."

After The Ducks were cast, they all had to learn how to handle themselves on the ice. None of the young actors knew much about skating or hockey, which they all lied about in their auditions, so Disney set up hockey camps for them to tackle this problem. While a lot of the kids enjoyed the training, and used it as an opportunity to bond and learn, one of the cast members used it to bully. 

Cake eater

Bringing any group of kids together is bound to create a bit of naughtiness, especially when they are cooped up on a film set all day, but one of the young actors took this way too far.

Producer, Jordan Kerner, revealed the actor originally cast to play Adam Banks had an ego, and a temper, that led to on-set issues:

"One of the young actors was being a little bit of a bully to some of the other kids. He wasn't as good a skater as he needed to be, but he thought of himself as a great performer, and his mother thought of him as Marlon Brando or Brad Pitt or whatever — someone who was a dramatic actor. And he just wasn't going to do all the work he had to do in skating. There was a lot of attitude and there were problems on the ice."

According to the film's hockey trainer, Jack White, those problems got pretty serious in the hockey camps. White claims that the original Banks purposely hit Olympian hockey player, Eric Strobel, in the chest with a puck. A couple of days after that, he struck Marguerite across the back with his stick, which led to his immediate dismissal from the role.

Vincent LaRusso, who originally filled a smaller role, was recast in the part and became everyone's favorite cake eater.

'The quack attack is back, jack!'

"The Mighty Ducks" was released in October of 1992 and earned over $50 million domestically. It spawned two successful sequels, an animated series, and, most recently, a Disney+ show. While "The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers" is a far cry from the classic, it's fun to see a spin-off of one of my childhood favorites, especially when a few of the original Ducks reprised their roles for an episode.

While rumors of a fourth film occasionally pop up in the news, it's all just talk at the moment, and it's probably best not to get our hopes up too high. Chances are, nothing will ever live up to the three classic films from the '90s. The District 5 underdogs, who later become, "The Mighty Ducks" will always hold a special place in my childhood heart that a fourth film probably couldn't touch.

That being said, if inspiration strikes and Brill finds himself in need of a friend to run scenes by, I'm available.