Don Cherry tells Jared Keeso he ‘loved' the movie
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Apr 08, 2010  |  Vote 0    0

Don Cherry tells Jared Keeso he ‘loved' the movie

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Don Cherry called up Jared Keeso on a Monday night.Those two, along with 1.3 million other Canadians, had just finished watching the debut of part two of Keep Your Head Up Kid: The Don Cherry Story on CBC.The real life version wanted to let the 25-year-old actor know how he felt about his portrayal of him.So, what did Don think?"He said ‘I don't like it. I love it!'" Keeso recalled over the phone from his adopted home of Vancouver. "He was beside himself. He said he can't believe it, he just loved it. ‘The hockey looks so great and the scenes with you and Rose choked me up'."Keeso viewed the film, broken into two parts on March 28-29, at home with his brother Alan, Alan's girlfriend and a friend from back home, Ryan Hube.Having friends, family - oh, and an entire nation - absorb the finished product ushered in a few apprehensive moments."I was pretty nervous going in on how it would be received and what I would think of the end product. After seeing it, I'm completely content and certainly satisfied," Keeso explained.Satisfaction wouldn't quite account for the reaction he received from some hockey heavyweights.Prior to the call, Cherry had spoken with Bobby Orr, who was briefly depicted in the film.The Hockey Hall of Famer and Stanley Cup champion wanted Keeso to know he loved the movie as well.Ron MacLean, Cherry's long time broadcast partner on the Coach's Corner segment, took it one step further.The following day, at 7:30 a.m. Pacific Time no less, MacLean called him up."I don't think he factored in the time difference considering he called at 7:30 in the morning," Keeso laughed. "But he left a message for me, and when we did talk, it was as if we'd known each other for years. It was unbelievable. He wanted to say he loved the movie, too, and how happy Don was with it."Born and raised in Listowel, Keeso's first taste of acting came at the local Theatre 3-11."I'm very thankful to Justin and Stefanie Webster from Theatre 3-11 for getting me in two plays back when I was just getting started," he said. Six years later, he had his big break.The movie covered Don's early years of his hockey playing days right up until the launch of his broadcasting career.Part one dealt mostly with the numerous minor pro teams he bounced around with, the tough times his new wife Rose encountered as they travelled North America and the colourful hockey people he met along the way.Part two focused on his coaching, highlighted by guiding the NHL's Boston Bruins to several tense playoff match ups with Montreal, and his eventual birth into the broadcasting world with CBC.Keeso had seen part one prior to its national debut, but not the second half."I was worried about how (part two) would flow with the real game footage and the hockey stuff we shot, but I was pleasantly surprised," said Keeso, a former Junior hockey player himself. "I was floored with what a great job the director and producers did, and the guys editing it."Part one was a bit more acting driven while part two was more documentary-style, but both had a real challenge for Keeso: the voiceovers.Narrating the story to the audience while trying to accurately capture Don's famous speaking style proved to be quite the task."I was really hard on myself for the voiceovers. I put a lot of pressure on myself to nail the Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Don Cherry voice," he said. "(After watching it) I didn't hate it, which in my mind is a massive success."1.4 million Canadians tuned in on the Sunday followed by 1.3 the following night, not to mention all the feature articles, appearances on TV shows such as The Hour and online work.With all the media attention, it was only a matter of time before people started to take notice."It already happened again today, I was walking down the street and some guy said ‘hey it's Don Cherry!' I'll get used to it, but it's a pretty weird feeling having some guy recognize you," Keeso said.Having lived the majority of his life in Listowel before moving to Waterloo briefly and then to Vancouver, there's been plenty of feedback from his former hometown."I've received so many emails and messages from people in Listowel and the support from the community has been overwhelming, I appreciate it so much," he raved. "I'm glad I mentioned Listowel in all the interviews and stuff, just being form Listowel is a huge point of pride for me."His family also has been a big factor through all this.He wanted to credit his whole family for all the support, including his mom, dad, brother, sister and grandparents.

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