DerekSanderson was made in Canada. The biopic on his life will be too.
Bruinsdevotees of this most improper Bostonian are none too pleased with theannouncement. The filmmakers weren’t keen on Beantown location costs. “Bostonwas too expensive for this independent production,” Casey Sherman, a mouthpiece for the film Turk, told the Boston Herald.their hearts set on shooting in Boston.”
Dubbingitself “Hollywood East,” Massachusetts offers tax breaks and other incentivesto filmmakers to shoot in the Bay State. Visitors flying into Logan Airportglimpse dozens of movie posters boasting the area’s recent popularity forlocation shooting. But even Cantabrigians Matt Damon and Ben Affleck opted toshoot Good Will Hunting‘s scenes setin Harvard Square’s legendary (and since departed) Bow & Arrow Pub inCanada. In Hollywood, as in hockey, Canada cleans up.
Thelast time “Turk” left Boston, money served as the reason, too. In 1972, thePhiladelphia Blazers of the upstart World Hockey Association awarded Sandersonthe largest contract in the history of sports. Sanderson, who looked more likea member of the band Boston than a member of the hockey team from Boston,bought a Rolls Royce on impulse, took two Playboy Bunnies to Hawaii with justthe clothes on their backs, and once tipped his caddy by giving him his new setof golf clubs.
Aslong as he could skate and score and scrap, the NHL’s former rookie of the yearleading a lavish lifestyle posed few problems in the freewheeling world of1970s professional hockey. But by the decadent decade’s end, injuries, alcohol,and an ill-advised investment in Joe Namath’s “Bachelors III” nightclub led toSanderson sleeping on the same streets over which he once drove that Rolls Royce.
Anassist came from the player Sanderson assisted on his most famous moment. In1970, a second before Noel Picard’s trip sent Bobby Orr flying into the airabove the ice, Sanderson had set up the Bruins defenseman to score that iconic overtimegoal to complete the sweep of the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup. By 1979,life’s trips overshadowed the center’s triumphs.
Hallof Famer Orr, whose hockey career also came to a painful halt in theintervening years, extended a helping hand to his penniless pal. Orr paid forrehab. Sanderson paid him back through his post-hockey career as a Bruinsbroadcaster, financial advisor to athletes, and exemplar of the benefits of sobriety.
It’sthe type of tale of excess and redemption that should light up the silverscreen, at least that’s what the indie filmmakers producing Turk think. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell’skid Wyatt Russell, who played collegiate hockey, stars as Bobby Orr, LoganMarshall-Green of The OC portrays thetitle character, and Ed Burns plays Sanderson’s beleaguered pa.
Thefilm may not have Boston as its backdrop. But Turk promises to have a Hollywood happy ending.
Photo credit: John van-Schalkwyk