Ryan Kwanten trains with Chicago Wolves in Hoffman Estates
He fought vampires in the recently concluded series "True Blood" on HBO, but on Tuesday the only blood that threatened to be spilled was Ryan Kwanten's own.
The actor was in full goalie gear in the Triphahn Center Ice Arena in Hoffman Estates, bravely trying to stop shots on goal.
He proved to be a quick study, not bad for an Australian actor who admits to being on skates about five times in his life -- and a lot more comfortable on a surfboard.
Kwanten is in town filming a romantic comedy called "Who Gets The Dog?" It's an independent film that could be released as early as this fall. Kwanten plays an aspiring goalie for the Chicago Wolves, and the Wolves themselves have a big part in the movie.
"It's great exposure, there's no question," said Wolves Assistant General Manager Bill Bentley, who was supervising the shoot Monday and Tuesday at the Hoffman Estates rink. "The Wolves are prominent in the film; it's specific to our organization, so it's good for hockey and good for Chicago."
The film has caught the imagination of the Wolves, the staff at the Triphahn Center and even some local young hockey players who have bit parts. The Wolves practice at the Triphahn Center and sacrificed some of their ice time to the film crew.
The movie also stars Alicia Silverstone, who was not at the Triphahn Center.
On the ice Tuesday, Kwanten was taking shots from fellow actor Matty Ryan, a Chicago comedian making his first appearance in a feature film.
"Without (these leg pads), I'd be able to do moves just like him," Kwanten joked, pointing to Wolves goalie Matt Climie. He worked closely with Climie during the shooting to learn some of the finer points of being a goaltender.
Still, Kwanten moved to the sidelines during the fast-paced hockey scenes featuring the Wolves themselves, conceding the trickier goaltending to Climie, his stand-in.
"I was taking shots on (Kwanten) and helping him figure it out," Climie said. "He was wearing the full gear and I put him through drills. He had a pretty good sweat going by the end."
Matty Ryan, a native of Beverly and graduate of Brother Rice High School, plays the coach of a young hockey team who is the best friend of Kwanten's character.
On Monday, Matty Ryan worked with the 9- and 10-year-old Wolf Pack Squirts, a local hockey team based at Triphahn. During one scene, he tries to motivate his young team, while in another, the Squirts flop around on the ice in their hapless attempts to improve.
"That's the scene where they really had fun," he said. "They seemed to want to drill each other's faces in the ice."
Matty Ryan said he hadn't been on the ice in years before shooting started. He gleaned skating tips from one of his idols, Brent Sopel, a former Blackhawks defenseman now playing for the Wolves.
"It's nice to be able to talk hockey with a former Stanley Cup winner," Ryan said.
Filming in the area wraps up Friday, during intermission of the Wolves vs. Oklahoma City Barons game at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.