Inside the Flyers: Former Flyer Ian Laperriere makes a scene in "This Is 40"

Scott Hartnell got in on the act, appearing in "This Is 40" with Ian Laperriere. GENE J. PUSKAR / AP
Scott Hartnell got in on the act, appearing in "This Is 40" with Ian Laperriere. GENE J. PUSKAR / AP
Posted: December 24, 2012

This Is 40 isn't about the number of work stoppages the NHL has endured since Gary Bettman became commissioner.

The new movie starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann is about the adventures one goes through in reaching the big four-oh, and, in a surprise, it does have a connection to hockey.

And the Flyers.

There's a 47-second scene that Ian Laperriere, the former Flyers winger who is now the team's director of player development, absolutely steals, impressing the ladies with his pull-'em-out false teeth.

"Went to Hollywood and did my movie," Laperriere joked the other night.

Flyers winger Scott Hartnell and ex-Flyers James van Riemsdyk and Matt Carle are also in the scene. All four were on the Flyers when the film was shot in August 2011, and all had lines in the flick, though Carle's were cut.

But it's Laperriere who makes the most of his limited time on the big screen.

Which is fitting, because the franchise may never have had a player who made better use of his short time as a Flyer than the man they call Lappy. Never mind that he played only one season with the Flyers. Laperriere is revered in this city because he was the ultimate warrior.

Early in the 2009-10 season, Laperriere blocked a first-period shot against Buffalo, lost seven teeth, and had about 100 stitches administered.

He returned later in the game.

In that season's playoffs against New Jersey, Laperriere blocked a slap shot with his face. He suffered a bruised brain, a broken orbital bone, and a concussion - and needed nearly 70 stitches to repair a cut above his right eye.

He returned to play later in the playoffs - the Flyers finished two wins shy of winning the Stanley Cup - but the injury eventually forced him to retire.

The mouth injury indirectly led to his getting cast in This Is 40.

"They were looking for a hockey player with no teeth, and mine were still removable at the time," said Laperriere, who was put in contact with movie executives by Bryan Hardenbergh, the Flyers' traveling secretary.

Laperriere wasn't the first choice for the role.

"They actually asked for Dan Carcillo," Hardenbergh said of the former Flyer. "Dan said he'd do it, but he didn't have his green card, and they needed somebody right away."

Enter the good-natured Laperriere. One of the movie's bigwigs told Laperriere he liked his "look" after checking him out on YouTube and asked him if he could get some other players for small roles.

"All four of us went to Hollywood for three days, and the rest is history," Laperriere said. "I think all of us would have done it for free, just for the experience. Maybe Hartsy wants to be an actor, but the rest of us don't."

When the movie part was offered last year, Laperriere - who was at the end of a two-year medical process to have his mouth feeling like normal - was scheduled to have implants inserted to give him permanent "teeth" in a few weeks. He canceled the dental appointment.

Priorities, you see.

In the players' big scene, Laperriere nails his line, pulls out his dentures, and hands them to Megan Fox, who promptly puts them in her mouth. (Fox actually had a different set of teeth she put in her mouth, Lappy said.)

"Do I look sexy?" Fox asks the players.

They answer with hoots and hollers. (We never said this was an Oscar-worthy movie, though it is getting mostly favorable reviews.)

"It turned out to be a long day. We were on the set from 7 a.m. to 11 at night," Laperriere said. "But what we did was pretty easy. They would tell us what to do and say, and it turned out to be a great experience. We were there for three days, and we had a blast doing it and seeing how things really go down."

Laperriere and Hartnell are also featured in a scene in which "we're dancing with Megan Fox. Not too many of my friends can say that," Laperriere said.

During the dance scene, Laperriere said, he "felt like an idiot. I was like, 'What am I doing?!' " But director Judd Apatow "made us look good. And if you can't laugh at yourself, you're not worth much."

He will turn 39 next month, "so I can relate" to the movie's humor, Laperriere said. "It really hits home with what couples go through."

And though he looked like a natural, Laperriere said his movie career is over. Why?

"I'm going to have to go with my looks now," he said, "because my teeth aren't removable."

 


Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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