TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos stepped outside his comfort zone while stepping in front of the camera.
Normally at ease while answering questions with news cameras staring him down, Stamkos stared down a different camera while shooting a commercial for Coke Zero Canada, which is just now hitting the airwaves north of the border. The ad is also available for viewing online at www.YouTube.com/MomentZero.
In the short film, which lasts around two minutes, Stamkos portrays fictional hockey player Shawn Warford, who gets traded by his father/coach and goes on to score five goals with his dad on the opposing bench. The film also features Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle — who did his own Moment Zero ad portraying Kevin Walker — and TSN television personality Bob McKenzie.
Being in that situation gave Stamkos a new appreciation for actors and those involved with filming movies and television.
“It’s amazing that it’s that long of a process,’’ he said of the 8½-hour day to shoot two commercials. “There’s a lot of sitting around, a lot of waiting, moving of camera angles and stuff like that and for (90 seconds) of actual video. So I have a lot of respect for actors and what they have to go through to make a movie and that’s a two-hour movie.
“It’s an unbelievably long and sometimes painful process, but in the end the professionals that edit it, they make it look good.’’
To get ready for his acting debut, Stamkos sought out some “acting tips’’ from Cabbie Richards, a sports personality who does sketch-style pieces for TSN. The piece, which originally aired last weekend in Canada and is also available on YouTube, offers more of a lighthearted look to Stamkos’ new-found acting side with more of an ad-lib approach.
“With him it’s kind of easy, you just got to go with it,’’ Stamkos said. “It was funny and you just try to let your guard down and have some fun.’’
One thing that hockey and acting do have in common is taking direction. At the rink it comes from the coaches; on the set it comes from the director.
So what’s the difference?
“Directors are a little more laid back and you can cut and edit and redo stuff in a film,’’ he said. “If you make a mistake on the ice and it’s in the back of your net, it’s going to cost you. So it’s a little more laid back (on set), little more sitting around.’’
Stamkos has been receiving plenty of attention already for the ad as well as his performance on TSN and his teammates did not let him off the hook. During a recent video session, instead of clips of scoring chances and strong backchecks, Stamkos’ performance was slipped in and “critiqued’’
“We had a little Bolts Film Festival, so we showed it to the team and had a good little grade on how he did,’’ Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “He was actually really good. He had some good lines.’’
Don’t expect Stamkos to be switching lines for line changes anytime soon.
“I think I’ll stick to hockey,’’ he joked. “Definitely getting a little more press than maybe I would like to but it’s gone well (and) it turned out pretty good.’’