The current film Miracle — about the gold-medal winning 1980 U.S. Hockey Team — marks the big-screen debut of Eddie Cahill. You know him best as Felicity junkie James and Rachel's boy toy, Tag, on Friends. Those memorable TV roles allowed him an edge over his hockey-playing cast mates, who were mostly acting rookies.
"I came from less of a hockey background than some of the guys," Cahill tells TV Guide Online. "We never sat down and talked about it, like, 'OK, I don't really know hockey, you don't know [acting].' Instinctively, where somebody was weak, somebody else's strengths would come in and lift that person up."
Despite his talent and good looks, landing the role wasn't all fun and games. Before Cahill was given the opportunity to portray Jim Craig, the team goalie, he had to strap on a pair of skates and prove that he could hold his own in a grueling hockey audition. A daunting task, considering he'd never kept goal before!
"I had a great support system in the guys, who understood the position more than I did," the 26-year-old admits. "[Costar and former goalie] Nathan [West] helped me out at the audition. That was the first time I had ever put [goalkeeping] pads on. I walked up to Nathan, and said, 'OK, just tell me what to do. Give me like one or two things that will keep me on my feet up there.' And he helped me out."
Once he scored the gig as the man behind the mask, he had much more to learn. Miracle features recreations of real-life games, so director Gavin O'Connor was insistent that his actors do most of the on-ice sports stunts themselves. "I would say that most of what you see is [me]," Cahill says proudly, but quickly adds, "I only had six weeks to learn to play a position that I had never played before. So I obviously had my limitations."