Considering that Miracle depicts one of the most memorable sporting events in history — the U.S. hockey team's historic 1980 gold-medal victory over the Soviet Union — it's no surprise that nearly 4,000 young men turned out at auditions. But producers were no doubt taken aback when they learned the identity of one of the actors at the cattle call: Billy Schneider, the son of original team member Buzz Schneider who ended up getting cast as his dad.
"It was something special," Billy tells TV Guide Online of his Miracle experience. "I always looked up to [my father] when I was younger. I wanted to be in the gold medal games just like him. And I wanted to play pro hockey. But things didn't work out [due to an injury]. But, because of this movie, I got to experience one of his dreams. [So, in a way] it did work out. God acts in mysterious ways."
The elder Schneider admits he had "mixed emotions" when he first learned that his son would literally be following in his footsteps. But he came around after seeing a final cut of the film. "After living it and being a part of such a great thing for 24 years," Buzz says, "and then to have your son playing you in the movie, I think it is great."
Actually, even though Buzz knew Miracle was in the making, it was his wife that pointed Billy in the direction of his acting debut. "[My mom] called me up and let me know what was going on," he says. "I had no idea. She saw it in the paper and saw that they were doing an open call, and one thing led to another."