'Miracle' preem packs Palladium with sports greats

HOLLYWOOD — The day after the Super Bowl, Disney had Hollywood decked out in red, white and blue for a different team of winning patriots — the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team.

The gold medallists got a thunderous ovation from the assembled glitterati following Monday night’s El Capitan preem for “Miracle,” the docudrama based on the team’s surprise victory over the Soviet Union.Like Herb Brooks, the hard-nosed coach he plays, Kurt Russell did his homework.

“I had a lot of tape to watch, and I watched it over and over,” said the actor, whose 17-year-old son Wyatt is an all-star goaltender in a Canadian junior hockey league.

And while Russell also spent some face time with Brooks, who died in a car accident in August after the movie was shot, the thesp said he felt it was another passing that informed his role. His father, a ballplayer and coach, died during the making of the film.

Count the captain of the U.S. team among those impressed by Russell’s results. “Kurt was so damn good, it would have been nice for Herb to see the movie,” said Mike Eruzione. “Although knowing Herb he would have snuck in and out the back door.”

The Hollywood Palladium was transformed into a mega-sports bar with scoreboards, TV monitors and a steady clickety-clack from revelers playing air hockey at the after-party. Among those on hand were Disney’s Dick Cook and Robert Iger, producers Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray, co-stars Patricia Clarkson and Noah Emmerich; hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and wife Janet Jones; a slew of Olympians including Mary Lou Retton; and director Gavin O’Connor, who was 15-years-old when the U.S. beat the Soviets and “sitting inches from the screen.”

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