HBO’s new series The last of us has taken the world by storm since its premiere last month. The post-apocalyptic thriller has once again left audiences in shock in its latest episode, with 10-year-old deaf actor Keivonn Woodard playing a major role in his portrayal of Sam.
Woodard wowed Craig Mazin – the series’ co-creator – with his audition and won the role two days later. His acting ability isn’t the only thing that comes naturally to Woodard.
He became interested in hockey after throwing a skating party for his birthday and seeing other kids playing the sport. He told his parents he wanted to try his luck and after some reluctance they helped him join the under-10 team at Bowie Hockey Club in Maryland.
Much like with acting, Woodard proved to be a quick study on the ice and is nicknamed “Hollywood” due to his flashy goal celebrations.
“He’s my top scorer and he’s definitely one of the top three players on the team,” Bowie coach Chris Pozerski told NHL.com’s William Douglas.
Woodard’s game was taken to a new level once an American Sign Language interpreter was provided for games and practice to help overcome the language barrier.
“He’s a very smart player, he’s very observant, he has to be because he uses his eyes to observe,” Pozerski told NHL.com. “Having this interpreter, it allows him to understand exactly what we’re seeing. It’s a huge difference.”
Funding for the performer came from a $10,000 grant from the Washington Capitals and the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation given to Bowie in October. The grant also helped pay for a special lighting system to notify Woodard of whistles and shift changes.
“Before, we used to make players tap him on the shoulders or the referees, not on him, but prevent him from continuing the game,” Pozerski said. “I think it has boosted his confidence because he knows he can play the whistle now. He’s not afraid to play and go overboard and have a chance of getting a penalty. .”
Woodard’s Race The last of us appears to be over, but that won’t be the last time you see him on screen, as he’s set to star in “Fractal,” an upcoming sci-fi short. Maybe he’ll land on your TV as a professional hockey player one day, too.
“I hope he sticks to his acting role,” Mazin told NHL.com, “but if he ends up playing in the NHL, I’ll be okay with that too.
More from Yahoo Sports
#actor #Keivonn #Woodard #budding #hockey #star