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Two young actors add hockey drills to their bank of experience


Brandon Adams and J. D. Daniels celebrated their birthdays two days apart. Brandon turned 13 on Aug. 22. J. D. turned 11 on Aug. 24.

Like many boys, they celebrated their birthdays by attending an amusement park -- in this case, Magic Mountain in Southern California, where, according to J. D., they "rode the Flashback again and again and again."

Unlike other boys, they also celebrated their birthdays by awaiting the release of their newest movie.

Brandon and J. D. play members of a losing peewee hockey team in "The Mighty Ducks." Emilio Estevez plays the ruthless yuppie attorney who, as a community service after a DWI charge, coaches them to victory and redeems himself as a human being.

"All us kids loved Emilio," says J. D. "He's like a big kid himself. He's just like a great big kid . . ."

"Yeah, he loves to go to movies, to go bowling, to go to the arcades," says Brandon. "He really likes those arcades."

To portray hockey players realistically, the boys attended hockey camp for a month prior to the Disney film's Minneapolis shoot. Did they enjoy the experience of hockey camp?

"Oh, yeah, definitely. . . . Well, yes and no. . . . We did the exact same drills you saw in the movie. Some of it was fun. Some of it . . . awww!" they said practically in unison.

In "The Mighty Ducks," J. D. plays Peter, a leader, instigator and occasional troublemaker. Brandon plays Jesse, the older and more articulate of two brothers. They insist they're only partially like the characters they portray.

"Peter bothers people on purpose, gets them real mad and then runs away," says J. D. "I wouldn't set out to bother people. Sometimes I wind up bothering them, but that's not what I set out to do."

"And there's one scene at the beginning where Jesse thinks Emilio is a drug dealer and he really stands up to him," says Brandon. "Well, no way I would do that. If I thought someone was a drug dealer, I'd head in the other direction. Those guys are mean!"

Both young actors have extensive prior experience. Brandon, who lives in Los Angeles, has appeared on television in "Quantum Leap," "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "A Different World" and in such music videos as Janet Jackson's "Alright" and Michael Jackson's "Moonwalker." He also has toured with New Kids on the Block and rappers Kid 'N Play.

J. D., a New Yorker, has been seen in "Kate and Allie," "True Blue" and "Going Places." He also acted in the Broadway production of "Les Miserables" for six months, as the gamin Gavroche.

"It wasn't at all boring, doing the same thing over and over for six months," J. D. says. "It was a great sensation. Gavroche gets killed in the play, which was not too pleasant. But before that, he gets to collect things from dead bodies on stage. They were all dummies, but it was still cool."

Both boys have traveled extensively and are surprisingly preservation-minded when it comes to naming their favorite cities.

Brandon's favorite is Amsterdam. "There are lots of old, big brick buildings."

J. D. favors New Orleans for much the same reason. "They keep up the heritage. The buildings are old. The food is great."

But they differ on their favorite movies.

Brandon lists "JFK" as his all-time favorite. "It makes you think. It really does. It opens up new doors through the mind of Oliver Stone."

J. D.'s favorite movie is "Cooley High." "I just liked it. It showed a caring friendship, the way those guys stood up for each other. I wish it happened like that all the time in real life instead of just some of the time."

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