Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk recently shared a fascinating chapter from his early career, recounting a short-lived role as David Spade's stunt double during the production of "Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol" in 1987.
In a candid conversation on comedian David Spade's podcast, "Fly on the Wall," Hawk delved into his brief stint as Spade's skateboarding double, a role he undertook due to their shared goofy-footed stance and the need for intricate skate tricks in certain scenes.
However, a growth spurt that occurred between the audition and the actual filming led to an unexpected hurdle for Hawk. As Hawk recollected, "I went through a growth spurt, from the time we tried out [for the movie] to the time we got there, and so for the first week, they were like, 'I think that guy is too tall.'
" The project's director even humorously commented that Hawk was a "bad stunt double." Despite his best efforts to adapt his posture, Hawk was eventually discreetly let go from the role, making way for another skater, Chris Miller, to take his place.
Continuity Hurdles and Height Disparity
This transition, however, introduced continuity challenges, as Miller's skateboarding stance differed from Spade's. The discrepancy in height between Hawk (6'3") and Spade (5'7") further complicated matters, given that Spade portrayed a skateboarding delinquent named Kyle Rumford, who participated in the COP program as a form of penance.
Although Hawk's stint as a stunt double concluded prematurely, he still managed a cameo appearance in the movie. Spade recounted an incident where he attempted a stunt himself but ended up failing spectacularly. This prompted Stacy Peralta, the second unit director for skateboarding, to enlist Hawk to successfully complete the stunt involving jumping five steps.
Reflecting on the experience, Hawk admitted that the production taught him a valuable lesson about the art of stunt work. He revealed, "What we learned in that shoot is we learned about stunt bumps. And we didn't know anything about that.
So if we pretended like something was really hard, they would give us extra money." Despite the ups and downs of his involvement, Hawk earned a credit in the film as "Skateboarder," marking an early crossover between his skateboarding career and the world of cinema.
This intriguing anecdote offers a glimpse into the convergence of Hollywood and the skateboarding subculture, as well as the unexpected challenges that arise behind the scenes of even the most seemingly straightforward stunts.