Tony Hawk Says He Was Once ‘Fired’ as David Spade’s Stunt Double Because He Was ‘Too Tall’

Tony Hawk’s height got in the way of him being David Spade’s stunt double.

As Hawk, 55, appeared on Spade and Dana Carvey’s podcast Fly on the Wall, the skateboarder recalled meeting Spade, now 59, on the set of 1987’s Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol, which marked Spade’s film debut. (The episode was recorded before Hollywood actors went on strike in July.)

Hawk, who was already working as a professional skateboarder by the time he graduated high school in 1986, recalled that he “went through a growth spurt” between his audition and when production began.

“So for the first week they were like, ‘I think that guy’s too tall,’ ” he recalled of his time on Police Academy 4′s set. “I remember the director saying, ‘You know, he’s a pretty good skater but he’s a bad stunt double.’ ”

Hawk said Stacy Peralta, a former pro skateboarder and filmmaker who worked on the film as a second unit director, “kept telling me, ‘Stay low, stay low,’ and I go, ‘I’m just trying,’ and [eventually] they quietly sent me home.”

“Basically, I got fired. And then they sent in [skater] Chris Miller, who looks like [Spade] and is the same stance,” he added.

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David Spade in Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol, 1987.

Warner Brothers

Though Hawk was fired, footage of him skating used in the film — he is credited only as “skateboarder” — resulted in a number of continuity errors because the next stunt double used a different skating stance than Hawk or Spade, who both said they ride skateboards “goofy-footed.”

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“When I got hired that was part of the thing, was like ‘oh you’re goofy-footed too, that’s what David is,’ ” Hawk recalled. “So I went, and long story short they sent in Chris Miller, who looks more like him but is regular footed. So in the skate sequence, his stance keeps changing.”

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Hawk’s skateboarding prowess appeared to prove indispensable to the film’s production. Spade recalled that after he failed to complete one skateboarding stunt that required him to jump five steps, Hawk stepped in to do it himself.

“I think they just go, ‘Tony just do it. We need to get one right,’ ” Hawk recalled. Asked how difficult a stunt like that is to complete, he clarified: “[It’s] not nothing, but it was doable.”

1986, Carlsbad, California. Tony Hawk 18 years old sits on one of his skateboard ramps in his back yard which he built for his friends and himself.

Tony Hawk sitting on a skateboarding ramp at age 18 in 1986.

Paul Harris/Getty 

The skateboarding icon went on to say that he learned about “stunt bumps” — getting paid more money for more difficult stunts — during his time on Police Academy 4.

“When we jumped the fountain, they set up this big ramp. It was so janky, the whole thing,” Hawk recalled of another sequence he filmed. “The landing zone was terrible and we were just sitting there sweating and they were like ‘we’ll give you each 500 bucks to do this.’ We’re like, ‘What?’ “

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“I do want to say though, to end that, I get asked about that all the time,” Hawk added of his experience on the film.

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Source: HIS Education

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