Tony Hawk Reveals He Was Fired As One Big Celebrity’s Stunt Double

VENTURA, CALIFORNIA - JULY 23: Tony Hawk competes in the Men's Skateboard Vert Best Trick during the X Games California 2023 on July 23, 2023 in Ventura, California
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Skateboarder Tony Hawk is opening up about being fired for a situation that was out of his control. Back in the late ’80s, he was hired to be David Spade‘s stunt double in the movie Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol. Hawk admitted that he auditioned for a role in the film but was ultimately cast as a stand-in for Spade’s scenes because they are both goofy-footed. In the film, Spade plays Kyle, a skater who gets in trouble and his punishment is to head to the police academy.

Unfortunately for Hawk, time had passed between the hiring and filming processes. During that time, he hit puberty and got a lot taller. He explained on Spade’s podcast with Dana Carvey called Fly on the Wall, “I went through a growth spurt, from the time we tried out [for Police Academy 4] to the time we got there, and so for the first week, they were like, ‘I think that guy is too tall.’ And I remember the director saying, like, ‘Y’know, he’s a pretty good skater but he’s a bad stunt double,’ and so then Stacy [Peralta, second unit director for skateboarding] kept telling me like, ‘Stay low. Stay low’ And I go… I was trying, I was trying, and then they just quietly sent me home. Basically, I got fired.”

POLICE ACADEMY 4: CITIZENS ON PATROL, from left: Brian Backer, David Spade, 1987

Warner Brothers/Everett Collection

He continued, “They sent in Chris Miller who looks more like him [Spade] but he’s regular footed, so in the skate sequence, his stance keeps changing. It’s so crazy.” All’s well that ends well because Hawk was eventually asked back to do a stunt for the film. Spade learned how to skateboard a bit for the movie but was having trouble with one of the scenes that required jumping several steps on a skateboard.

Spade said that he would wipe out which would cause all of the other actors to wipe out near him and it was just a mess. So, Hawk was asked back to do the stunt for him. Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol was not only one of Hawk’s first stunt appearances but Spade’s debut feature film. While it may not have gotten the best reviews (it has an alarming 0% on Rotten Tomatoes), it still lives on in the franchise’s history.

If you’d like to watch the film and watch for Spade vs. Hawk’s skills, you can rent it on Prime Video, Vudu, or Apple TV.

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1980s Top Summer Blockbusters

July 2019

Celebrate the biggest summer movies of the ’80s, when moviegoing morphed from mere entertainment to blockbuster events.

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