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Tony Hawk was fired as David Spade's stunt double for Police Academy 4

Tony Hawk has revealed one of his earliest career faceplants: a short stint as David Spade's stunt double in 1987's Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol.

The athlete discussed his brief tenure as Spade's skating double on the comedian's podcast Fly on the Wall. Hawk was initially selected to stand in for Spade in scenes with complicated skate tricks, as both the skater and the actor are goofy-footed. There was just one problem: puberty.

"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,'" Hawk recalled. "And I remember the director saying '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, and then they just quietly sent me home. Basically, I got fired."

Tony Hawk, POLICE ACADEMY 4: CITIZENS ON PATROL
Tony Hawk, POLICE ACADEMY 4: CITIZENS ON PATROL

Paul Harris/Getty Images; Warner Brothers Tony Hawk; David Spade

Hawk said that he was replaced by another skater, Chris Miller, as Spade's double, which led to continuity errors because Miller skates with the opposite stance as the actor.

Hawk is listed at 6'3", while Spade stands significantly shorter at 5'7", according to the actor's IMDb page. Spade played Kyle Rumford, a skating delinquent who joins the COP program as punishment for his crimes.

Though Hawk was dismissed as Spade's double, he still made a brief appearance in the movie. Spade explained that as a relatively experienced skater, he thought he could perform one of the stunts himself, which involved jumping five steps. "I can do five steps seven out of 10 times," Spade said. "Then we go in and I do the first steps and I f---in' wipe out, and then everyone has to wipe out on top of me 'cause they're all like 2 feet behind me…there's no adjusting."

Since Spade whiffed the take, Peralta had Hawk complete the stunt instead. The skater said the trick was "Not nothing, but it was doable."

Hawk also explained that the movie taught him a valuable lesson about stunt work. "What we learned in that shoot is we learned about stunt bumps," Hawk said on the podcast. "And we didn't know anything about that. So if we pretended like something was really hard, they would give us extra money."

Hawk still ended up with a credit in the movie as "Skateboarder."

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