Tony Hawk is skateboarding. No one person has done more to elevate the sport than this man and his influence on not only skateboarding itself but culture, in general, is finally being recognised in his very own feature-length documentary.
The fact that this hasn’t been done before is mind-blowing. Born in 1968, Hawk became a professional skateboarder at the age of just 14, was the first person to do a 900 degree spin (that’s two and a half rotations in the air), licensed his own range of videogames that went on to become best-sellers, and pioneered ‘vert’ skating, the style of skateboarding performed on ramps which is now its own Olympic event.
He has appeared as himself in a tonne of TV shows and films, including The Simpsons, Jackass, and The Eric Andre Show.
The man is a living meme, with the trend of people thinking that he’s just someone who looks like Tony Hawk in public becoming a long-running joke he is all too happy to play into.
Now he is to become the subject of a new documentary, which will hopefully chart the rise of the legend himself and the success of the sport in his wake.
Kid at skatepark:
“Are you Tony Hawk?”
me: I am
him: “no you’re not”
me: ok, I’m not
him: “but are you, FOR REAL?”
me: I am, for real
him: I thought you’d look younger
me: ME TOO
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) July 29, 2019
The film is being produced by the Duplass brothers, who worked on cult film The Puffy Chair, as well as Creep and Safety Not Guaranteed and will be directed by Sam Jones, the photographer famous for shooting big names like George Clooney, Jack Nicholson and former President Barack Obama. Jones also directed I Am Trying to Break Your Heart and Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued.
“We’ve been quietly working on this one for a few years,” Mark Duplass told Variety.
“We are floored with the unmitigated access Tony has allowed us to his life and his fascinating relationship to the sport”.
“I’ve been a skater my whole life, so this film is a passion project for me and I am excited to find a good home for it,” said Jones.
Jones has previously worked with Hawk who appeared as a guest in an episode of the first season of the photographer’s interview show Off Camera with Sam Jones.
In a testament to the power and influence of Hawk’s video game legacy, the series Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was also recently been the subject of a new documentary, Pretending I’m Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story.
The rights to that film’s distribution were acquired by Wood Entertainment last year after Swedish director Ludvig Gür’s doco achieved high praise on the film festival circuit.
Hawk has said that the new documentary itself is almost complete, telling Variety that “we have already shot everything for it, it’s just in the editing process”.
“I definitely wanted to give them as much footage and interview as possible,” he added.
The film is still untitled but could lean into Hawk’s nickname Birdman — Birdman Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Kickflips has already been suggested and we have to say it’s a very strong contender.
Further details about the film are still forthcoming but it is expected to debut on the US ‘fall’ film festival circuit — so, September/October time down under. A broader release is anticipated in early 2022.