Friday, July 20, 2012
Skateboarder is stunt double in 'Spiderman'
By Keith Hamm
Andrew Garfield, William Spencer and Johannes Gamble.
In this summer's big-screen blockbuster, "The Amazing Spider-Man," Peter Parker is just another kid on a skateboard -- until his Spidey powers kick in. Then all of a sudden, he rides like a pro. To be sure, actor Andrew Garfield -- who plays the pedestrian Parker and his web-slinging counterpart in Sony's reboot of the franchise -- can ride a skateboard. But when it comes to tough tricks and even tougher stunts, he's got backup. While Girl Skateboards pro Alex Olson replaced Garfield on set for a couple clean flip tricks, the full-blown stunt work belongs to skateboarder William Spencer, best known as The Skate Ninja and an unorthodox style that got him a spread in Thrasher and millions of hits on YouTube.
To get the latest, ESPN.com caught up with Spencer at home in Los Angeles, just back from a promotional tour for the movie.
What was your job description for The Amazing Spider-Man?
"I was hired on as a skate double for Garfield. I actually missed the first stunt audition. But as luck would have it, I ended up being called in later. I actually ended up being a pretty good double for him, height- and looks-wise. There were two other doubles, Ilram Choi and David Elson. I have been proficient at stunt work for the last few years, so I was really excited to have the opportunity to work with Andrew and the stunt team to do more than just skate."
How'd you get into such an unusual style and when did it seem reasonable that it could get you gigs on the big screen?
"I don't know how to put this... um, the way I skate is the way I skate. I did a lot of skating alone so a lot of what I like to do on a skateboard comes from my own imagination, because no one was there to tell me it was wrong or stupid. I feel really lucky that I was able to experiment on a skateboard and not care what people think of it."