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Lords of Dogtown (2005)

Emile Hirsch, Lords of Dogtown | EMILE HIRSCH
Image credit: Emile Hirsch: Jaimie Trueblood
EMILE HIRSCH

Details Release Date: Jun 03, 2005; Rated: PG-13; Length: 106 Minutes; Genre: Drama; With: Emile Hirsch and Heath Ledger; Distributor: Sony Pictures Entertainment

Before Stacy Peralta wrote the screenplay for Lords of Dogtown, detailing the rise of the 1970s skateboarding scene that he, Tony Alva, and Jay Adams made famous, he made the Oscar-winning documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys so there'd at least be a reliable filmic record of how things really were, in case Hollywood screwed up the fictional version. And let's face it, with Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst attached as the original director, a screwup was very possible. Then David Fincher succeeded Durst as Lords' overseer, only to have it fall to Catherine Hardwicke, whose only previous feature-directing credit was the troubled-teen drama Thirteen. But forget any ''female director + sports movie = incongruous pairing'' stereotypes: Hardwicke just might be the jockiest director ever. ''I grew up on the Rio Grande River, jumping off cliffs, inner-tubing, waterskiing, snowboarding, surfing — so I like action,'' says Hardwicke, who adds, ''Thirteen was kind of an action movie, in its own way!''

One key decision was to teach young actors to skate, rather than casting skaters. ''Besides Jason Lee, the majority of [skaters] are s---ty actors,'' says Alva, who served as a consultant. The mostly unknown leads went through 10 weeks of skating lessons, but the filmmakers weren't shy about using pros as doubles. ''We've got a documentarian that followed us around,'' Alva says, ''and we're definitely gonna have a whole 'nother behind-the-scenes movie, with a lot of good skating.'' We can't wait: a documentary about a feature that's a remake of a documentary.

Originally posted Apr 18, 2005