Rob Dyrdek’s brainchild, Street Dreams, which is shaping up to be the first legit skate movie to ever come out of Hollywood, is having its proper red carpet premiere on June 12. Between storyboarding the next season of Fantasy Factory, meeting with movie biz execs, and planning the next bust-free skate spot, we caught up with skateboarding’s renaissance man and got the real dirt on this flick.
Interview by Blair Alley
Rob, how’s everything with Street Dreams been going?
I’ve been dealing with [Street Dreams] while I was trying to write and produce every episode of Fantasy Factory, going to meet the mayor, going to set up a skate spot, dealing with movie distributors, dealing with cartoon sh-t—it's like fourteen million things at once. You gotta understand I shot the first scene of that movie before I ever shot a scene of Rob & Big…
[Rob gets interrupted and has to talk to someone about Fantasy Factory storyboards for the next season]
That's what I'm saying, my schedule is so out of control right now.
Why did you decide to produce, finance, and star in a movie about skating?
It initially started when Nino [Scalia, co-writer] hit me up saying, "You're never gonna believe this, one of the Baldwin brothers just sold a movie for 700 grand about kids who lose their skatepark." A treatment, not even a script. We were like, "F—k that! F—k Hollywood!" How can this happen again? Not one person is ever gonna make a real skate movie?
So Nino came down, we wrote a 20-page treatment, and took it to some Hollywood agent friends of ours. They were like, this is cool but somebody's gotta write the script. Nino was like, "I've written scripts." This is like one of my best friends—and this was the first time I had ever heard of him writing a script. You'd think you'd mention that at some point in a f—kin' conversation.
So Nino and I just set off, and six months later had the finished script. With that said, we wrote it with the intent of P-Rod starring. I wrote the Ryan Dunn character with the intent of Ryan Dunn playing the part—Sheckler, Terry—every part was written for that person. In the movie industry they say never finance your own sh-t, so we put together this budget, and I set out to find financing.
So I'm sitting in this room with these football players, and I'm giving it to them—like what skateboarding is, what's happened over the years. This guy's just all fired up and says, "I knew it man. I speak for all of us, we knew how big skateboarding was when we walked into the mall and saw that kid rolling on his heels."
Right? So I just gave the most passionate speech about the history of the sport, the future of the sport—and he just hit me with Heelys? I was like, really? Why the f—k would I not put up my own money to do this? Why would I let anyone have a smidgen of control that's saying this, when I just gave a clear, authentic, and real—and laid out this whole package and you couldn't even wrap your head around it? That's when I decided to finance it myself, and furthermore I didn't want to wait. I was like, "F—k this, let's just do this." Little did I know it would be four years later before it came out and it was 100 times more than what I expected, and double the money.
Dyrdek from his Last Words in our April issue.
How’d you prepare for the acting side of it? Any classes or did you just wing it?
I never took any classes. We all worked with the real actors, like the dad in the film, he's a real actor. The person that had to act and be a good actor was P-Rod—he carries the whole film. If he was wack, the whole thing was gonna suck. We didn't know how real it was gonna get until we filmed a scene—and then he killed it.
Your character is definitely one of those guys every crew has. Did you model him after anyone you grew up with? Any pros you knew?
I based it a lot off the rivalry that me and Mark Heintzman had that used to be pro for G&S. We grew up together and there was always this bitterness of how I came up so young. There's a scene in there where Paul makes the finals yet bailed a trick, and my character had a perfect run and didn't make the finals. My character focuses his board and yells at him, "I can't f—kin' believe this! I f—kin' have a perfect run and don't even make the finals, and you bail a trick…" Right? Word for word—that’s what happened at my first pro contest when I was sixteen years old in Munster, Germany. I bailed a trick in my run and qualified twelfth to just make it into the finals, and Mark had a perfect run, and got thirteenth and did not make the finals, and it was word f—kin' for word. He focused his board and screamed it in my face. It is exaggerated, though. My character is an ultra mega dick and Mark wasn't like that.
What's different about Street Dreams than the other Hollywood skate movies we've seen?
Man, you already know. Skateboarders did it, period. From every last nuance to the fact that this kid really 360 flip crooked grinded the f—kin' handrail. In The Grind, the kid went from being a street skater to his big final trick is Bucky Lasek as a stunt double doing a heelflip 540 and he doesn't make it, so they cut it up to make it look like a make. Every movie possible—just how corny and f—ked it is.
It's the reality, from games of SKATE, to ridiculous comedy, to going to Tampa, showing cutting off knobs—it's the epitome of what all skaters deal with. But it's still packaged with a love story, and a rivalry—it's still a true feature film. Have you seen it?
Yeah. I went to the screening in L.A. a while ago.
How has the feedback been at the screenings?
Nothing but positive feedback. It's still very much an independent film. My goal is to just kick down the door just to do it. Then the next one is he moves to Cali and at the end he turns pro, and the third one, he loses it all and then gets it all back.
Oh, so we're going to see more feature-length films coming up?
This is just the first in a three-part series.
Are you nervous about the big Hollywood premiere on June 12?
No, I'm not. I've been working on it for so long, I've seen it so many times. I'm proud of it and I'm excited as opposed to nervous. It's not quite like a video part. I would have rather shot myself than go to the Mind Field premiere by having such a bad video part where there's so much pressure. With a movie, it is what it is.
Why is this movie going to be worth 10 bucks to go see in a theater?
Because it's the first real skateboard movie. But I also feel like, if you're a skater, you're going to enjoy it. You're going to enjoy all the little things, all the cameos, how funny it's done with Ryan Dunn's character—how real it is. As a skater, you'll be like, "Damn, that's exactly what I went through."
Speaking of cameos, I love the scene of all the clique hotel rooms the kids go into in Tampa. I think real skaters will trip out when they see that.
Oh my God, it's so fun. Again, just poking fun at the idea of all the different styles and cliques within the sport. If you're a skater, you will absolutely appreciate it.
Perfect, let's end it on that note. Thanks, Rob.
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