TC Xone – Mixing Acting With Action Sports

By TC Kirkham

How many times have we seen pro athletes make it big in the movies?  Football players do well, so do basketball players, pro wrestlers, the list is endless.

So how come no extreme sports star, with the exception of Jason Lee, who started his career as a pro skateboarder, has found stardom in acting? Others who have tried have pretty much failed, at least in the past. I do seem to remember these gawd-awful movies coming out in the late 70s starring Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta (ok, I more than remember them – I HAVE them on video, heh heh heh)

Now, that’s starting to change.

Some action sports stars are starting to make the leap to acting, and some are doing it well, others not so much (didja catch Tony Hawk on CSI? ::shudder::)

So far, Paul “P-Rod” Rodriguez has been the most successful, and that’s not surprising considering his loins – actor/comedian Paul Rodriguez is his dad. P-Rod made waves a couple years back when his first big gig, the indie film Vicious Circle, won awards at the 2008 New York Latino Film Festival. Then last year, he teamed up with two more well-known skate rats, Rob Dyrdek and Ryan Sheckler, in the critically-acclaimed film Street DreamsSheckler has since tested the waters further with a co-starring role in the family comedy Tooth Fairy, where he got very good notices. It was for that role that the Sheck was named to 2009’s Popcorn N Roses Rising Stars list.

What other action stars have what it takes to make it in the movies? Here are ten that could find stardom with the right vehicle…and if they so chose to try reaching for the stars…

  1. Garrett Reynolds – Reynolds is one of my favorite young action stars today. The TV doc Five Months To Freedom showed off what a cool guy he is, and that he’s a natural in front of the camera. Given his fun-loving nature, he could be a successful actor if he wanted. How about teaming Reynolds up with fellow BMX star Anthony Napolitan (see below) and maybe someone like Demi Lovato in a remake of the 1980 Aussie cult classic BMX BANDITS, the movie that launched Nicole Kidman’s career? I bet it would be hilarious…
  2. Shaun White – no surprise here, except for those of you who thought he might be #1.  White has stated in interviews that he is interested in acting, but doesn’t want a “dude” script because it wouldn’t be challenging. I agree – I think Shaun’s charisma alone would make any movie a hit, but how about casting him against type as, say, a serial killer or something in a really serious drama? That would be intensely interesting…and a real challenge for the two time Olympic Gold winner. And how about another field – when is White gonna take that guitar of his into a recording studio?
  3. Gretchen Bleiler – this snowboarding queen has natural beauty, grace, and charm – so why not give Bleiler some of the roles that actresses like Jennifer Aniston, Katherine Heigl, and Amy Adams are playing? I think chances are excellent that she’d do a bang-up job in them…
  4. Tanner Hall – aside from the fact that he’s already crazy, Hall could really make his mark in acting with psychotic henchmen or something. But I think he also would be good as a comedy lead. And the fact that he looks strikingly like another not-related Hall, as in actor Anthony Michael Hall, the two could easily play father and son these days…hmmmm, you listening, all you casting gurus?
  5. Anthony Napolitan – like Garrett Reynolds above, Napolitan has a natural camera presence and true skills as an athlete. Napolitan has that kind of “guy next door” look and attitude about him – which is why I think he and Reynolds would be a great on-screen team in a remake of BMX BANDITS or something similar.
  6. Danny Kass – you can’t make a list like this and not mention the King of the Dirtbags! Kass’ series of hilarious snowboarding movie parodies are already legendary. So when is he gonna get serious and make a real move into the acting field? He’s got the ability and the know-how. It’s time he follows in Rob Dyrdek’s footsteps and starts producing his own real films, not just his Grenade classics…
  7. Louie Vito – I asked Vito during an X-Games online chat last year if he was interested in an acting career, and he laughed and said no. But after his turn on Dancing With The Stars, it’s clear he’s got the charm, the sense of humor, and the talent to make it. I’ll bet it’s only a matter of time before we see him in something on the big screen besides docs like Snow Blind
  8. Hannah Teter – wonderfully spacy, Teter is ideal for that kind of spacey friend of the lead, a la Olivia Thirlby in JUNO. She’s got a serene quality about her, and the way she always carries herself would make her hard to ignore on the big screen.
  9. Sage Kotsenburg – I have a lot of action sports pix on my screensaver at work, and a few months ago, I was talking to a girl I work with and Kotsenburg’s pic popped up in the rotation. The girl stopped dead in her tracks and asked me, “Who is THAT? Oh my God he’s so cute!” When I explained he’d just won the Winter Dew Cup in Slopestyle, she had no clue, but added, “He should be an actor. He’d be huge!”  I agree – Sage seems so funny and bubbly when on TV I think he could be another Shaun White in the making when it comes to possible acting charisma…
  10. Rob Lorifice – Rob’s been a favorite around our house for years, and he’s only now getting noticed by the majority of fans. My wife met him last year at the Boston Dew Tour stop and said he was very nice (and nice to look at, heh heh heh). Those long blond locks of his go a long way, and his intensity says he could be really good in any acting part. Now if we can get him to shave the cheesy fuzz off this year…

And for the record, here are the next ten on my list:

  1. Scotty Lago
  2. Michael “Goldy” Goldschmidt
  3. Mason Aguerre
  4. Dennis Enarson
  5. Kelly Clark
  6. Lyn-Z Adams
  7. Luke Mitrani
  8. Simon Dumont
  9. Jamie Anderson
  10. Ryan Nyquist

Anyone else have any ideas? Or ideas for what film projects my top ten could star in? Leave a comment and let all the readers know!

More from the TC Xone (spelled with an “X” for “X-treme, of course) next time!

TC Kirkham is proud to be the oldest Expression Session blogger. He’s a lifelong fan of extreme sports and idolized the original Dogtown crew as a teenager. When not blogging about action sports, he runs blogs on movies, music, and more on Popcorn n Roses.


One Response to TC Xone – Mixing Acting With Action Sports

  1. Marty Piccinich says:

    Steve Fisher.

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