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LORDS OF DOGTOWN

About The Production
"What we didn't realize was that the little wheels under our feet were going to take us on a ride through life that none of us expected.” – Stacy Peralta

From the dangerous waves off a long-forgotten pier to the concrete wasteland of a city slum, LORDS OF DOGTOWN brings to cinematic life the rebel beginnings of some unforgettable sports culture stars.

"When you think about American Graffiti or Fast Times at Ridgemont High, they were seminal movies about youth culture,” says Sony Pictures Chairman Amy Pascal. "LORDS OF DOGTOWN is that kind of film. These kids sparked a movement that reverberates to this day.” In the early 70s skateboarding was a mostly dead sport of boring 360° spins and handstands, but certainly not speed and style. A serendipitous convergence in southern California though, led to the emergence of the Dogtown riders: urethane wheels, a killer drought that dried out the region's swimming pools, and a surfing aesthetic that took hold in the minds of kids like Tony Alva, Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta.

"Because we had these wheels of urethane, a plastic substance that gripped the concrete, we could now ride vertical,” says Peralta. "We used to ride walls as if we were surfing them. That's how the whole Z-Boy thing developed. We were surfers first who took all our drive and ambition and motivation to become professional surfers and switched it to become professional skateboarders.”

The Z-Boys became famous for their pool skating and radical behavior. Low-riding cement lovers, these outlaw surfers took to the curves and walls of neighborhood pools and invented a whole new style of skating. With one hand stretched out to touch the concrete as they pivoted like their surf idol Larry Bertleman, the Z-Boys' skating was like no other, inspiring kids the world over and transforming the sport forever.

The Zephyr Team, which they later became, was aggressive, passionate, and poetic. They unleashed a whole new approach to any given terrain -- shred the pavement, or shred yourself.

In 1999 Spin published an article detailing the history of the Z-boys, focusing on the Dogtown experience, and it caught the attention of development execs at several Hollywood studios. One of those executives was John Linson, who worked at Fox at the time. "I grew up in Santa Monica,” says Linson, "so it was a movement I always knew about. I always felt it should be made into a movie.” Linson immediately began talks with Jay Adams and other original Z-Boys to secure their cooperation and involvement.

But first, Peralta wanted to make the documentary version of their tale, and in 2002 the film Dogtown and Z-Boys was released through Sony Pictures Classics, directed by Peralta. The acclaimed film won the former skateboarding champion and original Z-boy the Audience and Director's Awards for documentary film at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as Best Documentary at the AFI Film Festival, and an Independent Spirit Award.

For Peralta and the other original members of the Zephyr team, having their life glamorized by Hollywood was initially an iffy proposition. The Dogtowners had gone from pure poverty to making rock-star money and leading rock-star lives, and some of them barely survived. This story had to be told correctly. Once Peralta made his documentary, which showed the real, gritty story, he was ready to write the fictionalized version. "I started writing the film shortly after we introduced the documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in the Spring of 2001,” says Peralta. "I had written five screenplays prior to writing LORDS OF DOGTOWN and it was without a doubt the most difficult, mental, ambitious thing I've ever done in my life. When it really got tough, I locked myself in my house for two weeks and didn't so much as answer the phone until I had something.”

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