More about photographing the "Gleaming the Cube" movie shoot in '87

I recently sent out an email to subscribers about the photo shoot in Hollywood on the "Gleaming the Cube" set. Here it is, and here are more cool photos from the shoot.

"The term “Gleaming the Cube” meant nothing as far as I knew in October of 1987 when I shot photos on the movie set of the film with the same name in the Hollywood Hills. Stacy Peralta was the second-unit director and technical adviser, and that pretty much means he coordinated all of the skateboarding stunts during the filming. The term was taken from a 1983 Thrasher Magazine, where GSD (Garry Scott Davis) asked Neil Blender in an interview, “Have you ever gleamed inside a cube?” It still doesn’t mean anything to me, and if it had made sense, I would have been disappointed with Garry and Neil. What eventually is made clear in the movie is that “GTC” means “Pushing one’s limits to the edge.”

            I was working for TWS in ’87 and was allowed on the filming set, which was located at an empty swimming pool at a nice house in the Hollywood Hills. Upon arrival, I was stoked to see a few people I knew like Stacy; screen actor Tony Hawk, who plays Buddy; stunt double Mike McGill; stunt double Eric Dressen; screen actor Tommy Guerrero, who plays Sam; cinematographer Pat Darren (Animal Chin Filmer); and skater-actors Christian Jacobs and Max Perlich. I was given a few rules: don’t shoot photos while dialog by the actors is being filmed unless I have a camera blimp (a housing for my camera that makes it silent—yeah, like we use those in skate photography), stay out of the shot, and above all, enjoy the craft services (free food and beverages).

            Michael Tolkin, the writer, and Graeme Clifford, the director, were really cool to this skate photographer because I knew Stacy Peralta.

Tony Hawk layback air

            The plot of “Gleaming the Cube” features a teenaged OC skateboarder, Brian, played by Christian Slater (stunt double Mike McGill in a wig), who tries to prove that his adopted Vietnamese brother’s death, ruled a suicide by the police, is actually a murder. He teams up with a Detective Al Lucero, played by Steven Bauer. I will stop there, no spoilers from me.

            Let me tell you that I was pretty stoked to be able to shoot skateboarding on a Hollywood movie set, no matter if it wasn’t going to be a shoo-in for an Oscar. You have to remember that in the 1980s you barely saw skateboarding in mainstream movies, TV shows, or commercials, and seeing skating in a Hollywood film was pretty cool.

            I hadn’t seen “Gleaming the Cube” again since its premiere in 1989 and figured I should watch it, so I did last night. I enjoyed it and was stoked seeing my friends performing some 36 years ago. Wow!

            If you get a chance, stream a double feature: watch “Gleaming the Cube” and the film “Thrashin’” together just to see some spurts of good skateboarding and do a little time-traveling.

            Here are a few photos from the shoot I did at the backyard pool that day. Some are featured in my online store, at The others are available on request.

Stacy Peralta films Tommy Guerrero


 Mike McGill wearing a wig and doing the stunts for Christian Slater


 Mike Vallely layback air



Stacy Peralta filming Eric Dressen


Extra blood anyone?

 Actors Stephen Bauer and Christian Slater...Tommy Guerrero sitting


Tony Hawk ollie off hip


Mike Vallely and Stacy Peralta


 McGill keeping it cool


Dressen taking a filming break


 Dressen frontside grind over deathbox


 Movie cop inspecting blood


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