Exclusive Interview by Taji Ameen
Waiting For Lightning recently screened in NYC. It’s a film about how gnarly Danny Way really is. The director, Jacob Rosenberg has been filming Danny since the H-Street days and has seen everything from Danny breaking windows at skate spots, to skating up a two story tall Euro-Gap. The movie shifts back and fourth between Danny Way’s world record breaking defeats, gnarly slams, and fucked up childhood. Vert skater, Collin Mckay sums up Danny’s youth with the question, “What kid doesn’t like the sound of glass breaking?” With his skateboard as his only form of parental guidance, it’s no surprise that the Danny Way jumped over the Great Wall of China. A ramp so sketchy and built on top of scaffolding that it would never have been allowed in America. Here is a chat with Jacob about making skate videos, Danny Way and balls.
Taji: Hey Jacob, how’s it going?
Jacob: I’m doing good man. I’m just enjoying some time with my family after wrapping up the film.
Yeah, that was intense. What are some of the other skate videos you have made?
Shackle Me Not, Useless Wooden Toys, 1281, Video Days, Love Child, Now N’ Later, DTS the Video, Think Crime, Questionable Video, Virtual Reality and Second Hand Smoke.
You had footage in Video Days?
Yeah, I had a couple tricks in Video Days. Gonz was one of my favorite skaters, growing up I would go down to LA and film him Rudy, Jason, and Guy.
Do you ever run into The Gonz?
I ran into the Gonz when the first EA Skate game came out and Danny and I were starting to work on the documentary. I had caught up with Mike Carroll and he said, “Hey, you should come out to this shoot, Mark and Danny are going to be there.” So, I went to that shoot and it was in some abandoned hospital set and I see Mark, and he looks at me and goes, “Your Jay, Jason, Rosen – Jake Rosenburg.” Then I saw him riding his bike in New York another time and I yelled at him and he looked at me, but kept riding.
How did you get involved in making the movie about Danny Way?
Danny and I are old friends. One day, Danny tracked me down about doing a project to align with his 20th year of being a pro skater. At that point, I became more clear and focused on making a film that was really like a movie experience, not just a chronological telling of his life, but a film that really visceral and involved for the audience.
So in simpler terms, Danny Way is gnarly enough to have a movie dedicated to his life?
Absolutely, Danny has events and a life story that is worthy of the big screen.
What did you want the audience to take away other than the fact that Danny Way has the biggest balls in skateboarding?
We want the audience to take away the fact that virtually anyone has a chance to overcome life’s adversities and hard ships to succeed and achieve their dreams.
Did you know all about his life outside of skateboarding before you did the movie?
We were close enough friends back in the day. Either you would go to Danny’s house out in Rainbow and kind of didn’t know if his mom wasn’t around or was around. I don’t think I understood the extent of it or some of the irony or serendipity of the things that have happened and things that his father figures have said in the past.
How did you decide what to leave out of the story? Were some things just too gnarly to include?
Danny’s number of surgeries is stuff of legend for a professional athlete. I was in the operating room on his last one intimately documenting it, from pre-op, to sedation, to both ankle procedures and then recovery. It was GNARLY and it was very honest and disturbing. It will end up as a DVD Extra bonus clip. In the end I feel like everything that is in the 90 minutes of our film is exactly what was meant to be in there.
Who would win in a fight? Danny Way, Laird Hamilton, Matt Hoffman, or Travis Pastrama?
Both Hoffman and Pastrana can take hard hits to the head and body, but both have taken a lot of hits and have had a lot of concussions. Danny is in great shape and grew up fighting his brother so he has the right fire, but Laird is Poseidon and Laird has battled the gods in the ocean. Much respect to all the contestants but I think Poseidon wins. It wouldn’t be an easy fight for any of them and would involve much blood shed.
Does Danny Way think that Rob Dyrdek is a pussy?
Why are you being such a pussy and asking me that question? Danny loves Rob and vice-versa.
A lot of people out there say that Danny Way is made out of this crazy super natural material that doctors created. Do you know anything about that?
I have no comment about Danny Way’s adamantium or non adamantium exoskeleton. However, I have seen the bones in his ankles.
So he’s human?
He’s very human.
So what is next for Danny after the 2 story Euro-gap he jumped the other day for that Thrasher cover?
He is just trying to get out to Kauai as often as possible to skate his new ramp and keep tweaking it in crazy ways. He is trying to make it more and more street friendly, ya know 18 foot Euro Gap that’s street friendly, right???? Be sure to check out: waitingforlightningthemovie.com for more Danny.