Dave Castillo | Where Motocross and Stunts Combine
In the world of stunts, Dave Castillo is one of the key players, doubling for major movie stars and specializing in motorcycle stunt work. But before he was filling in for some of Hollywood’s biggest names, he was a professional motocross and Supercross racer. As a kid, Castillo dreamed of making it big racing dirt bikes, however, after meeting some key people who knew his motorcycle abilities would be paramount as a stuntman, Castillo’s professional aspirations changed. And ever since his first stunt job, doubling Brendan Fraser in Dudley Do-Right, Castillo has been an on-set fixture. Hollywood has always been deeply entrenched with motorcycles, and Castillo has managed to use his extensive motocross background to land some major stunt roles.
How did you get into stunt work?
I got into stunt work through my motocross racing. I was a professional Supercross and motocross racer and was called to double Brendan Fraser who is 6’ 3”, 190 pounds and looks the same as me on a motorcycle. I got to go up to Vancouver and spend a little time working on a film. But at the time, I didn’t even know it was for a film. I just thought it was another video part like Crusty Demons or whatever, which I always did for free. I ended up going up there, and it was a big production with me doubling a big name actor. I made a bunch of money in one week and thought, “Well shit, this is what I want to do.” I was mediocre at racing anyway and wasn’t making any money.
How important is it to have a background in motocross racing in order to break into the stunt industry?
My motocross background was really helpful, because there are so many motoheads embedded in the stunt industry. They had already known of me from racing, my background in the sport, the knee brace company, and Castillo Ranch. My background in moto basically networked me right into the crew of stunt guys (that I now work with). The Brand X crew kind of adopted me and took me in. Mic Rodgers, Chris Tuck, Tom Harper, and all these guys really brought me in, babysat me, and got me into it. My background in moto is the reason I’m in this business, period.
What’s the gnarliest stunt that you’ve ever had to do?
Stunt work is funny. People always ask, “Is it crazy? Do you get hurt?” But I kind of came into stunts when technology had come into play and made it safer. The people who paved the way did crazy real life shit; everything they did was real. By the time I got into it, we had wires and cars are now being pulled in by special effects. I haven’t personally done any of the massive, crazy stunts that you’ve probably seen over the years, but I’ve done a lot of technical and pretty gnarly motorcycle stuff. The background of Supercross and motocross seems way scarier than any stunt I’ve ever done. Off the top of my head… I mean, you do a lot of stupid things when you’re doing stunts: Jumping off buildings—and I’m afraid of heights (laughs)—jumping cars… I don’t think I could put my finger on what the craziest stunt was. There are a handful of them, though.
You did a lot of the stunt work in the new Robocop movie, correct?
It was really cool. At the beginning, Robocop was just going to drive a patrol car, but then they decided that they wanted him to be on a motorcycle and be a part of the motorcycle—the motorcycle was sort of an extension of him. The actor that played Robocop, Joel Kinnamen, is 6’ 3” so they found me and brought me in to do all the stunt doubling for Joel in the Robocop suit. I did all the motorcycle work on this ridiculous piece of shit motorcycle that they built. And we did it in Toronto where it was frozen. The ground was frozen, the bike was a pile of shit, and the suit was really difficult to see out of or move in, but we got it done. It was a lot of work, but it was really cool be Robocop. From being a kid and watching Robocop to getting to be Robocop—it was a good deal.