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Jackass 3D - Johnny Knoxville interview

Jackass 3D

Interview by Rob Carnevale

JACKASS star Johnny Knoxville talks about some of his experiences of shooting Jackass 3D, nerving up for each stunt and why he won’t let his daughter watch everything in the movie… which even by his own admission contains a higher penis count that normal!

He also talks about getting a newfound (and painful) appreciation of American football and why each stunt is always about getting the shot…

Q. Is there ever a point when you think this is not a good idea?
Johnny Knoxville: Yeah, and that’s when Jeff [Tremaine] says “action!” [Laughs]

Q. But do you have to work harder to nerve yourself up now that you’re older?
Johnny Knoxville: I think I’m more willing to do stunts now than when the TV show started. Maybe it’s due to the concussions… I don’t know.

Q. Do you ever think, though, that you might get really badly hurt… that you’re not made out of this amazing material that doesn’t seem to break no matter how much it bends?
Johnny Knoxville: Oh it breaks! There’s a lot of breaks! I just anticipate the footage so much that I just go to a happy place.

Q. Do you sometimes get surprised by people’s reactions? There’s the scene where you’re dressed up as the naughty grandfather, with your granddaughter, and the one guy gets up and says ‘this is wrong’. Do you find that brave?
Johnny Knoxville: We tried to do that for three and a half days and people were just ignoring us! I was like: “Really? No one cares!?” We were fishing for just a good, honest person. We had her pregnant at one point… because no one gave a s**t! He was super-cool that guy. He had a sense of humour about it. Sometimes people don’t.

Q. Do you ever get paranoid on set?
Johnny Knoxville: Absolutely, every time we’re on set!

Q. Is it easier to get away with stuff now that you’ve established a reputation? Are the censors less strict?
Johnny Knoxville: Well, I think we got more penis in this film than we ever have before. But there’s great competition between the cast as well. It’s like: “Someone’s just got a great bit…” And then: “Well, I’ve got to go and get a great bit!”

Q. Were there any stunts you wanted to do that couldn’t be used?
Johnny Knoxville: No, anything we wanted in the movie is in the movie. The only thing that wouldn’t make the movie is because it’s so competitive, and a lot of great things got left out because we wanted to keep it to 90 minutes. So, there’s 3.5 coming out online and on DVD in January, and we have the entire cast in London right now shooting wrap-arounds for it. There’s some great stuff in there.

Q. How was being tackled by an American football professional? Did it improve your appreciation of American football?
Johnny Knoxville: I had a big appreciation before, but, man, they’re so strong and he was so fast! I had to do that scene three times. He was hitting me so hard but each time I was like: “No, I don’t think that looked too good for camera!” If Jeff has to ask whether we got the shot, then we didn’t f**king get it! We ended up getting another one for safety.

Q. Do you continue to be surprised by how popular these films are?
Johnny Knoxville: Stunned.

Q. Has any fan tried to impress you by performing a Jackass-style stunt in front of you?
Johnny Knoxville: There was one guy… we walked into a bar in Westchester and we had some mouse-traps with us and we were doing one on each other’s ear when people weren’t looking, stuff like that, and some guy said: “I’ll do that to my penis!” It was Valentine’s night, he was with his girlfriend. So, I was like: “Alright… here!” So, he does his penis, and he does his balls and then the owner of the bar comes out with a hammer and says: “So, are you up for this?” And the other guy is like: “Yeah!” His girlfriend leaves. But he put his thing on a piece of wood and dropped the hammer on it on a wooden table, and then he put his balls out and did that. We were like: “Jesus Christ, man!” And then he finds me two nights later in a bar and says: “Hey dude! Do you want to see my dick?” I was like: “No!” And he said: “My girlfriend left me…” And then he showed me his dick and it was just a mess. It was just black and blue.

Q. Your daughter turns up towards the end… does she see much of the finished film?
Johnny Knoxville: I let her watch the whole thing but I made her sit right beside me and I said: “Baby, when Daddy says put your fingers in your ears and cover your eyes, cover them!” So, there’s about five or six times where I just made her sit there for whole scenes watching like that.

Q. She didn’t see Chris Pontius’ penis stunt with the model plane?
Johnny Knoxville: No, that was an ear plugger and eye coverer! Any cock or anything like that…

Q. Was that your daughter also doing the spontaneous Rocky punch on Jeff [Tremaine, director] near the end?
Johnny Knoxville: Yeah, she got on set one day and said: “Where’s Jeff?” She really likes doing things to Jeff. So, I was like: “He’s right over there, honey!”

Read our review of Jackass 3D

Read our interview with Jeff Tremaine