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Published on November 2nd, 2010 | by brogen

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“Making Jackass movies is like going to funny war” – Interview with Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine for Jackass 3D

Johnny Knoxville at the Dublin Premiere of Jackass 3D

Earlier this week, Culch.ie sat down and had a chat with Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine about Jackass 3D. Johnny was very happy to talk about his penis, and we were only too happy to listen…

I’ll start with the serious question…
Johnny Knoxville: Is it about my penis?

No, we’ll save that for later! Cinema began in the 1890s with the Lumiere Brothers’ urge to document. With this in mind, would you speculate that Jackass is closer to the origins of cinema than many other films being made at the moment?
Jeff Tremaine:
We have a real urge to do what we do, and it’s not – in any way – connected to the history of cinema. We are driven to make these movies…
JK: Because we’re shits!
JT: [laughs] Yeah basically, this is what we do, we love it, we’re good at it, but it’s not for any historical record.
JK: We just do it to make ourselves laugh…
JT: And we get it on film!
JK: Were they [the Lumiere Brothers] shits?

No, they wanted to document the world around them.
JK: We are not too arty. We’re shits.
JT: We don’t take the high road very often. We are very lowbrow.

Why did you decide to do another Jackass film after a four-year break?
JT: It was time.
JK: Everybody wanted to, and I wanted to… I get obsessive and I start thinking about it. I don’t even realise what I am doing, then I can’t think of another one, then I ask Jeff ‘should we do another one?’ and he says ‘OK’.
JT: It happened the same way the second one happened. It just became time. I pushed hard for the second one and I was done after that. He [Johnny Knoxville] came up with the third one… We were ready but there was no pressure. He proposed the third one. We thought the first one was the last one… We came back and did a second one, and a third one now.

Jeff Tremaine at the Dublin Premiere of Jackass 3DWhy did you decide to do the movie in 3D?
JK: Paramount suggested it. We resisted but we did some tests and it didn’t change the way we shot – which we were scared of.
JT: It added a very fun element to it, once we got used to how it worked. After we did a little testing with it – we got a bunch of the guys together and their energy was just bursting off the screen. It was obvious that it was time to shoot a movie in 3D. They were just going crazy and it was super fun. It’s all about the spirit of it. We might be old and stupid but that spirit is alive and well! [laughs]

Johnny, what was your worst injury?
JK: Are you talking about my penis?

Are you talking about your penis?
JK: She’s talking about my penis! ‘Tell me about your dic… Oh, I mean your worst injury!’ [laughs]

OK, OK… Then what about your second worst injury?
JK: No no no! I am going to tell you about my penis… It is the best one [laughs]
JT: He thought he could back flip a motorcycle, even though he can’t ride a motorcycle, and it went horrible…
JK: By horrible, he means great.
JT: It didn’t exactly go as we thought. We didn’t think he was going to break his dick.
JK: I broke the handlebars off my crotch!
JT: It was actually scary…
JK: Yeah I could have been bleeding internally…
JT: He walked over to the ambulance and pulled his dick out and there was blood dripping out of it. I was like ‘that’s not good’.
JK: It looked like blood dripping out of a thumbtack. [laughs] It’s not too long, but it’s skinny.

Jeff, with that in mind, has there been any stunt that you vetoed?
JT: No. The line is what you strive to find.
JK: If someone is standing on the line, Jeff goes up behind them and pushes them over it! [laughs]
JT: If the line makes itself apparent then we cross it. The one thing I will say is, whatever isn’t funny to us, or whatever misses the spirit, then that’s the line. As long as the spirit is fun and adventure, then the line is unachievable. If it gets dark or unfunny to us then that’s the line.
JK: In the old days, if there was a line, Steve-O would have snorted it up but he celebrated 2 years of being sober on the set of Jackass 3D! [laughs]

You guys are always pulling pranks on each other on set. Does this lead to an air of paranoia?
JT: YES!
JK: More like a cyclone of paranoia!
JT: I feel a real need for therapy. There is a reason why we’ve taken four years between each movie… It’s just mental recovery more than anything. Dave England put it best, he said ‘Making Jackass movies is like going to funny war, you are constantly getting sabotaged, you don’t know where the enemy is!’ [laughs]

At the premiere, people were literally laughing, crying and gagging. Is this the reaction that you hoped for?
JK: A person in the States burst his appendix laughing! [laughs]

I love how you are happy about that!
JK: No he’s OK! [laughs]
JT: I always encourage people to see it in the theatre because it is a real group effort. When you are watching it, if you see it in a fun, rowdy theatre it changes your whole experience. It’s like riding a rollercoaster or being at a fun party. We always want to film the audience watching it because you get big, crazy reactions…

Jeff, you took a punch on The Saturday Show…
JT: The guy backed off on me.
JK: My guy hit me a little harder, but they were both being very nice. I had knuckle marks leaving the studio.
JT: They were little dudes, but they were strong. If they had laid into me, that would have sucked, man. [laughs]

…Are you ever tempted to get more involved with the stunts in the Jackass movies? JT: No, never! Hate it!
JK: He’s smart, we’re the stupid ones!
JT: Every time you see my face on camera it is unintentional! [laughs]

Will we see a Jackass 4?
JT: Very possibly.
JK: Maybe, maybe not.
JT: We don’t have a plan for it.
JK: We get that call, it’s like a feeling… If we get that crazy feeling that we have to, we will.
JT: If someone said ‘You have to make a Jackass movie in two months’…
JK: [shouts] I’d say ‘Get stuffed!’
JT: I would definitely say ‘Get stuffed’
JK: If you tell us to then we’re fucking definitely never going to.
JT: We have done a horrible job at predicting our future. [laughs] We have a very fun living.

It appears that the Jackass lads had a whale of a time in Ireland. Not only did they turn up at the premiere in Cineworld on Sunday night in fancy dress, but they took advantage of local customs and drank Guinness throughout my interview with them. When our time was up, Johnny walked down the corridor behind me – shoes in hand – singing Galway Bay. A somewhat sombre end to a manic weekend.

Jackass 3D is in cinemas now. Click here for the Culch.ie review.

Note: Photos courtesy of David Levingstone/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

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About the Author

I have been obsessed with film since I saw ET in the cinema. I must have been about three years old. I blog at http://brogenmusings.wordpress.com and twitter under @brogenhayes



3 Responses to “Making Jackass movies is like going to funny war” – Interview with Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine for Jackass 3D

  1. Peter Balfe says:

    Nice interview and well done for making it out alive!

  2. Great Interview 🙂 You got some good stuff out of them!

    I think it’s cool that they all came over for the irish premiere. You wouldn’t get that too often.

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