Anyone whose seen the “Jackass” series knows that its cast members are quasi-insane, willing to do anything for the camera so long as it earns them a laugh. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’re no different in reality — constantly cracking wise and slinging insults at one another. Yet despite their particular brand of madness, these jackasses are some down-to-Earth folk.
A&E sat down with the cast at Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel to discuss their use of 3D, Steve-O’s sobriety and the potential end of the series.
What made you decide it was time for another “Jackass?”
Director Jeff Tremaine: Most of us were always ready. I think it takes about four years to recover from a “Jackass” movie … I think we all sort of had the urge, you know, the four-year itch.
Whose idea was it to shoot in 3D?
JT: Paramount suggested we shoot it in 3D, and we were resistant at first, because the way we do things, we’re a real run-and-gun crew, and to get these big 3D cameras just scared us. But once we did the tests it proved that, just get these guys in front of the camera, they don’t care, and it’s going to be good.
It’s hard ‘cause it’s real. No one’s done it where it’s all real and there’s no computer graphics to enhance it.
Do you keep a book of ideas?
Bam Margera: Yeah, everybody kind of comes up with an idea and they fax it on over to Paramount. Most ideas are like two pages long, really descriptive and then there’ll be one from Tremaine that says, “Shit shoe: Find a shoe and then shit in it.”
Is there a certain amount of fear going into work everyday?
JT: I’m paranoid to shoot. These guys come after me in full force. That’s what I’m saying; it takes four years to recover, not from the physical injuries, but it’s your mental trauma. I bunk up at my parents’ house and I know they won’t start kicking me in the dick.
How do you mentally prepare yourself for the stunts?
Steve-O: I know it’s going to suck and I just do it … One of the guys will get something really awesome, some great footage, and then that will give the rest of us footage-envy. We’ll be jealous of some awesome stunt that someone else did … When that porta-potty bungee thing came around, there was so much good footage in the can I just realized, like, man, I hate it, I don’t want to do it, but I have to do it, and that’s kind of what it’s all about.
BM: It’s easier to just get up there and do it as soon as possible, like, roll camera, I’m going to do it. If you eye it up and figure out how you’re going to fall and, like, what might happen, it makes you not want to do it even more.
Do you have a line that you draw anywhere?
Johnny Knoxville: We don’t want to make anyone else look like assholes. We’ll make ourselves look like assholes; we don’t focus it outward. We don’t want to be mean. We’ll be mean to each other, but we love each other, we’re a family and we know what it is.
BM: I wouldn’t stick a hot poker up my ass and rip my dick off.
JK: But we are talking to him about it. That’s not a definite, final, “No.”
Knoxville, Dr. Drew mentioned you as a good example of how a friend can help someone battle with addiction with Steve-O.
JK: Yeah, it wasn’t just Dr. Drew credits me. It was a lot of friends … I contacted Dr. Drew and he laid it out for us, and we did what he said, but Steve-O took responsibility … He’s two and a half years sober now, and we’re real proud of him.
What do you think of his performance post-sobriety?
BM: I was actually wondering about that as well. I was like, is he going to be completely different? Is he going to preach, or just simply be not funny? … He was much better this way.
JK: He’s a little more scared this time to do things, which was great on camera, but he did them anyway, and that’s awesome. He got the best footage.
Steve-O: It was important for me to prove to myself and everyone else that sobriety hasn’t made me a lame, boring wimp, you know. Being present and clearheaded, I was dreading doing the stunts so much more than ever before, but at the same time I was more eager than ever before to do it. So, just that dynamic really lent itself for a good contribution on my part.
I was going to ask you how long you think you can sustain this lifestyle, but in the closing credits there’s a sense of closure. Do you think this will be the last “Jackass” project that you guys do?
JT: We’ve made each and every one of these as if it’s the last, so. We’ve learned that saying it’s the last one is kind of stupid every four years coming out with a new one.
Steve-O: Yeah … We were too old when we started doing this.
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