Interview: The men of “Jackass”

Knoxville and company discuss their latest film, “Jackass 3D.”

Tony Libera

Anyone whose seen the âÄúJackassâÄù 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 shouldnâÄôt come as a surprise that theyâÄôre no different in reality âÄî 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 HollywoodâÄôs Roosevelt Hotel to discuss their use of 3D, Steve-OâÄôs sobriety and the potential end of the series.

What made you decide it was time for another âÄúJackass?âÄù

Director Jeff Tremaine: Most of us were always ready. I think it takes about four years to recover from a âÄúJackassâÄù movie âĦ 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, weâÄôre 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 donâÄôt care, and itâÄôs going to be good.

ItâÄôs hard âÄòcause itâÄôs real. No oneâÄôs done it where itâÄôs all real and thereâÄôs 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 thereâÄôll be one from Tremaine that says, âÄúShit shoe: Find a shoe and then shit in it.âÄù

Is there a certain amount of fear going into work everyday?

JT: IâÄôm paranoid to shoot. These guys come after me in full force. ThatâÄôs what IâÄôm saying; it takes four years to recover, not from the physical injuries, but itâÄôs your mental trauma. I bunk up at my parentsâÄô house and I know they wonâÄôt start kicking me in the dick.

How do you mentally prepare yourself for the stunts?

Steve-O: I know itâÄôs going to suck and I just do it âĦ One of the guys will get something really awesome, some great footage, and then that will give the rest of us footage-envy. WeâÄôll be jealous of some awesome stunt that someone else did âĦ 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 donâÄôt want to do it, but I have to do it, and thatâÄôs kind of what itâÄôs all about.

BM: ItâÄôs easier to just get up there and do it as soon as possible, like, roll camera, IâÄôm going to do it. If you eye it up and figure out how youâÄôre 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 donâÄôt want to make anyone else look like assholes. WeâÄôll make ourselves look like assholes; we donâÄôt focus it outward. We donâÄôt want to be mean. WeâÄôll be mean to each other, but we love each other, weâÄôre a family and we know what it is.

BM: I wouldnâÄôt stick a hot poker up my ass and rip my dick off.

JK: But we are talking to him about it. ThatâÄôs not a definite, final, âÄúNo.âÄù

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 wasnâÄôt just Dr. Drew credits me. It was a lot of friends âĦ I contacted Dr. Drew and he laid it out for us, and we did what he said, but Steve-O took responsibility âĦ HeâÄôs two and a half years sober now, and weâÄôre 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? âĦ He was much better this way.

JK: HeâÄôs a little more scared this time to do things, which was great on camera, but he did them anyway, and thatâÄôs awesome. He got the best footage.

Steve-O: It was important for me to prove to myself and everyone else that sobriety hasnâÄôt 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 thereâÄôs a sense of closure. Do you think this will be the last âÄúJackassâÄù project that you guys do?

JT: WeâÄôve made each and every one of these as if itâÄôs the last, so. WeâÄôve learned that saying itâÄôs the last one is kind of stupid every four years coming out with a new one.

Steve-O: Yeah âĦ We were too old when we started doing this.