While the threat of bodily harm might deter most people from performing daredevil stunts, Johnny Knoxville derives a perverse pleasure from it.
Take, for instance, the time when Knoxville and several cast members were recklessly taking a golf cart for a joy ride while filming jackass the movie.
As usual, the group wasn’t worried about the repercussions, massive sand traps or hilly fairways they were treating as an obstacle course.
And as many avid “Jackass” fans might have seen on MTV, the golf cart flipped onto Knoxville, thanks in part to cast member Ryan Dunn, and sent him into the air and face down on the ground, nearly snapping his neck.
“I was out for a while,” Knoxville said while fumbling with a roll of Life Savers and leaning back in his seat to prop up his battered gray Chuck Taylors.
“It was funny, a lot of fun.”
Knoxville was in town promoting jackass the movie, a Dickhouse Production, at the Four Seasons hotel.
But the movie wasn’t the real topic of conversation and it turned into a Q & A about his life and the experiences while making the movie.
The “Jackass” crew doesn’t push the envelope; they simply staple it, probably to a body part.
That’s exactly what you can see in jackass the movie, which opens in theaters Oct. 25. A whole lot of flesh, blood and feces.
“A lot of male nudity, things going in and out of holes,” Knoxville said. “Uh, it’s like the [Jackass television] show to the tenth power. It’s wide open.”
Almost as wide open as the elephant’s backside they were going to attempt to fit Steve-O in.
Knoxville said Steve-O would be “the worlds skinniest hemorrhoid,” until learning that it was nearly inconceivable and the idea failed.
Many others didn’t though, and the freedom for Knoxville, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Steve-O, Dave England, Ryan Dunn, Jason “Wee Man” Acuna, Preston Lacy and Ehren McGhehey to do whatever they want expanded after they ended the Jackass TV show on MTV after 24 episodes.
“I quit while it was still good,” Knoxville said.
“Which left us with a backlog of ideas that we didn’t get to do on television-and some that we could never do for television-and we took that and in about a month and a half wrote a bunch of new ideas.”
The crew then took their body-damaging act around the globe, turning heads everywhere they went, leaving many a senior citizen in near cardiac arrest.
Knoxville and his buddies toured Mexico, Japan and practically the entire United States.
“The boys were on their worst behavior in Japan,” Knoxville said. “Pontius pissed his pants three times on the way over.”
The group also had a stay in Miami — one of Knoxville’s favorite places to film – as well as Pennsylvania.
Knoxville and Co. were hesitant on having sponsors for the movie, but while in Miami they came up with the bright idea of having beer companies sponsor them in exchange for free beer.
“I think our livers suffered the most damage from traveling around the world,” Knoxville said.
“We hit almost every bar in every city.”
For all the breaks, sprains, concussions and stitches, Knoxville likes to sip on the traditional scotch on the rocks for some healing power.
“But if you don’t have that I’ll drink whatever you got,” he said.
But of all things to savor, it’s his job that allows him to have the most fun.
“These guys, we’re all friends,” Knoxville said. “We’re together when we’re not shooting and to travel all over the world and to do what we do — as ridiculous as it may seem — is just a lot of fun.”
The funniest stunt in the movie was originally intended for Knoxville until he turned it down, then Steve-O turned it down after his father said he would disown him if he did it.
Dunn eventually accepted the stunt.
Knoxville won’t give the scene away but did provide a teaser.
“I can tell you that you won’t look at little toy cars and Ryan Dunn ever the same again,” said Knoxville, who also produced the film.
On screen Knoxville is a real jackass.
But off it, he is a regular guy that had ambitions like everyone else.
“My advice is whatever creative endeavor you try to do, maintain as much control as possible,” he said.
“Don’t let anyone come in and try to compromise the idea that you have.
Because your gut instinct is the right one.
“Other than that, drink one glass of water for every glass of booze and you won’t be as hung over as I am.”
Chris Silva can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org