INT: Johnny Knoxville
-- this set visit took place in January 2005 --
Visit / Seann William Scott / Johnny Knoxville /
Jay Chandrasekhar / Jessica Simpson
Johnny Knoxville walked into the room, very nonchalantly placed a magazine on the table and sat down. Curious, we took a closer look and noticed it was a copy of Big Black Butt magazine. By the end of the interview, he was tearing pages out of the magazine and signing them to each one of us Hugs and Kisses, Johnny Knoxville. And, with that, heres the interview.
What's the best article in the magazine so far?
Well, apparently, sexy red has the world's largest ass with the world's smallest waist. She's claiming a 23 inch waist and I'm calling bullshit.
Did you have somebody pick that up for you or did you pick it up on the way here?
No, no, I was just, yeah, I stopped at the liquor store and they had Big Black Butt and you can't afford not to buy it.
You just drive through the liquor store?
No, no, no. There is drive through liquor. I think there's places you can get...
drive through. And they just put a piece of tape on it and then
that's considered not an open container. I love
You been drinking any of the moonshine up here?
No, I'm having some shipped in from Tennessee this week, though. I can' find...
No, I don't know what county it's coming out of, actually, maybe Cocke. But (yells out loud "Coooooooocke!!") that's always good to yell out in the middle of restaurants. My buddy gets it...
Is there a Cocke County, Louisiana? Seriously?
No, it's Tennessee...Cocke County, Tennessee. My friend sent me a...it's a Cocke County and their mascot is...they're the Cocke County Fighting Cocks.
Luke Duke, Bo Duke, how did you get into this one? Did Seann really actually get you interested in the project?
I didn't know Seann before this. I think he's hilarious. I'm a huge fan of Seann's but I didn't know him before this. No, actually, it was just through a phone call and it was 'what do you think about Dukes?' Could be good. So I met with everybody and talked and I was trying to see what they had in mind. I'd never seen Starship...
Supertroopers, right. Before I met with Jay and then I watched it. Such a great film. I don't know how I didn't see it when it came out the first time. So, yeah, I sat down with Billy Gerber and Jay and, you know, it's like what are you guys thinking and we all seem to be on about the same page so, I mean, those guys have really done all they said they were gonna do. They're really all, you know, great to work with.
Has it worked out that way so far?
Yeah, it's really collaborative. Jay just is very open. Chandrasekhar, which is a lot to get out, is very open to working with everyone and listening and incorporating everyone's ideas. It's been a ball of a shoot. You're driving in the car most of the time and you got barfights. It's like, kinda like a little kid.
Any injuries in the barfights yet?
Are you talking about in the movie or in real life?
Oh yeah. Yeah. I've been stabbed.
But not in the movie...
No, I got actually stabbed at my friend's bachelor party but in the movie...
During the shoot?
No, no, no, in real life, I got stabbed...
Who stabbed you?
I don't know. These three guys.
Was this like, they knew you from Jackass?
No, no, no, this was right before Jackass. These three guys yelled out something at me from a car and I yelled back and then they got out and it's like 'aw, crap here we go'.
That would be a real barfight, I guess.
Yeah. But in the movie, no I haven't been injured. The barfight was so much fun. I trained for it four weeks with this guy Chad Stahelski [stunt coordinator]. He did a lot of the work on THE MATRIX. He's amazing, I mean, to get me to look like I could punch.
So this was your first fight sequence?
Yeah, well, I did one little thing in WALKING TALL. They got there on the day and they were like 'do this'. But this I really trained for. It was so much fun.
When you were fighting Butterbean too?
Yeah, but that was for real. God, that guy's strong. He arrived that morning and I go 'Butterbean, I need you to go full speed today'. He goes 'Johnny, I can't do that'. I said 'I need you to go full speed'. He goes 'You don't have to beg me'. It's like 'aww, shit, I should've shut up'.
Have you driven the car?
I mostly talk on the CB. Bo does the driving but, with that said, I do steal Boss Hogg's Cadillac so I got to train with Bobby Ore, who's the world's greatest stunt driver. Seann was training like four hours a day with Bobby Ore and Seann's damn good now. Reverse 180's, drifting, he's really good and he gets to, you know, do a lot of the driving in the movie.
Yeah, that's right, his character did the driving in the TV show.
Yeah but Seann's a great driver now. So I just...I'm ok [driving]. Yeah, I'm pretty excited cause I get to do that tomorrow with Willie. Willie's gonna be in my car all day.
That should be a fun car...
Oh, I love that guy.
In the General Lee?
No, no, no, I'm stealing Boss Hogg's. I don't drive the General Lee. I talk on the CB.
Uncle Jesse helps you steal it?
No, he doesn't help me steal it. I steal it but then he ends up getting in it and then we're off. Willie Nelson, man. I mean, working with Burt and Willie. Pretty amazing.
You must have been a fan of SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT prior to this?
Oh, huge. I saw this movie almost more times than any. It was on last night somewhere. I was watching it. There's such a crazy following. I didn't know there was such a huge Dukes following. Everywhere we go, people, they really flock to the set to see the General Lee. It's like its own star. We had a couple of guys who drove down, even more than a couple, a whole host of guys who drove down from Canada with their General Lee and one guy's got his Roscoe P. Coltrane [car]. Yeah, their just fanatical. It's amazing.
Where were you? Were you like a big fan of the show when it first was on?
Yeah, I grew up [on it]. I didn't know it still had such a huge following, though. It's crazy.
Did you have your own little General Lee?
Oh no, I couldn't afford that.
Catherine Bach poster?
Oh, Catherine Bach. My, my my. What a lovely young lady.
Which leads to...
Jessica. She looks amazing. She's so pretty. And she looks so great on film. She's so natural and comfortable. I didn't realize until we shot the first day with her. We did a scene and she goes 'that was my first take ever'. I didn't realize it was her first film cause she's so natural and good. And gorgeous.
So repertoire is going pretty good?
Yeah, I'm having a ball. I mean, Louisiana where you can get drive through cups of liquor.
So everyone has said that you've been really good on set in terms of no practical jokes or whatever but is it a misconception that you're as wild off camera as you are on Jackass?
I just don't do it on set. People just kinda expect stuff and it's no fun if people expect it.
Needs to be a surprise?
Yeah, I don't know.
Is that an archery guard on your wrist?
A Falcon ring. Yeah, big into Falconery.
Just as a hobby, right?
Actually, I'm a big fan of Gladiator movies. My Spartacus armband. (laughs)
Is that a George Jones T-shirt?
Yeah, I got my George Jones T-shirt, my Waylon belt buckle.
So some girls last night said you've been hanging out at the College a lot.
Yeah, there's some bars over there. So, yeah, I like going to bars.
LSU is a party school.
Now you've got some public notoriety. Are they staying away from you in the bar? How does that go?
Oh no. I mean, they've very nice. Everyone buys me shots all night long.
See that's one of the things about being a celebrity. Stuff like that happens.
I'm not complaining. So, there's always that.
Does it surprise when you get away from LA and you're in regular America to see the reaction of people when they see you and to see how excited they get, how crazy they get?
Everything's a little unreal. You know, I just try to pretend it's all normal. But I've been really, really lucky. And, I get the joke, you know. So, I'm very appreciative.
So would you say the fight scene is the scene that you were most jazzed about or were there some other stuff?
The fight scene was great but the driving stuff is really good too. Working with Dan Bradley who ran second unit, who's done BOURNE SUPREMACY and BOURNE IDENTITY and he worked on JACKASS, actually. He did the beginning of the movie, you know...
With the shopping cart?
Yeah, cause he works with Spike a lot, Jonze, and the ending with the old man where we get blown up. That guy's a legend and a hero of mine and my friends. He, actually, remember that video Spike Jonze did for a band called Wax in '94 where they lit a guy on fire and he was running down the street in slow motion trying to hail a bus? Dan was the guy on fire and that's when I first met Dan. Spike was directing.
Was that the same guy that showed up at a movie premiere on fire or was that something else?
I don't know.
Remember that guy who walked down the red carpet on fire that lit him and his girlfriend up?
It doesn't sound like a Dan thing. He's more low key. But he's amazing in the car. I saw some of that driving stuff. It looks like a Steve McQueen film. I was so excited when I saw the driving stuff.
Are you disappointed that you didn't get behind the wheel more?
No, no. There's laws against driving drunk in this state.
Does that count on set? If you're on set and you've been drinking?
Not really. Well, I don't think so. Talk to the first AD for me. But Artis, though, Artis would give a fuck. Artis Robinson is the first AD on this. I worked with him on MEN IN BLACK II. Best first D in the business ever, period. When were shooting in New Orleans, what was his quote? It was like Saturday morning everyone's like dragging cause we went out the night and he was like 'any motherfuckers can't drink all night and work all day, you're in the wrong business'. And we're like 'ok, no cry babies here'.
Having been on Jackass and obviously having somewhat of a reputation for being a wild man, how does it feel playing straight characters on film?
Have you played gay characters? (laughs)
Oh well, Jackass, it's about as gay as it gets. We try to make it as gay as possible.
I meant like the non-comedic roles?
Well, hopefully, this will be funny. If this is considered a non-comedic role, I failed.
How much did you refer back to the original series for inspiration?
We just tried to capture the spirit of the original series. It's not like we're trying to do an imitation of Tom Wopat and John Schneider. We just get the spirit and do a lot of great stunts and show Jessica in her Daisy Dukes and get into some fights. It's a big action picture.
Have you seen anyone from the original series?
No, we haven't. Hopefully, we'll get to meet them at some point.
What's the character interplay between you two and Daisy Duke? They're not interested or you can't because they're all related?
Well, I'm trying to argue that it doesn't matter if you're related but she's not buying it. The waiter asked me today. I was at this restaurant. Ok, I was at this bar. And he's like 'so, I know you guys are cousins but are you guys gonna get it on?' I was like 'well, you know, talk to them, not me.'
That's the difference between like PG and PG-13?
That might put it into R. Incest might really tip it over into R.
Have you had a chance to work with Burt Reynolds?
Yeah, he's amazing. He's the sweetest guy. And he just has all these great Hollywood stories of working with Gene Hackman and so and so and he loves telling them and I love listening. He's lived a crazy life and he'll just tell stories all day and I'll just sit there and listen. It's really great being around Willie [Nelson] and Burt [Reynolds]. I really don't know what to say to them, I'm just like 'ah, er, ah'. Very, very fortunate to work with those guys.
Was there a time in a stunt or driving when you wanted to go further but everybody on set was like 'ok we gotta bring in a stunt man'?
Yeah, there's been a couple of times where I'll tell Daren, the stunt coordinator, 'I'll do it, I'm up for it.' But it just gets him in a bad position if I get hurt.
He would be responsible for that?
Yeah, yeah. But it only happened a couple of times.
What are some of the stunts you're doing in the movie?
The ones that I could get hurt on, the ones that I could get seriously hurt on.
Is it like jumping, jumping around?
Bar fights. I begged and begged and begged to get thrown across the bar into the wall but he was like 'no, it's early on in the shoot'. And I understand where he's coming from.
If you're on the CB so much, is there lingo you had to get down?
I know, we're on a fucking CB. Don't we have cell phones? But I think we deal with that cause there's no cell phone towers.
Hazzard is the land that time forgot.
You know, the car does have a cd player.
It fucking doesn't work, though. We're in there all day. I bring my iPod and some travel speakers cause if you're in the car all day. It's just me and Seann. Just sitting there all day.
Seann wants one of the cars but he says he's afraid to take it back to LA with the flag on top. Would that stop you at all from driving that around LA with the full on General Lee?
Well, if you had it on top of like a Cadillac, that might raise some eyebrows. You know, it's like 'what the fuck is wrong with that guy?' But it's the General Lee and it's very iconic, the car, and everyone knows what it looks like and I wouldn't have a problem driving the General Lee around. I wouldn't put a rebel flag on my fucking Cadillac. But it's the General Lee. And we deal with that in the movie humorously.
You guys explain it away?
We don't. We just deal with it in a funny way and then we move on. We just don't want it to be a thing. There was a car on the series, a very iconic car, one of the most iconic cars ever.
Did you get to choose your wardrobe, I guess, in a way, like Seann did with Led Zeppelin?
Yeah, they've been really, Billy Gerber and Jay [Chandrasekhar], they've been great, about giving you full reign. I was working on a movie in Tennessee and the ladies flew in and said 'ok, what are we doing?' and they gave me suggestion and I gave them.
You didn't choose something that's gonna be just not cool in a year?
I mean, there's some midriffs and dolphin shorts. They'll come back in.
You use a southern accent?
When you think about nostalgia and you think about this film, I also heard that Lynda Carter's in the film.
Oh boy. She's gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. She accidentally walked in my trailer one day and she's like 'oh, I'm sorry'. It's like the kid in ANIMAL HOUSE when the woman flew through, he's really like 'thank you, God'. [So I'm like] 'don't worry about it, sit down, would you like a glass of wine?' No, she's very sweet and just beautiful.
After you appearance on Viva La Bam, did you take your friend's car to Bam's place, and when they tore up, did you have to explain to your friend what happened to the car?
Yeah, I did, but it's like, everyone knows what we do so it's not so shocking. It didn't come out of complete left field.
Was the prank just made up on the fly?
Well, it was, because I got there and it was like 'come shoot with me.' I'm like 'alright'. And I fly and I go 'what's the deal, what are you doing?' He goes 'well, it's a prank war between you and I'. I'm like 'well, fucking thanks for telling me'. And so I had to write everything in about 12 hours. I was staying in the holiday inn in Pennsylvania and I had like six rooms in the hotel. Cause I got to my first room. And it was one of those rooms that's two doors, you know. And the door on my side was off so I'm like 'alright, I'm not gonna be the asshole.' I know they're coming in on me so I just got a bunch of rooms and they couldn't find me till the very end. They paid off a waiter at the Holiday Inn. Swine.
What do you have coming up?
I have a few things. You know, obviously this in the summer. LORDS OF DOGTOWN, I took a small role in I'm pretty excited about. THE RINGER, Farrelly brothers comedy. I did [a movie] in Tennessee for Miramax that Quentin Tarantino produced called DALTRY CALHOUN.
What is that about? Is that a golf movie?
It's not a golf movie, really. It's about a guy trying to reconnect with his daughter who's 14 and she hasn't seen her since she's an infant and I'm balancing that with the business that's failing. It's a great script. Katrina Holden Bronson wrote it and it's different than anything I've ever done.
Now your uncle does music? Is that right?
Is that album coming out?
We're probably gonna release it with the Dukes.
I was gonna say, is there any chance that one of his songs is gonna get on the soundtrack?
Oh yeah, there's a definite chance. A real big chance. Rog, he came in last weekend, and I didn't get to see him cause the Wild Boys were in town and they were filming down there and they just took Rog and they were filming with Rog.
How old is that guy?
'Bout mid-40s. The greatest guy. He's just got the best of intentions. He's hilarious. My friend from New York was talking to him on the phone. He'd been in town a day and a half and it was about 12:30. He's walking into a liquor store. As soon as he walks in the door, the woman is like 'well, hey Rog'. He was already on a first name basis with a woman at the liquor store. So he's a good one.
What would you say to any fans that say 'oh I didn't see you in that role', you know, DUKES OF HAZZARD?
Well, I don't know, I don't think it's a great leap. I'm from Tennessee. I don't think they'll be a lot of that.
Do you think Tom Wopat's gonna be mad or do you think he's gonna be happy?
I hope he's not mad. I hope they like it. I'm sure they will. We kept the spirit of the show.
With your Jackass reputation, do you feel like the gunslinger and now these young guys are gonna come after you and try to ambush you, punk you, whatever, just to prove 'we got Johnny'?
No. I don't think they're really looking to pull [stunts]. I'm pretty weary of any incident. But people try to challenge me in bars and whatnot and [they] wanna fight. That happens every now and then.
How do you deal with that?
Well, as long as they're not physical, I just walk away. If they get physical then I usually end up in a fight and most of the time lose.
Have you been in any fights here?
No, not a whole fight. A guy punched me in a bar. I was ordering a drink and a guy punches me in the back and I turn around and was like 'who the fuck was that?' And there's a guy, obviously the guy who did it, and two girls. And I was like 'did you do that?' [he said] 'No'. [And I said] 'Oh, ok, I ain't fighting'. And then he starts going 'what the fuck's Tennessee gonna do this weekend?' And so I kinda threw him head first into a wall and then they throw him out which was great. But no, no fights other than that.
He didn't give you a reason why he was doing that?
No, he just wanted to punch me and challenge me.
What are some of the challenges that they come up with to do?
No, no. If someone hits me, I consider it a challenge.
Was there anything that you learned on the movie that you hadn't trained for, that you hadn't done before?
Yeah, all the driving and the fighting. I mean, Bobby Ore is amazing. I learned how to do 90 degree drifts and 180 degree turns and then working with Chad Stahelsky, it was a ball.
So what's the best way to throw a punch?
Have an empty beer mug in your hand and punch with that and then run like hell.
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