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INT: Knoxville / Tremaine

Sep. 20, 2006by:

Known for captivating (and often nauseating) audiences with his iconic TV show, "Jackass" star Johnny Knoxville has managed to parlay his penchant for self-mutilation into a viable film career, with starring roles in THE DUKES OF HAZZARD, DALTRY CALHOUN and others. This week returns to his roots, serving up another helping of outrageous pranks, stunts and various other obscenities with JACKASS: NUMBER TWO.

Knoxville and director Jeff Tremaine recently stopped by the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood to talk about JACKASS: NUMBER TWO. Check it out.

Johnny Knoxville Jeff Tremaine

Johnny, all the other guys said that youre the leader. How hard is it to keep the reigns on these guys?

Knoxville : Jeff keeps the reigns. Its a tough gig, too, trying to keep guys sober, trying to convince people to do horrible things. Thats his job.

What exactly does a director do in a film like this? What do you tell the guys?

Tremaine: You do that. You shoot it.

Knoxville : Yeah. You put that in there

Tremaine: Sorry about that. I didnt think that was gonna happen

Knoxville : Poking, prodding

Tremaine: Sometimes I gotta explain what we think is gonna happen, why he should do it

Knoxville : And everyone knows all of his moves and they dont want to do it, but how can you say no to those eyes?

Are you the guy that has to deliver the bad news when the studio says you cant do a stunt?

Tremaine: Yeah. We dont take No well, though. If the studio tells us no, were probably gonna go shoot it. [laughs]

Knoxville : The studio left us alone (on this film). Paramount left us alone. The MPAA left us alone. Thank you Paramount and the MPAA.

Tremaine: It went really smooth. Unbelievably smooth. (The studio) never asked us to do another film. They never once approached us. So we just brought it to em.

Knoxville : They didnt want the liability.

What about the bulls?

Knoxville : They were very cooperative when filming. Theyll get you good footage every time. I just sit there and they do the rest.

Tremaine: We built these giantI call them Bull Guns. You get a trailer and you back it right up to the target, and then you open the door. And theyll basically run right up to the target and smoke em. [laughs]

Knoxville : Were not targets. We have feelings.

Johnny, why are you still doing this?

Knoxville : I love it. Its me and all my friends and we travel all over the world. Its what we do. This type of humor is what we do.

Tremaine: A professional idiot. The best in the business.

How did the sequel come together?

Tremaine: After the first movie, that was it for Jackass. We felt that we left it all out there and did what we wanted to do and ended that chapter. And then I started a show called Wildboyz with Chris and Steve-O. That was just so we could travel around and be idiots. Knoxville would periodically come with us on a few of the trips. The last trip we ever went on for Wildboyz was Russia . And in Russia he was so willing to kill himself for like the dumbest idea, so I pulled him aside and said, If you really want to do this, lets back it off of cable TV and do it for a bigger audience. And he didnt warm up to the idea right away, so told him that we dont have to one-up the last one; all we have to do is make a funny movie. We dont have to outdo the last one.

Knoxville : That did it. When he said that, I was like, Hmmm

With all the footage you have, how long does it take to put it together in the editing room?

Tremaine: It takes a long time. We start editing the day after we start shooting. When Im not on location Im in the edit bay. And weve been editing this since February. We really over-shot on this one. But this idiot next to me would not let me stop shooting. Wed say, Thats a picture wrap, and he would go, No its not. Promise me were still shooting.

Are you open to doing a Jackass 3?

Knoxville : Well, we said that we would never do a second one, so were the wrong people to ask.

Tremaine: Yeah, we feel stupid being here, because we really did close the book after the first one and now were here talking about the second one. We dont intend to, but we do have 40 minutes of really good stuff thats gonna come out in one way or another. And were shooting in November and I know Johnnys not gonna want to stop shooting, so somethings gonna happen. Im not calling it Three, but youll see what we shoot at some time.

Johnny, arent you ever scared of killing yourself?

Knoxville : Well, I dont want fear of death to influence me when Im doing a stunt, you know? So I block that out and say to myself, Oh, this is gonna be fun.

During the Anaconda Ball Pit scene, did you ever think of stopping the shoot when you got bit?

Knoxville : No. One time we had to stop because I was out of breath from wrestling that thing, but I was like, I want to get footage.

Tremaine: Did you see the tape we put on their wrists? That was just to make them do it. They were like, What if it bites me on my wrists? I dont know. Lets tape your wrists. Those teeth will go right through it.

Knoxville : I love that irrationality.

You didnt even think twice about it. The other guys seemed scared.

Knoxville : I was just so excited to be doing it again and getting footage. Im sure its gonna hurt, but just for a little bit.

Whats the worst injury youve had?

Knoxville : Ive been pretty lucky just some breaks, sprains and concussions.

Tremaine: That would be Gonorrhea in Chile , 1994.

Knoxville : Syphilis in Tibet

What can we expect on the DVD?

Knoxville : A lot.

Tremaine: Like I said, we overshot this movie to the nth. Were gonna do a making of. We have tons of outtakes. We have so much footage.

Any commentary?

Knoxville : Oh yeah. Really insightful, too. [laughs]

Tremaine: Youll wanna skip that one.

Are you amazed at how far this has come since you began doing these stunts?

Knoxville : Its insane.

Tremaine: We were surprised that anyone was interested in it. And then it became a TV and then the TV show became a hit. And we were just like, Whatever. If you guys like it, great. If you dont, oh well.

Knoxville : Its surreal. Half of our cast didnt graduate high school, but we get the joke. Were very lucky.

How did you guys meet each other?

Knoxville : We met on a friends video in 1994 and we went to a bar that night. We kept in touch and a few years later I started contributing to Big Brother (the magazine).

Tremaine: He was writing articles for us. That was at the same time that we started doing videos as a supplement to the magazine and he had the idea to do the brilliant self defense test, where he pepper sprayed himself in the eyes, stun gun in the ribs, tazed him over the heart and then went out in the desert, got the most expensive bullet proof vest - $49.95 that he could afford at the time and shot himself with his buddys .38, point blank in the chest. And I got him to film it.

Knoxville : I wasnt even going to film it. I was just going to write an article.

Tremaine: I already had the other guys Steve-O, Wee Man, Bam but this guy was actually talking to the camera. He could talk. So I figured I could put this all together and make a show. You put music over Chris and Steve-Os bits and you let him talk, and youve got a show.

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