Contrary to “Jackass” lifer Dave England’s claim that Paramount executives had to be bribed with sexual favors before agreeing to distribute “Jackass 3D,” the latest chronicle of (physically) grown men aggressively embracing all manner of self-destructive idiocy, Johnny Knoxville says it’s not so.
“That’s not true at all,” says Knoxville, 39, born Philip John Clapp in Tennessee’s third-largest city.
“Paramount would love us to do a new movie every year, and they’ve been on us since [2006’s] ‘Two.’ I think Dave just had a funny line he wanted to get off his chest.”
Neither Knoxville nor director Jeff Tremaine — who, with frequent collaborator Spike Jonze, form the executive branch of the “Jackass” republic — immediately warmed to Paramount’s suggestion that their latest movie join the rush to 3-D.
But, says Tremaine, they came to appreciate the extra D’s practical applications.
“It was their idea to do it in 3-D, and we were a little leery at first. We didn’t want to change how we do things. And the cameras are so big — we thought it was going to be hard. But it was no problem at all. The 3-D just adds another level of stupid.
“We took the most cutting-edge camera on the market — a phantom camera that captures super-slow motion, more expensive than the one James Cameron uses — and did the stupidest things you can imagine with it. We took the technology to an all-time low.”
After each of the previous “Jackass” movies, starting with the 2002 original that followed three turbulent seasons on MTV, Knoxville and his fellow pranksters have declared their days as human highlight reels over.
Knoxville and Tremaine now say they’re done predicting the future, though England recently suggested that “Jackass” will prove a lifetime commitment.
“Making predictions is stupid,” says Tremaine, 44. “We shoot every movie like it’s the last. And we still have some ideas we haven’t tried out.”
“Everyone has their own opinions, that’s for sure,” adds Knoxville. “Who’s to say? For this one, I really tried to get in shape, to prepare myself for six months of getting my ass kicked. I tried to keep it up during filming, but I wasn’t always able to because of injuries. It takes a toll.
“But once we get going, we love it. The hard part is getting into that frame of mind, and getting everyone to the table. For guys like Spike, who’s usually busy making his own movies, it’s like a paid vacation. It’s like that for all of us, really.”
IF YOU GO
Starring Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Ryan Dunn, Jason Acuna, Dave England, Preston Lacy
Written by Preston Lacy
Directed by Jeff Tremaine
Running time 1 hour 30 minutes