Chris Pontius has been a member of the Jackass crew since the first episode premiered on MTV ten years ago. Leaving the more painful stuff to people like Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera and Steve-O, he has left his mark with hilarious prank, ridiculous costumes – most memorably his banana hammock – and dalliances with some of the more dangerous representatives of the animal kingdom. Needless to say, all of that is back in Jackass 3D and then some.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Pontius and discus all of the goings-on behind the scenes, from the incredible paranoia, to the stuff that didn’t make the final cut of the movie but will find their way on to Jackass 3.5. Check out my exclusive interview below.
As a fan of the show for many years, I noticed that we get to see your character Bunny The Lifeguard in the movie but not Party Boy or the devil costume. What happened to them?
Well, Party Boy, you didn’t see him because he got rid of that itchy thong. It was just too conservative. Right when we started filming, when we were doing the camera test when the idea to do 3D came up, I showed up for the camera test and they had a helicopter and they tied it to my dick. They wanted, for one thing, to test the camera people to see if they could handle being around us and what we’re going to do, so they started them off with that. So then I take my shorts off, and then they make the helicopter fly straight into the camera and it was spectacular and everyone loved it. We found a rad crew, but ever since then I was like, “Jeff, is there any worry when we do this for the movie they’re going to not let us do it because it has just bare wiener.” And he’s like, “Oh yeah, it’s fine now. A lot has changed.” And he said this one movie had come out recently had one long close-up shot and it was totally cool. So I was like, “Alright,” because I wasn’t sure if we should have a sheath on it.
The thong was all fun and dandy for about the years. If this was going to be the last one I think it’s time to… I’ve been leaving it to the imagination for too long. The reason it wasn’t Party Boy dancing around is because Party Boy was busy flying helicopters and playing baseball. And then the devil, we did film some stuff with the devil. The main thing was when Steve-O did this thing called “The Fire Guantlet” where he’s walking, basically, on a balance beam through flames with things swinging by to knock him over that are also on fire and I was the devil running around starting the fire. And it was just we didn’t completely think that skit through. With fire it’s not like there’s not really “getting sorta hurt.” He did get sorta hurt, the best we could. It was spectacular looking though. It looked amazing in 3D. Giant fireballs.
Is it going to show up on Jackass 3.5?
I think so. It looks amazing visually, but it wasn’t a big laugher.
3.5 yeah, lots. We filmed lots of stuff, you’ll probably hear from everyone, that was just as good. There was lots of arguing over what stuff should go in, what stuff shouldn’t. Still some – I think they should have less of this and that… but they’re minor things. For the most part it was have one great thing or have another great thing, really. Nothing was substituted with something that was half-assed. I really liked it, I was psyched on it. I liked it because it had some of the elements of the first movie and the TV show that was kind of just simple and…I don’t know if the word is “folky,” but something a little folky even though it was in 3D. Something that I liked about it the second movie didn’t have, which was the only thing the second movie didn’t have. The second movie was a lot of “stunt, stunt, stunt.” But this one’s different. We weren’t trying to copy the other movies, everything was just like “have fun and make it be what it is.” This one’s totally different than the other ones. It’s like a band. You don’t want a band to make the same album every time, but it’s alright for them to make an awesome album. Lots of stuff we would have thought, if you watched it back to back with some of the other ones we’ve done, stuff that we thought was funny then wasn’t – we had to push it further now. It’s natural evolution. But we won’t stop filming. I have, like, ten ideas that are really great that just didn’t make it in on time.
Obviously you guys seem to love doing this and you keep coming up with ideas. Are we going to see a Jackass 4?
I don’t know. Every time we do something I think it’s going to be the last one and then it happens again. When we get to that point when it seems like people want it and the world needs it and we are dying to do it also, then it’ll happen. As long as everyone’s having fun. All you have to do is think about having fun and the movie will come out fun. When we’re filming you don’t really want to be anywhere else. It’s one of the few things I’ve done where I’ve felt that way. It’s kind of like when you’re with a really pretty girl who you’re falling in love with, or you think you are, and you’re stoked on being there right at the time. That’s what making a Jackass movie is like.
In the movies and television show, you guys are constantly surprising each other with pranks. Do you find that there is an atmosphere of paranoia on set?
Yeah. It’s a weird world. A lot of people are tense all the time because at anytime something bad can happen to them. Even if they go somewhere that they think it’s private, it’s probably booby-trapped or something. Yeah, no one’s safe. It’s weird. A lot of the stuff happens when you least expect it.
I guess so, but I wouldn’t tell you if I did. That was where Bam made a mistake. After seeing that we all learned. If people find out something bothers you then they’re going to capitalize on it.
Some of these stunts are so epically painful or insane, but there are many instances where something screws up and you have to do more than one take. How do you get yourself into the mindset to allow you to do that?
A lot of the times you’ll do something and it’ll suck, and finally it works out to where you think it’s good enough, and then Jeff comes up and he’s like, “We have to shoot it again. Something wasn’t right.” He’s a perfectionist, but he’s right usually. Everyone at this point knows that if he does say that it’s probably true, but you know you have to because everyone’s professional enough now to realize the big picture. But yeah, it sucks.
For you personally, what did you think was the best prank that you did and what was your favorite in the whole movie?
One of my favorite things was the midget bar brawl, because it’s not like anything we ever did at all. It’s not a skit, but it’s not like anything. You can’t have a movie that’s just “Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom” constantly – you have to breathe. It’s a part where it seems you’re going to breathe and then it just turns into something else. I just loved it. And I liked all the little people too. Little people are rad. It was just awesome.