Of all the movies not demanding sequels, Jackass: The Movie must have been near the top of the list. Not because it was bad or unpopular, but how much longer can grown men act like Jackasses? But TV's "Wildboyz" continued to keep the boys together and director Jeff Tremaine thought they might as well risk life and limb for a film.
“Johnny didn’t warm up to the idea right away,” said Tremaine. “So I was like, ‘Look, you don’t have to one up the last one. All you have to do is be funny. All we have to do is make a funny movie. We don’t have to outdo the last one.’”
That sold him. Then they had to get the rest of the crew together. “All night, we just called all the guys,” recalled Knoxville. “They were totally surprised. There was complete silence.”
Production was tough. For seven months, the boys traveled around the world, including India, pulling their usual hijinks. Poor Steve-O was injured early on and missed out on a lot.
“I was actually bedridden for like three weeks of the production,” he said. “I couldn’t even get off my bed to piss in the bathroom. I’m peeing into bottles. It was John Waters throwing me down the stairs in a bellhop cart [that injured me]. And the thing is, there I am peeing into bottles on my bed and knowing that I’m missing out on all this stuff that’s being filmed. But I think secretly I was glad. You wake up in the morning while we’re filming Jackass Number Two, it’s like you’re in a strange hotel. Right when you first wake up, there’s that where am I kind of you don’t know what’s going on. You wake up totally peacefully and then as you put it together where you are and what you have to do that day, all the peace goes away and you realize: Fuck, my life sucks.”
This from a man who poked his cheek with a fishhook and jumped into shark infested waters. “I think they made a pretty big deal out of that. I didn’t care. You know, I like to keep my immune system on its toes.”
Ultimately, the discomfort adds to the comedy. “I personally think, a hell of a lot better than the first and a lot of it has to do with Dave [England[’s noises,” said Ryan Dunn. “If you watch the movie, after a stressful situation or when he’s hurt, when he’s like uncomfortable, he’ll just make like something that no other body makes ‘uhhhhhh’ I can’t even imitate it. So when you watch the movie pay attention because it’s absolutely retarded, and if you just took the audio of him and played it, the people who live next door to you would think you were the freakiest, watching the gnarliest dude-porn ever. Then the audio of him and Ehren going down the hill in the tires, close your eyes and listen to that. It is just two full-grown hairy men hammering at each other with no end. And then it ends with happiness but you can tell like throughout the act it was like, ‘Uh, I’m reconsidering this—uh! No! Uh…uh. And then it finishes it’s like, ‘Oh, get me out of her. Oh, thank god.’”
Some of the guys enjoy when things go wrong. When Wee man got jerked out into the water by a parachute, he knew it was funnier than if the bit had worked as planned. “It wasn’t even supposed to go like that,” he said. “The bit was: ‘Wee Man we’re going to connect you to a 1000 pound rip cord and you’re going to throw the shoot and fly like a kite. Preston will come over with scissors and cut him off and he’ll slowly come down.’ And I threw the chute and the cord ripped. It just dragged me across. They were like, ‘uhhhh’ and I was like ‘yeah dude.’”
Knoxville may have gotten more fearless since the last movie. “I don’t want to let fear of death influence my decisions when I’m trying to do a stunt,” he said. “I just block it out and say ‘oh, everything’s going to be fine.” In fact, he admits he’s happiest when he’s hanging with the boys. “But then it’s like then it stopped and I just get like all depressed. It’s rough. You’re going a hundred miles an hour then, it’s nothing. The next day the movie is over and there’s no one to battle.”
Jackass: Number Two opens Friday.