All work and no play…L&A has a hungover chat with Johnny Knoxville

According to studio estimates on Sunday afternoon, Jackass: The Movie grossed $22.7 million over the weekend, bottle rocketing it to number one on the nation’s box office charts and easily procuring its entire, skim $15 million budget. Johnny Knoxville, recently knighted a “megastar” by Time magazine, and the business -savvy brain behind this lucrative Operation: Danger, agreed to meet with Life & Art in the Gaucho Room of the swank Loews Miami Beach Hotel last Thursday to discuss all things Knoxville and Jackass.

When Sven Barth (UM Skateboard Club President) and I were escorted to the interview location (by two publicists and two jackass security guards), we came upon Knoxville, sitting slouched on a plush couch, wearing his (now signature) cut-off Dickies work pants, black Chuck Taylor All Stars, a blue hoody, and brown-tinted shades. Unlike Steve-O, Knoxville’s demeanor was serious and he worded his answers with a businessman’s discretion. Maybe he had been partying too hard with Wee Man and Preston at B.E.D and Club Deuce Bar & Grill the night before – maybe he had formed a similar prognosis about us. Overall, you can’t judge a person by a 30 minute chat, but in conclusion, we were left guessing whether he would stick to his guns (doubtful), pull a Jim Carrey and become a “serious, dramatic actor,” or worse, market himself as an aficionado of Wal-Mart rebellion.

Q: When you were in Japan filming for the movie, did MTV attempt to bug you every second to see how things were going?
JNX: Nah, Paramount and MTV Films were great on this, they pretty much let us go off. No one from MTV or Paramount was ever around.

Q: Will you ever go back to your real name P.J. Clapp or are you trying to avoid it?
JNX: No, I mean, it’s my name. I’m Johnny Knoxville.

Q: Is Johnny Knoxville as good a name as Winona Ryder?
JNX: I prefer Irving Schimmel (?) to those two names.

Q: What is the best cure for a hangover?
JNX: Each glass of booze you drink, drink a glass of water with it, and then take an Advil before you go to bed.

Q: After listening to so much punk rock, do you ever question being part of a mass marketing machine like MTV?
JNX: It was obviously cooler when we were doing skateboard videos, but when you make a decision to go with a big production company network, you do sacrifice that, but it’s seen by more people.

Q: What would you say your favorite bands are?
JNX: The Ramones, the Replacements, the Misfits, the Clash and I love Johnny Cash and David Bowie too.

Q: Since you have been rather successful, how important would you say a college education is?
JNX: That’s a personal preference. Obviously, you don’t need it to shoot yourself in the chest. I would go back every now and then, so who knows, I might do so.

Q: Do you see a big difference in being raised in Tennessee, and then going out to Hollywood or staying at a place like this in South Beach? When we were walking up to the hotel, these two fat security guards pretty much interrogated us…
JNX: Yeah, when I stay at hotels, and the security guards don’t recognize me, they ask me what I’m doing in the hotel and ask to see a room key.

Q: When you guys were doing Jackass, did you ever watch any of the videos that kids would send in (emulating their stunts, hence the heavy disclaimers)?
JNX: We never even saw the envelopes.

Q: When you working at Big Brother Skateboarding, did you ever meet Larry Flynt (the owner)?
JNX: Yeah, at this party in an airplane hanger I walked up to him, shook his hand and said “Nice to meet you,” but he was looking the other way, so he was pretty happy to meet me.

Q: How do Hustler parties compare to ones at the Playboy Mansion?
JNX: Playboy parties are more upscale, while the Hustler parties are more down ‘n’ dirty.

Q: What did you honestly think of Men in Black II?
JNX: Uhhhhhh. Ahhhhhmm. Yeah, it was fun. It was good.

Q: Are there any plans for a Jackass videogame? Would the objective be to have Steve-O coughing up a goldfish?
JNX: There are plans, yeah, but we’re just started to sit down with people. We should have made it a long time ago, but we don’t know what we’re doing.

Q: How often do you get propositions from girls?
JNX: I’m married, so…the boys do really good. Steve-O tries to see how long he can go without taking a bath and still get a girl, and it’s a long time. He fuckiing stinks. He reeks of perspiration, weed…and ass. Steve-O jumped into some really fucked water with a dead kitten in it, and got an infection, and I ended up getting it because I drank after him.

Q: Is the NC-17 DVD for the Jackass movie still coming out?
JNX: No, [Paramount] won’t allow it. We kept the film to 90 minutes, so there’s a lot of good bits that didn’t make it in.

Q: So the movie is what you can’t see on television, and the DVD is what you can’t see in the movie?
JNX: Noooooo. The movie is in the same tone as the movie.

Q: Was it always your dream to become a movie star?
JNX: No, I was more interested in writing a novel (he never finished it), but I love what I’m doing.

Hunter Stephenson can be reached at hurricaneaccent@hotmail.com.

October 29, 2002


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.