Johnny Knoxville

Jackass - The Movie

Interviewed by Nev Pierce

As hit MTV show Jackass skids onto the silver screen, BBCi Films catches up with troublemaker-in-chief (and "Men in Black II" co-star) Johnny Knoxville to discuss copycat violence, parental guidance, and why he never, ever, tells his wife his plans.

Did you ever imagine Jackass was going to be so successful?

It's ******* ridiculous, because we were just doing skateboard videos for ourselves and we never even thought to do it for television. People approached us, we tried it, and it kinda worked.

Why did you quit the TV show?

Well, we really went as far as we could on television, we couldn't really take it any higher.

Do you worry about the copycat incidents?

Yeah, that's one of the reasons it's R-rated [18 in the UK]. You know, you gotta be an adult to get in. When we were making it, we were wary of things that were easily imitable. We have so much footage, we have three hours' worth of footage, and we're jamming it into 90 minutes. There's so much good stuff that hasn't made it into the film.

How do your family feel about Jackass?

I made a huge mistake the first stunt I ever did, I told my wife I was going to do it. It was the self-defence equipment one, where I pepper spray, stun gun, and then shoot myself in the chest with a .38 [with a bulletproof vest on]. She worried so much that after that, I never told her what I was going to do. She's happy it's over. She enjoys watching it afterwards, but... My whole family, my mom and sisters included, are glad that Jackass is over.

Do you think all the stunts are a reaction to the fact that you were very ill as a child, with pneumonia?

I don't know, I think it's more emulation of my father, and the movies and television shows that I grew up on. My father was always pulling pranks and stunts. My father would walk into a room and just take it over, and everyone would be laughing. I was like, "Wow!"

What are your plans now?

I'm going to stick with comedy, but I would like to do some other things as well... I don't know if I'm going to be doing Shakespeare in the Park, but you know, I would like to do other things.