We’ve seen a lot of risqué content on HBO programming over the years, but they weren’t at all interested in airing Jackass when the series was first pitched to the premium cabler over two decades ago. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter detailing the history of the franchise, the stars of Jackass opened up about how the original TV show came to be. Featuring the same gross-out humor and dangerous stunts it’s now widely known for, the pitch was first delivered to HBO execs who were utterly appalled. As co-creator Jeff Tremaine explains:
“Our plan was to just let Spike [Jonze, who had just released his first feature, Being John Malkovich] do the talking. He was the only legit one that everyone was interested in anyway. So we showed it with these two women, I don’t even remember their names. They were offended and just disgusted by what we had just shown them. And I went, ‘Oh well, f**k, man. Good thing I didn’t quit Big Brother yet.’ And our second pitch was at MTV — and it was the exact opposite. We showed them the sizzle tape, and they were just dying laughing. And they wanted it right away.”
Johnny Knoxville was not put off by HBO turning down Jackass. At that time, he was being fielded by Saturday Night Live to start appearing on that program, but he chose to stick with pursuing a home for Jackass. It all worked out because after MTV picked up the show, it was met with instant success, and it was clear right way to everyone that Jackass was a tremendous hit. Here’s how Steve-O puts it.
“Within two weeks, it was officially the highest ratings MTV had ever had, outside of VMAs or anything. It shattered all their records and presumably with less of a budget than they were used to. And they were running reruns at 5 p.m. It was crazy.”
Jackass Movies Could Go On Even If the Main Cast Changes
Jackass Forever brings back the gang for what could be the final time, as there are no concrete plans in place for a fifth installment and the cast isn’t getting any younger. With that said, Knoxville recently teased that the franchise could keep moving forward with a new cast. While he might briefly get involved with some of the less dangerous stunts, Knoxville suggested he’d be spending more time behind the camera if the movie series continues.
“I don’t know, we could do another Jackass,” Knoxville told Extra. “We have a young cast. We have a ton of ideas we didn’t even get to. But if there was another one, I would probably step back and sit next to Jeff, more times than not, behind the camera. But we could do another one, yeah.”
Jackass Forever stars Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Wee Man, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Danger Ehren, and Preston Lacy. New cast members will be partaking include Sean McInerney, Jasper Dolphin, Zach Holmes, Rachel Wolfson, Eric Manaka, and Compson “Darkshark” Wilson. The film will be released on Feb. 4, 2022.
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