Jackass Forever is hitting theaters next month, and the original recipe players are calling it their last go-round. It’s been nearly 22 years since the Jackass series hit MTV, astounding the audience with their unbridled joy for pranking and torturing their buddies, leaving onlookers stunned with their seemingly limitless tolerance for pain.
Johnny Knoxville sat down with Variety to discuss his final stunts and the passing of what’s sure to be a torch wired with electrodes manned by a giggling pal ready to take their turn. The story starts with a bull with no sense of humor. “I was trying to do a magic trick in a bull ring,” Knoxville explains. “I wanted to prank an animal, and that’s what we came up with.” It was a great prank … on Knoxville. The bull charged him, hit him straight on and flipped him high into the air. The ever-present ambulance with EMTs on the scene rushed in.
“I get in, and they’re asking me questions,” Knoxville says. “They asked me who’s the president (in December 2020) and I couldn’t come up with it. I said Obama. Maybe because that’s who I was wishing for. ‘Please, please, Obama!’” “They’re like, ‘Nooooo!’” When it was all said and done, “I got a broken wrist, broken rib, concussion and brain hemorrhage,” Knoxville tallies up. “My family doesn’t like me doing this type of thing. This is the most wicked bull hit I’ve ever taken.”
“My cognitive skills took a couple of months to come back,” Knoxville explains. “I was walking and talking and carrying on a conversation, but I wasn’t 100% for three months. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t focus on anything, which is a problem usually, but it was really a problem. I was like a butterfly, flying around.” After the neurologist had their say, it was decided that the stunts that were to be performed by Knoxville later in the film would be shelved or left to be savored by the new pranksters. “Those were big and could end as badly,” he says. “Or worse. I’ve done enough. I don’t have anything to prove. I have kids to raise. That’s the most important thing.”
“You go back to Jackass Number Two, and I’m looking through the cracks of my fingers. Of course, once it’s over and everything is OK, it’s this wonderful thing that you’re so stoked. But when it’s happening, it f-cking sucks. And on this fourth one, it wasn’t OK.”
Nevertheless, they describe their film as “Celebrating the joy of being back together with your best friends and a perfectly executed shot to the dingdong, the original jackass crew return for another round of hilarious, wildly absurd, and often dangerous displays of comedy with a little help from some exciting new cast. Johnny and the team push the envelope even further.” Jackass Forever hits theaters on February 4.
At 50 years old, Johnny Knoxville has put his body through the ringer for the final time for this fall’s sequel Jackass 4.
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