HOLLYWOOD, California — While Johnny Knoxville may be known for screwing around, when it comes to getting down to business, lately he’s all about efficiency. The “Jackass” star just wrapped a new movie in less than 30 days.
“I just finished a film called ‘Grand Theft Parsons,’ where I play [late country legend] Gram Parsons’ road manager, Phil Kaufman,” Knoxville explained after Movieline magazine’s Breakthrough Awards ceremony, where he presented an award to skate icon Tony Hawk.
“Phil and Gram had a pact with each other that whoever died first, the other one would take them out to Joshua Tree [National Park] and burn them (see “Johnny Knoxville’s Next Flick Involves Another Gory Stunt” ). Our movie is all about Kaufman trying to make good on that pact. He stole the body from the morgue and tried to get past the cops and family and outrun everyone to Joshua Tree. It’s an insane story about two extraordinary people, and it’s all true.”
Directed by Irish filmmaker David Caffrey, the independently financed “Grand Theft Parsons” was shot in just 24 days. “We shot the hell out of it. …We were shooting eight, nine pages [of the script] a day,” Knoxville said.
The renegade shooting style was more akin to the head Jackass’ TV work than his other forays into Hollywood. ” ‘Grand Theft Parsons’ was pretty much guerilla filmmaking,” he said. “We were shooting quick and on the move. There’s no time to go back to your trailer or your box and sit. It was much in the same spirit as the way we shot ‘Jackass,’ just everyone working their ass off. ‘Men in Black II’ was a completely different story. You’re in your trailer half the day watching DirecTV. They’re both fun experiences, just polar opposites.”
“Grand Theft Parsons” also stars veteran actor Robert Forster, Michael Shannon (Greg in “8 Mile”), Marley Shelton (“Sugar & Spice”) and Christina Applegate (“The Sweetest Thing”), whom Knoxville said plays “Gram’s bitchy ex-girlfriend, who’s in pursuit of the body.
“No one got paid anything for the movie,” Knoxville added. “Everyone was just working on the project ’cause they loved the story. We were very lucky.”
Knoxville is still in shock that “Jackass: The Movie” managed to become the #1 movie in America when it was released (see ” ‘Jackass’ Pushes Its Big-Screen Competitors Downhill In A Shopping Cart” ). “It kind of blew us all away. It’s just wrong for that to be the #1 movie,” he said with a grin. “But no, we were really happy.”
Now there’s the “Jackass: The Movie” DVD to think about, which Knoxville promised will be stuffed with plenty of extras when it hits shelves next spring.
“The DVD is going to be off the hook. There’s a whole lot of extra features on the DVD. We kept the movie to 90 minutes for time purposes, but we have 30 minutes of extra footage that could have been in the film … that’s just as good as what’s in the film. Or bad, however you looked at it.
“Everyone did commentary, so I’m sure that will be really valuable,” he added with typical wit.