LOS ANGELES — Once you’ve launched bottle rockets out of your butt and allowed sharks to eat shrimp from your crotch on a 50-foot-wide theater screen, what do you do for a second act?
The anarchic idiots of “Jackass” have been pondering that question (presumably between licks of urine-filled snow cones) ever since their 2002 movie rocked the box office and, even more surprisingly, garnered the kind of critical acclaim that might inspire Lasse Hallström to save a spot in his next Oscar-baiting drama for Party Boy.
Believe it or not, the inmates aren’t always running the asylum. With “Jackass 2” coming to theaters this fall, the film’s director/ringleader, Jeff Tremaine, talked about the film’s new poster, a notorious gay-cruise billboard in L.A., Johnny Knoxville’s latest prank and the sequel stunt that nearly made him lose his lunch.
MTV: The movie’s teaser poster looks pretty sweet.
Jeff Tremaine: Yeah, it’s very revealing and whatever.
MTV: We’ve heard rumors of different sequel titles, but at this point the movie is called …
Tremaine: “Number Two.” I guess if you really saw it, it would be “Jackass 2,” but the [movie] poster is just the skull and crutches with the words “Number Two.” It doesn’t say “Jackass” anywhere on it.
MTV: This stealth advertising has also carried over to a very strange billboard that turned heads here in L.A. (Click here to see the billboard .)
Tremaine: [He laughs.] I had nothing to do with that billboard. In fact, I was probably just as surprised as anybody to see that stupid thing.
MTV: It was a cut-and-paste image of you and cinematographer Dimitry Elyashkevich advertising a gay cruise.
Tremaine: Johnny and the executive producers had some disposable cash apparently, and they thought it would be funny. … They made sure I saw it. We did a bit a long time ago called “The Convict” where Knoxville was dressed like a convict in a hardware store trying to saw his handcuffs off. The bit was never allowed to be seen, because we didn’t do things by legal standards. So the producers told me that we were gonna go down and talk to the West Hollywood Police Department because they were considering letting us use that footage. It was all just a setup to get me down there to see that f—ing billboard.
MTV: How did people react to the billboard?
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Tremaine: I’ve heard from friends who think it’s just hilarious. They all love my tribal work tattoo and the nipple ring I’m sporting.
MTV: I know animation directors have a hard time justifying their jobs. What, exactly, does a “Jackass” director do other than point the camera at these guys?
Tremaine: I’m more of a used-car salesman that constantly has to figure out which castmembers are going to do these bits and how I’m going to get them to do it. Most of what I do is instigation, consoling and convincing them this is a good idea. Then it’s a lot of patting on the back and apologizing afterwards.
MTV: So what happens to the “Jackass” gang this time around?
Tremaine: It’s all the castmembers, everyone’s back. They go through a growing-up period in this movie. [He laughs.] Nah, we kill them constantly. They lay it out there. They’re really not half-assing at any level. It’s a little filthier of a movie than last time.
MTV: What’s the one stunt you’re dying for the world to see?
Tremaine: Let’s just say Knoxville isn’t doing a great job of protecting his million-dollar face. He’s definitely laying it out there.
MTV: We heard rumors about a fake beard made out of Steve-O’s pubes.
Tremaine: It was actually made out of the whole cast and crew’s pubes. And that is a surprise to the person that it was applied to. … The cast and crew were happy to oblige, and it just got passed around. And let’s just say one of the crew members might have had crabs.
MTV: Oh, God. How about the hair-trimming camera? Will we see it in the sequel?
Tremaine: No. There are new horrifying things that attack our unsuspecting cast and crew this time. The Clipper Cam has not been brought out in this one.
MTV: Some of the best moments in the first “Jackass” movie came when the stunts made the camera crew vomit. Did anything in “Number 2” make you lose it?
Tremaine: There are a few things that repulsed me, but it takes a lot. I’ve been working with these guys forever, so it really takes something extraordinary for me to get queasy. But yes, it has been done on this movie.
MTV: You vomited?
Tremaine: I didn’t actually vomit, no, but I came close. I had to gag a little bit.
MTV: What got to you?
Tremaine: There is a sequence with some horse semen. That was a little tough to observe.
MTV: The first movie also gave us a lot of footage in Japan, where Party Boy and others got some great reactions. Where did you travel this time?
Tremaine: This one actually goes more international than the last one. We went to India. That’s the big item in this one. I would say that India is a much crazier place than Japan.
MTV: Why India?
Tremaine: The man-on-the-street stuff you have to be a little smarter about now. Almost every guy is recognizable from top to bottom now. … It’s harder to shoot out on the streets, and that’s why we choose places like India where no one knows who these guys are.
MTV: What scene from the first movie do you hear about most often, and is there anything like it this time around?
Tremaine: For me, it was trying to get Ryan [Dunn] to shove the car up his ass. This one doesn’t have that in it, but it does have a lot of horrifying things in it: ass, penis, everything.
MTV: It’s been four years. What took you guys so long to make another flick?
Tremaine: We did the last movie with the intention that that was it. We all never thought we’d be doing it again. And since then I’ve been doing “Wildboyz” and Bam [Margera] was doing “Viva La Bam.” On “Wildboyz” in particular, on our last trip we went to Russia, and Knoxville came with us and he was so outrageously willing to participate in some of the horrifying things, to the point where I had to back him off. I was like, “Johnny, if you still have this in you, if you still want to do this stuff … let’s kill you for the big screen.”
MTV: In summary, what will “Jackass: Number 2” offer the fans when it hits theaters September 22?
Tremaine: I think the stunts are bigger, and it’s a lot gayer. That’s the only way to explain it.
MTV: That’s what the people want.
Tremaine: I hope so. It’s really gay.
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