Four years ago, Johnny Knoxville and the “Jackass” gang released their first feature film. This season, audiences can see Johnny and his boys risking their skins yet again with “Number Two.” The star of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “A Dirty Shame” and September 22’s “Jackass: Number Two” talked to MTV News about how he gets through a grueling stunt, why he won’t trash-talk Sean Penn and why you won’t see him in a Speedo.
MTV: How are you, sir?
Johnny Knoxville: Hard as a rock. Hard as the Rock. He’s pretty big.
MTV: But his name is Dwayne. How hard can he be?
Knoxville: Nah, he’s a great guy. And hard.
MTV: Is “Number Two” a renaissance for Johnny Knoxville? Why return to “Jackass” at this particular time?
Knoxville: A renaissance? [He laughs.] It’s a reformation. When we did the last one, we thought that was it, but I was filming stuff with Jeff Tremaine, the director, and he said, “If you’re doing this stuff for TV, you might as well do it for a movie.” He twisted my arm.
MTV: In an interview you did with GQ, you said you operate mostly on adrenaline and ignorance. How much of “Number Two” was adrenaline and how much was ignorance?
Knoxville: Mostly it was [painkillers].
MTV: That’s all it takes to make stunts work the way they do?
Knoxville: [Painkillers] and a loving crew.
MTV: You guys are all about testing the threshold of pain.
Knoxville: No, I don’t think so. None of us go into something wanting to test the threshold of pain. None of us like to get hurt.
MTV: So what fuels the next completely asinine stunt? How do you get yourself fueled up to get kicked in the [groin] or electrocuted?
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Knoxville: You don’t get yourself psyched up to get kicked in the [groin]; that just happens. I don’t know how the other guys get ready for a scene, but the worst thing you can do is get tense, because then you expose yourself to getting really hurt.
MTV: What would it take for you to say, “That stunt goes too far” or “I won’t do that stunt”?
Knoxville: I don’t like being cold — cold-water stuff. You won’t see me in a Speedo.
MTV: You must be like the Waco Kid from “Blazing Saddles” getting sucker-punched in bars.
Knoxville: The Waco Kid! “I shoot with my other hand.”
MTV: Everybody wants to take you down.
Knoxville: You have some unfortunate moments in bars when guys come up and punch you.
MTV: How do you react to that?
Knoxville: It’s uncomfortable. If it’s a guy, I’ll usually punch right back.
MTV: Tell us about the time you kidnapped Brad Pitt.
Knoxville: That was great. People were really freaking out, calling the police. “Oh no, he’s been kidnapped!”
MTV: So when someone like Brad Pitt decides to be on “Jackass,” do you call them or do they call you? How does that work?
Knoxville: I met Brad at Spike Jonze’s house. We were there, and he was saying he really wanted to do something with us. We were filming the last episode. At the time, we didn’t even have any ideas — just that he wanted to be on the show.
MTV: Can we expect anymore celebrity cameos in this movie?
Knoxville: Yeah, we’ve got … [he pauses]. What the hell? We’ve got John Waters in “Number Two.” That was a lot of fun. Everybody was really excited about working with him. There are some other things like that. You’ll just have to see the movie to find out.
MTV: Your movie is opening against “All the King’s Men.” What’s more painful: Sean Penn’s Louisiana accent or getting kicked in the junk?
Knoxville: I have nothing but respect for Sean Penn. I would never say anything bad about him.
MTV: We know you’re friends with him …
Knoxville: Yeah, but that’s not why. He’d kick my ass!
MTV: When is something painful not funny?
Knoxville: When you see someone fall down, everybody runs towards him. “Oh, are you OK? Are you hurt?” Getting knocked in the [groin] is somehow always funny. It just is.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Jackass: Number Two.”
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