‘Small Apartments’ Shows Johnny Knoxville’s ‘Sensitive Side’

From what we’ve seen of Jonas Akerlund’s “Small Apartments” it is very likely a strange, yet funny film. In other words, it’s the perfect kind of film to premiere at Austin’s annual South by Southwest Film Festival. Not to mention the intrigue surrounding the curiously colorful cast of characters the prolific music video director has assembled to fill out the ranks of his film: Matt Lucas (“Bridesmaids”), Johnny Knoxville, Juno Temple, James Caan and more.

When MTV News caught up with Akerlund, Lucas and Knoxville at SXSW recently, they talked about the film’s strange and dark elements, as well as the fact that the eclectic group of actors in the cast are all playing against type, in roles we might not expect.

“It’s a strange movie,” Lucas admitted.  “It’s a dark movie with comic undertones about a bunch of characters who live in a rundown apartment block and the character I play may or may not be the murderer of his landlord. And may or may not make good his escape. What about the character you play Johnny Knoxville?”

“I’m glad you asked me that, Matt,” Knoxville said, playfully moving the interview along without our help. “I’m kind of the pot smoking neighbor, the fly in your ointment. The under-achieving overachiever.”

“Johnny is very touching, very sensitive in this film,” Lucas described. “It’s very heartbreaking performance. I haven’t cried so much since ’Jackass 2,'” he joked.

“Yeah and by touchy he means touchy-feely on the set,” Knoxville added. “All hands.”

“Seriously it’s a very sensitive, nuanced performance,” Lucas said with sincerity this time. “And Billy Crystal is fantastic in the movie.”

Akerlund then jumped in to say that he is happy that he got most of his actors to do something they had not done before in a film.

“I think that every actor in this movie is doing something they’ve never done before,” he said. “Billy hadn’t done Idie before. Dolph [Lundgren] told me it’s the first movie he’s done since ’Rocky’ without a gun in his hand.”

What do you think of the film’s premise and stars? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter!