After its premiere 10 years ago, the MTV trailer trash hit “Jackass” is still around to the surprise of everyone. The reason behind its success is its core cast which includes a group of skaters, snow boarders, and stunt men who love to make people laugh — by any means necessary. Last weekend we got the opportunity to sit down and talk with the guys from the crew while they were promoting their latest venture Jackass 3D. The group consisted of Steve-O, Ryan Dunn, Chris Ponitus, Jason “Wee Man” Acuna, Preston Lacy, Dave England, Ehren McGhehey, and director Jeff Tremaine.
If you want to know why they mutilate their genitalia and drink horse excrement on camera, check out our interview to find out…
Were you excited to start another Jackass movie, or were you dreading the experience?
Ryan Dunn: For me I was apprehensive. I didn’t know if we’d get along, it had been a while. I was unsure of the outcome but literally within a half hour of getting together with everybody I realized my assumptions were unfounded. We got back into the scheme of things, like the engine never stopped running. I actually had more fun on this movie than I did on any of the previous projects.
Dave England: He’s over there worried about if we’re gonna be friends of not still, I was worried like, “Am I going to die or end up in a wheelchair?”
RD: But see the thing is, if we’re not getting along it’s not going to be funny. It’s going to portray bad. I was more worried about making a good movie than dying. We’re all gonna die.
So what was the feeling like on set when you all returned?
Steve-O: The word is tense. It’s tense on the set you know? Because you can expect something horrible is going to happen to you and after it does you’re generally pretty happy it did. But you’re looking over your shoulder the whole time. I remember the tensity on the set just reached a fever pitch on the day that I got my nose broken.
Chris Pontius: Oh yeah, it was tense. That was too tense where it was hard to actually do the work that we needed to do.
Once you get back into the groove, how do you come up with the ideas for your stunts?
Preston Lacy: It’s a whole mixture. It started off as a group of us but now every single person writes ideas along the way. Even the camera guys or the food guys. The more we know each other the easier that is.
Who are the decision makers out of the group?
Jason “Wee Man” Acuna: We all kind of decide once something gets filmed or anything. Even when we go, we spend a little money to make something kind of big and awesome, we could spend a little money on the side of it just pranking each other that turns out way better. So then in the long run it depends on once we’re putting the movie together, what makes all of us laugh. What we think is super awesome. It’s not just one person going, “Cut that. Put that.” It’s everybody’s input on it.
PL: The laugh meter is really what does it. If everybody’s laughing, it’s going to make it.
Why are you guys so passionate about the stunts you do?
RD: I love making people laugh. Even when the camera’s aren’t on, there’s something to be said about having the ability to crack somebody up.
DE: That’s our only skill set.
Do you drink anything to loosen up before you get in front of the camera and perform?
Jeff Tremaine: The guys are never wasted during the stunts, they might get wasted right after, even buzzed. It’s been a rule forever that you don’t do stunts if you’ve partied that day. But you can do it hungover. If I know someone’s been drinking or doing something else they don’t shoot that day.
SO: There were times where I was up for something but I was intoxicated so I wasn’t allowed. Nobody wants to see us really wasted.
CP: Yeah, it looks bad. I don’t think that was ever really a big thing.
With all the pranking that goes on, is there ever a feeling of paranoia between you guys?
All: Always! Always!
Ehren McGhehey: Whenever we walk into a room we look for cameras or anything.
RD: You should have seen us 10 minutes ago. Sitting in a room for 2 hours everything was fine until like one person walks in with like a helmet and it had a camera on it. The mood changed!
DE: We show up so many times for work and they’re like, “We’re not quite ready for you guys. Just have a seat right here in this area and relax.” You can’t do it. You’re looking over your shoulder the whole time.
RD: And it comes home to. You can’t trust any of us because we’re all assholes. We’ll go the extra mile to just get one little laugh. To this day nobody from Paramount, MTV, or production know exactly where I live. I have a P.O. Box and yeah, nobody knows where I live.
Did the 3D element alter your stunt making process?
JT: It only enhanced the idea process because now 3D can write jokes. The rule was it had to be funny. It had to be a funny Jackass idea, 3D is just frosting on the cake. And it has to be funny in 2D for us to shoot it but we did definitely shot some things that were just because it’s in 3D.
Were you worried that you weren’t going to get an R rating because of the nudity and gross content?
JT: I’m tenacious and ‘no’ is not a good answer to give me. I can handle certain things but just a flat ‘no?’ There’s always a way. We’ll find a way around everything. It almost inspires me when someone says ‘no’, [I'm like] fuck that, we’re going to find a way to get this dick on the TV [Laughs].
SO: That’s what my dad always said. “No is simply a request for more information.”
Jackass 3D opens in theaters on October 15th.