When Johnny Knoxville and his “Jackass” gang return to the big screen this fall in “Jackass 4,” it will mark over a decade since the release of the group’s latest film outing. That would be “Jackass 3D,” which opened in October 2010 and became a comedy blockbuster with $171 million at the worldwide box office. Knoxville spent the 10 years in between installments resistant to making a fourth “Jackass” movie but coming up with stunt ideas for another sequel anyway.
As reported in a new GQ cover story on Knoxville: “Ever since 2010’s ‘Jackass 3D’ wrapped, Knoxville had been quietly turning ideas over in his head, jotting down brief descriptions of stunt concepts and emailing himself the notes with ‘Jackass 4 idea’ in the subject line. Finally he felt himself getting the itch and asked his assistant to compile those ideas into a document.”
“It was thick,” Knoxville told GQ about the “Jackass 4” stunt ideas book. “Ten years’ worth of ideas — like, 40, 50 pages of ideas.”
With the book of ideas set, Knoxville went to “Jackass” co-creator and film director Jeff Tremaine to tell him he was ready to return for a fourth movie. Tremaine had his doubts, saying, “How are people going to take it? Like, do people want to see a bunch of middle-aged dudes kick each other in the dicks?”
Knoxville’s “Jackass” co-star Steve-O also had reservations. “I thought going into ‘Jackass 4,’ after everything we’ve been through, and everything we’ve built, all it takes is one stupid fucking accident to just erase it,” the stunt comedian told GQ. “Just turn it all into a negative. To be like, ‘Oh, these fucking dumb assholes. What did you fucking expect?’ But we went ahead and fucking did it.”
Knoxville, Steve-O, and Tremaine have all been with “Jackass” from the beginning. The original series ran on MTV for three seasons (2000-2003) and launched a film franchise that includes “Jackass the Movie” ($79 million worldwide), “Jackass Number Two” ($84 million worldwide), and “Jackass 3D” ($171 million worldwide). The film franchise also includes the 2013 release “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa,” starring Knoxville ($151.8 million worldwide).
Steve-O recently revealed that his prep for “Jackass 4” included being paralyzed from the waist down and performing the highest bellyflop into a pool of urine. Paramount is releasing “Jackass 4” in theaters October 22.