“Jackass” fans have plenty to celebrate in 2022, as the wait to see their favorite reality stars deliberately injure themselves on the big screen again is almost over. “Jackass Forever,” the fourth film in the MTV-series-turned-comedy-franchise hits theaters on February 4. Creator Johnny Knoxville insists it is the final, and best, entry in the series. But in a new interview with Variety, Knoxville’s longtime sideman Steve-O revealed that a snag in contract negotiations almost hindered the reunion.
Steve-O said he was “in shock” when he heard that Knoxville was planning on a fourth “Jackass” movie after a 10-year hiatus. In the years since 2011’s “Jackass 3.5,” Steve-O focused on touring as a stand-up comedian and building a popular YouTube channel. As a result, he felt entitled to more compensation for a return to his “Jackass” roots.
“You know, frankly, I felt that over the last 10 years that I’d really worked extremely hard to build momentum for myself as a brand in my own right. I wanted to retroactively stick up for myself,” the stunt comedian told Variety. “Over the course of “Jackass,” I had never so much as countered. I never pushed back. I built myself up. I deserved more now because I worked for more. When my entertainment attorney says ‘OK, go for it,’ then I’m going to go for it.”
The contract negotiation was tumultuous, but Steve-O takes responsibility for the fallout of his demands, saying “I could have gone about it a lot more smoothly, and I didn’t.” He added “I blurted shit out during interviews that was counterproductive, so that’s what really pissed off Knoxville. We had a little rift, you know?”
His requested raise did not materialize, but the allure of making a fourth “Jackass” movie proved too much for Steve-O to resist. He said the negotiations ended when “my lawyer finally called me up and said, ‘Hey, take it, dude. This is going to get ugly.'” In the end, his salary “might have gone up the smallest fraction of a number. But it did not go up in any sense for me to call it a win.”
The tense negotiation did not seem to dampen the creative chemistry that the “Jackass” crew has developed over two decades. Steve-O continues to speak well of his collaborators, saying “the point is without fail, throughout the history of this franchise, as soon as we’ve gotten together in one place, there’s this unbelievable magical chemistry. It was not different this time. It felt more noticeable this time because I had really tried to put up that fight in the contracts.”
“Jackass Forever” will be released in theaters on February 4.