Having met through the skateboarding magazine Big Brother, where filmmaker Jeff Tremaine was the editor and art director, Steve-O and Chris Pontius started making videos of various crazy stunts with Johnny Knoxville, a writer there, for a video series that would accompany the publication. The success of those videos, showcasing their painful antics, expanded into the concept that became the television pilot for the successful MTV reality series Jackass, and now the franchise is in its third feature film installment, this time upping the ante by being in 3D.
At the film’s press day, Steve-O and Chris Pontius talked about having to be sober in order to be allowed to shoot a stunt, worrying about keeping things R-rated for the MPAA and the extreme tension on set because side pranks can happen to anyone at anytime. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
How many years has it been since you guys were all hanging out, doing this?
STEVE-O: We’ve never got too far apart, I don’t think. We got together on some other projects along the way, but it’s four years between each movie.
CHRIS PONTIUS: For Wildboyz, we traveled together for two and a half years, it seemed like.
STEVE-O: It was tense on the set because you can expect something horrible is going to happen to you. After it does, you’re generally pretty happy that it did, but you’re looking over your shoulder the whole time. I remember the tension on the set just reached a fever pitch on the day that I got my nose broken.
PONTIUS: Oh, yeah, it was tense, man. It was too tense, where it was hard to actually do the work that we needed to do.
STEVE-O: I was going around with this magnifying glass and burning people. Rockys were getting doled out. It was bad as shit, man.
PONTIUS: Usually, if you don’t get involved in these side pranks, it’s not going to really happen to you that much. It will a little bit. A friend told me that the Hell’s Angels, when they move into some neighborhood and set up a clubhouse, they don’t ever have to deal with any trouble because they set examples years before. So, whenever anyone ever did anything unnecessary back to me that was very unsportsmanlike, I would do something 10 times worse in front of everyone.
STEVE-O: It’s like prison rules. You’ve gotta prove that you’re not to be fucked with.
When you have a stunt coming up, do you have to be sober?
STEVE-O: It depends on if you’re Preston Lacy or not. I think anybody who saw our 2.5 release knows that Preston likes to get a little buzzed before certain things. But, there were some times when I wasn’t allowed to shoot. There were times where I was up for something, but I was intoxicated so I wasn’t allowed to do it. Nobody wants to see us really wasted, I don’t think.
PONTIUS: No, it looks bad. There have been a few times, like when we were in Paris for the TV show, and I got lost in Paris because I was partying all night. I was wasted and I came back to the hotel in the morning. Dave England had thrown a fit earlier in the morning because he was supposed to film some thing. The night before, he had smeared poo on Jeff’s door handle, so when Jeff came home from being out that night, he got Dave’s poo all over his hand. So, as retaliation, Jeff went into Dave’s room and peed in his bed. He couldn’t poo, but that was enough. Dave came back from being out, saw there was pee in his bed and he threw a fit and went home. He’d only been there a day. I came home from my party. I had been working for weeks before that. It was my night off. It was demanded that I film and I turned into the drunken, green nuisance, but I took it too far.
Steve-O, did you start vomiting before you even got the “Sweat Cocktail” into your mouth?
STEVE-O: Yeah, that sounds about right. I’ve got a really powerful imagination.
Did you get any of it down?
STEVE-O: I think it got there. Maybe. I don’t know. It was so sick.
Was that the worst stunt you’ve ever done?
STEVE-O: As far as the most disgusting, I’m sure that was up there, but there’s been some pretty gross stuff.
PONTIUS: You know, it’s apples and oranges, shit and puke. You can’t really compare them. They’re all gross in different ways.
Jackass is always gay friendly. Is sharing another man’s sweat the next level of that?
STEVE-O: We’re so gay friendly, and I’m glad you say that. I feel like so much of the work that we’ve done has been a deliberate attack on homophobia. We’ve been trying to rid the world of homophobia for 10 years now. Is drinking another man’s sweat a part of that? I don’t know. I think that one, in particular, was just an opportunity to vomit on the most expensive camera on the planet.
PONTIUS: If someone were to ask, “Are you worried about that being too gay?,” I’d say, “I don’t know any gay dudes that would do this.” I don’t know one gay dude that does this stuff.
Chris, was the “Helicockter” worth it for the 3D?
PONTIUS: Oh, yeah, it was worth it!
Did the 3D alter the process of shooting at all?
PONTIUS: The “Helicockter” was thought of because of the 3D, but it had to be a great stand-alone in two dimensions.
Steve-O, did you have to test and line-up the tee ball?
STEVE-O: I’m pretty sure I got that right away.
PONTIUS: We did it live on stage the other night, on Jay Leno, and it took two takes.
What do you guys do to keep fit for all these stunts?
STEVE-O: I don’t know.
PONTIUS: A little light exercise, every day.
STEVE-O: We both have dogs.
PONTIUS: Yeah, that’s really all you need. I have to hike around with the dogs. If I hike them at the same time, then they’ll fight each other, so I hike a few miles every day.
Steve-O, have you vomited out all the toxins from your system now?
STEVE-O: No. I’ve really just been a much healthier guy in everything. I’m just doing a lot of cleaner living.
PONTIUS: Less late night drinking leads to less late night snacks. Drinking definitely leads to bad eating.
While filming, was there ever any concern about keeping things R-rated?
PONTIUS: Oh, yeah. I was so worried about that because it would have been such a shame to throw away a bit because of that. I went up to Jeff the first week and was like, “Jeff, I don’t have any problem with being naked, but what if we film all this stuff and then have to cut it? Should we put a little cloth or something over my wiener? What if we film all this stuff and then they say we can’t show my wiener?” Jeff assured me that it was cool and that things had changed now.
STEVE-O: My dad always said, “No is simply a request for more information.”
PONTIUS: There’s always a loophole.