Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


jackass exposed

It was Thursday. It was morning. It was just beginning to feel warm.

The Gaucho Room in the St. Moritz building of the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach was swathed in a pale light that crept in past the curtains and the windows. Johnny Knoxville was just finishing his breakfast, although this was not remotely the start of his day. He has already been on 94.9 Zeta’s morning show with Paul Castronovo and young Ron Brewer, as well as taking the time to do an interview for a local TV news show.

When the little hand moved to the six and the big hand pointed between the ten and eleven, a quiet, nondescript voice beckoned us into the room. Myself, along with several other college journalists, sat down with an unusually relaxed, perhaps exhausted, celebrity. A new Hollywood star, Knoxville, has been tirelessly promoting his upcoming release jackass the movie.

From his abused blue Converse sneakers, to his hooded sweatshirt and large dark sunglasses, Knoxville is clearly intent on avoiding unwanted attention. Even his face is hidden behind wild, untrimmed facial hair in preparation for his upcoming movie role as country-rock star Gram Parsons’ manager. Graciously he has made time for us, and our questions, which he has no doubt heard hundreds or even thousands of times before.

Based on MTV’s cult-hit by the same name, jackass the movie is essentially nothing more than a 90-minute version of the controversial show. Although it opened in theaters on October 25, it is not the only topic of conversation. We recklessly covered a variety of issues from the filming of Men In Black II to television shows, music, hobbies, personal info, and of course, partying. Early on we discussed jackass and its expectations. “The main goal of the film was to make ourselves laugh,” Knoxville said.

Knoxville does not seem to be worried about the offensive nature of the material. The seats will be filled mostly by people who already know what the show was about and they can expect to see more of the same crude, dangerous, and downright stupid stunts that make jackass stand out.

When originally submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America jackass the movie received an NC-17 rating for objectionable material. Knoxville said, “They don’t tell you specifically what to take out or edit.” After a few revisions the movie was given an R rating much to the satisfaction of Paramount Studios and MTV films.

While discussing the show’s three-season run on MTV, Knoxville commented, “The critics helped the popularity of the show.” Apparently the more bad press “jackass” got, the more viewers tuned in week after week.

The show was developed back in 1996 when Johnny was a struggling reporter in California. He originally had the idea to shoot himself with pepper spray, a stun gun, a laser, and a .38 caliber handgun (with a bulletproof vest to save his precious life) and write a story about the experience. In 1997, Jeff Tremaine, editor of Big Brother Magazine, agreed to run the story if the events were videotaped. The rest, as they say, is history.

Back in those days Knoxville was aspiring to be a writer. He spent countless hours working on a novel, but he said, “once ‘jackass’ became a success it took up all of my free time.” The novel remains one of his unfinished projects.

Knoxville became a household name after his turn in this summer’s blockbuster MIB II. He played Charlie/Scrad, the sidekick to alien evildoer Serleena played by Lara Flynn Boyle. Knoxville had to act with and without a second head attached to his neck. It was sometimes big, sometimes small, and other times not there at all.

“It looked more like Christopher Lloyd than me,” he said. We can only assume that he means Christopher Lloyd when he was on “Taxi” rather than Back to the Future, or The Addams Family.

Along with his new Hollywood lifestyle, came the legendary parties. As anyone can imagine, Knoxville is no stranger to the nightlife.

Knoxville enlightened us with a gem concerning his experiences with certain naked publications and their reputations. “Playboy mansion parties are much more upscale than Hustler parties. The Hustler parties are much more down and dirty.”

With everything he has accomplished, we are sure to see more of this rising star in the future. As for the jackass franchise, there are plans for a video game, but the TV show is over. Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine, and Spike Jonze have already agreed to produce a new show for the Fox network. The show’s format remains undecided for now.

“We have lots of ideas, it’s wide open,” Johnny said.

Now that jackass the movie was number one at the box office in its opening weekend, Fox will be more likely to give Knoxville and his crew more creative freedom.

As we wrapped up this not-so-epic discussion of life, movies, and success, the down to earth star put things in perspective. He said, “I’m lucky to be doing what I’m doing.” He also noted that if he never made it big in Hollywood he’d “probably be pumping gas or something.”

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