Jackass moves for second gross-out crown

By Marc Larocque

The movie, “Jackass: Number Two,” set for release this Friday, features the cast pushing the limits of good taste and morality, jam-packed with more raunchiness and dangerous stunts than ever.

The cast travels to more exotic locations and tangles with even more terrifying animals, but never sacrifices their trademark schtick. With ample helpings of male nudity and fecal matter, it’s clear they’re treading on familiar territory.

The Jackass crew made its name by associating themselves with outrageous acts that were grossly unappealing to the average citizen.

But during a roundtable interview with local student journalists, “Jackass” star Johnny Knoxville said the latest offering of debauchery will push the envelope even further.

From the very beginning, the plan was simple, he said. “Skip the emergency room and go right to the mortuary.”

Since the first “Jackass” movie, cast members went separate ways to develop their own projects. Some members spawned individual shows, including two hit MTV reality programs, “Viva la Bam,” which centered around the exploits of Bam Margera and his family, and “Wildboyz,” which tracks stars Steve-O and Chris Pontius as they interact with an array of dangerous animals.

Director Jeff Tremaine, who directed both “Jackass” movies and the original TV series, said Knoxville approached him this year with interest in a cast reunion.

“Four years later, basically, we were doing the ‘Wildboyz’ show in Russia, and Knoxville came,” he said. “He was so red-hot to create footage that we decided to get the band back together.”

In the new movie, the process while filming was more competitive amongst the different “Jackass” cast members than the first time, Knoxville said. Additionally, some of the pranks’ formats have even evolved to become more socially conscious, a sharp contrast to their previous shenanigans, which famously involved stapling their genitalia to their thighs and riding shopping carts into oncoming traffic.

Knoxville recalled one prank in particular, known as the “Terror Taxi,” in which cast member Ehren McGhehey put on a fake beard, dressed up as a Middle Eastern man, started speaking with an accent and then acted blatantly conspicuous to make the cab driver react with surprise and fear.

The prank quickly reverted back to familiar “Jackass” ground when it was revealed that, unbeknownst to McGhehey, the beard was actually made from the other cast members’ pubic hair and the driver of the taxi cab was a hired actor, who then proceeded to beat him down, threaten him with a gun and toss him into the trunk. After taking the car through a few donuts in the parking lot, the joke was revealed.

Knoxville said stunts like these are reflective of the more aggressive tone the cast chose to adopt.

“There are a lot of injuries in the new movie,” he said. “We got some back shit, shoulder shit, pinky shit and three guys cried. Bam cried I think three different times in the new movie.”

During one skit, Steve-O pushed a large fishhook through inches of his cheek, struggling painfully until finally piercing the other side, and then jumped off a boat into shark- infested water.

“I can’t believe I’m fishing for sharks with Steve-O as my bait,” Chris Pontius exclaimed during the stunt.

Steve-O narrowly avoided having a shark bite his leg while he was flopping around the surface and happened to kick the shark in the head.

“This movie blows the first one away,” Knoxville said. “For a while it was hard because being famous was working against us. We had to be smart and go to strange places.”

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