Knoxville gets his in­ner geezer on

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

THERE is one mo­ment in Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa that a drunken Johnny Knoxville, at a club with male strip­pers and chas­ing peo­ple ‘‘like I was Godzilla’’, fell out of char­ac­ter. To trans­form into 86-year-old Irv­ing Zis­man, Knoxville had to spend three hours in the make-up chair, and a fur­ther two hours if he had to wear a fake chest and back. ‘‘And one time I went through five hours of make-up for the strip club and I didn’t even take my shirt off, be­cause by that time I was so ham­mered I for­got that I had my front and back on,’’ he says. ‘‘In that scene I did fall out of char­ac­ter be­cause I’d been there drink­ing for an hour be­fore the dancers went on and by the time I did my lit­tle dance on the red car­pet in the club, I was no longer an 86-year-old man. I was a drunk Johnny Knoxville in makeup, chas­ing ev­ery­one like I was Godzilla.’’ In Bad Grandpa, Knoxville’s oc­to­ge­nar­ian char­ac­ter, who first ap­peared dur­ing the fi­nal sea­son of Jackass on MTV, gets his own film. Un­like the Jackass films, this has a loose story, and fol­lows Irv­ing and his eight-yearold grand­son (Jack­son Ni­coll) on a prank-filled road­trip to de­liver the boy to his fa­ther. Some of those pranks, in­clud­ing the strip­per scene, have Knoxville (pic­tured) close to be­ing decked by un­sus­pect­ing mem­bers of the pub­lic, whose re­ac­tions are all filmed us­ing hid­den cam­eras. But Knoxville says he was never wor­ried. ‘‘I’m good at get­ting peo­ple to that brink of punch­ing me and then calm­ing them down, and then mak­ing them an­gry again . . . I feel pretty in con­trol,’’ he says. ‘‘Well, it’s a prick gift.’’ So far that gift has seen Bad Grandpa rake in more than $US100 mil­lion world­wide. Knoxville says stu­dio Para­mount Pic­tures ac­tu­ally sug­gested they make the movie eight years ago, but it wasn’t un­til 2011 that Knoxville fi­nally sat down with co-writ­ers Spike Jonze and Jeff Tre­maine (who also di­rected). Af­ter a year of solid writ­ing, they took the screen­play to Para­mount and the rest is his­tory. As for cast­ing, they found Knoxville’s young co-star in a Nick­elodeon film of all places. Knoxville ap­peared with Ni­coll in the 2012 movie Fun Size and ‘‘in­stantly fell in love with him’’. ‘‘I guess it was a Nick­elodeon film – I don’t know,’’ he says. ‘‘It was a film in Cleve­land, that I’m sure of. And he was seven. He just said the worst things to me and hit me in the zip­per con­stantly. . . I love him.’’ So does Knoxville, who fa­mously broke his pe­nis in a mo­tor­cy­cle stunt in 2007 and used a catheter for three and a half years af­ter­wards, wear any­thing to pro­tect him­self now? ‘‘I thought maybe – not for Jack­son be­cause he’s lit­tle – but to get a spiked cup, so the guys don’t see when they hit me,’’ he says. ‘‘But no, I didn’t wear a cup. I needed to.’’

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa is screen­ing now.

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