Steve-O reveals his death-clause in this behind-the-scenes chat about the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD
Jackass 3 hits home on March 8, 2011 in a jam-packed unrated Blu-ray/DVD Combo with Digital Copy and a Limited Edition two-disc DVD. The entire Jackass crew returns for more sidesplitting lunacy and cringe-inducing stunts. From wild animal face-offs to pitiless practical jokes and logic-defying acts of guaranteed pain and suffering, Jackass 3 reaches new heights in the pursuit of the inventively insane.
Here is our conversation.
I was in Nashville about a month ago, when you were playing Zanies. I drove by in the morning on what had to be one of the coldest days of the year. I wouldn't have stood in that weather if God was going to be giving a one-time only set on stage. And there were these girls bundled up, sitting on the cold concrete, waiting for you. What goes through your mind when you see that you have fans who are that devoted? Do they receive any special treatment? Or do you, despite your reputation as a wild man, think even that's a little too crazy?
Steve-O: I don't know, man. I didn't know there were people there early in the morning. It doesn't make a lot of sense why they would be. It's not the kind of thing where they wouldn't have seen me. They could have gotten to the club right before the show. There are a lot of people waiting when I show up at the club. They are standing out there with different stuff they want me to sign. But I don't know, man. It is definitely an honor to have such dedicated fans. That is what I have always wanted. I was doing an interview right before this, and the guy ask the question, "Is it ever too much? Do you ever get sick of being recognized? And being asked for pictures? Being constantly asked dumb questions, and stuff?" I told him about a time about ten years ago. I was at Spring Break, and it was the first time I had ever been swarmed by huge crowds of people. I wound up in a V.I.P. section, sitting next to this humongous professional wrestler. I said, "Man, one more picture! One more autograph! I am going to snap. I am totally over it!" This guy just looked at me and shook his head. He said, "Stop and think about a day when no one ever wants another picture or another autograph." That really got through to me. Whenever it becomes overwhelming, it really helps to think about a time when nobody ever cares again. Clearly, that is more disturbing than being swarmed by thousands of people. I'd say that the same philosophy applies. It is something to be super grateful for, man.
One of the funnier things I've seen recently was your unexpected appearance on Hollywood Treasures. Did you know they were shooting that show when you wondered up there with those soiled underwear?
Steve-O: Yeah, yeah, yeah...Right! I did know what was going on. I have a friend that works on that show. He told me about the auction. So I just rolled up, and it was all pretty organic. I knew that the auction was there, that is why I brought that chewed up bikini with me. I didn't know what it would be like when I got there. I was expecting more to get an actual appraisal. I think the Cheetahs are worth quite a bit of money. But they told me they had no appraisal for me. That it was a Charity auction that they were trying to get me to donate them to. I wouldn't feel right about selling the Cheetah bikini for money. Not for my own profit. Clearly, if I do part with it, it has to be for charity. These guys just didn't seem to be too hip to how much history was in that banana hammock.
They seem more into the Wizard of Oz on that show.
Steve-O:I don't know. Maybe I have delusions of grandeur. I think it's a pretty special thing, and I didn't feel like I was in the right place to get rid of it.
With Jackass, when the first sequel came about, critics kept saying that the only place this could go from there was death. Which is pretty morbid. But, luckily, it seems that 3D trumped death for part 3, and none of you guys got seriously injured or passed away during the filmmaking process.
Steve-O: I, myself, was very concerned after the second Jackass movie came out. I thought, "Oh, man...We've pushed this too far. There is no way out, we're doing that." I thought it was so outrageous that we'd never be able to top that. I remember being pretty convinced that there would never be another Jackass. I thought I'd peaked out, and I got really depressed. I ultimately spun out of control shortly after that second movie came out. When it came time to make Jackass 3D, we deliberately shifted our perspective on it. I think it was our director that put it this way. He said, "We don't need to raise the bar. It's not about out doing ourselves. What its really about is keeping ourselves amused." The measure of how something is working or not is if we're all standing around, laughing. Or reacting somehow. If you think of it that way: Let's just show up to work and have a good time! If we're all amused, then it works. If we're not, then it doesn't. That's really the formula. Granted, it takes more as time goes on to keep us amused. It's the same thing, we are stuck having to out do ourselves. But if we managed to look at it as just us having a good time, then it's a whole lot easier to show up and make it happen. That's what we did. And I think that is why it turned out as good as it did.
When Jackass 3D did so well in theaters, Paramount almost put Jackass 3.5 in theaters right behind it. How does that change how you guys do this in the future? Will you just shoot Jackass 4 and 5 back-to-back, and split it up with a lesser theatrical window? Or will you still be more reserved with the material that you choose to put out there?
Steve-O: Well, it wasn't up to Paramount to get Jackass 3.5 in theaters. I know there was a call about that. But Jeff Tremaine wasn't going to let that happen. No. They are really careful with this brand. Even though Jackass 3.5 has a lot of great stuff in it. It is far and away better than Jackass 2.5 was. But still. They are protective of the brand, and they want to be really careful. I don't think anyone would agree that putting Jackass 3.5 in theaters would have been good for the brand.
I want to go back to the fact that so many people speculated Jackass 3 would only happen if someone died. Is their a contingency plan should, god forbid, one of you die on camera?
Steve-O: It wasn't until contact negotiations for Jackass 3D came around that I ever actually even made a real inquiry about what happens if someone dies, or gets paralyzed, or some other serious injury occurs. It was interesting. I had a whole conference with my business manager, my dad, and my attorney. The whole deal. What they said is that the movie studio is responsible for adhering to the workman's comp laws of California. Just like anyone else. It wasn't a question about putting a big insurance policy in place. The studio is bound by the laws of Workman's Comp in the state of California. If we get hurt or die while we are working, our employer is responsible for the bills. Then the question came, "Let's say I get paralyzed, and my family is in Florida. And we want me to get rehab treatment in Florida. Do I have to get doctors that are in California?" I was surprised to find out the leeway they give in providing treatment out of state. Based on where my family is. Which is a longer answer than you want to hear. But it is all pretty interesting. What is most interesting about it is that I waited until the third movie to even find this out.
From what I understand, when you guys did part two, you weren't exactly compensated properly for your work onscreen. Was that oversight rectified when you came back for Jackass 3D?
Steve-O: I think it's pretty incredible how little us supporting cast guys have made. We probably set some kind of record for the highest grossing number one movie while not making shit. Its counter productive for me to even discuss that. If I told you about making more than people think I make, it's like, "Ah, fuck that guy! He's got all of that money!" But then, if I talk about making less, then they say, "Oh, what a bitch. That guy ain't shit!" There is no way to land on that map and win. It doesn't make sense to talk about what you are getting paid. It never made sense. What I can say? I can say quite confidentially that I am glad I have lived this long. I don't need a whole lot. I am pretty comfortable today, and life is really good. I have no complaints.
I'm not interested in numbers. It's just like you said, you guys are the lowest paid performers doing what you do, making number one films at the box office. And that is a little bit crazy.
Steve-O: Right. It's a little bit crazy. If anything would pose a real obstacle to number four happening, it would be that very issue.
What is the inner-circle's feeling about one of you guys getting seriously injured or dieing during production, and including that in the finished movie?
Steve-O: I don't know. It's like anything else. First you get the footage, then you make that decision afterwards. A lot of times, something gnarly will happen and it just doesn't look that good on the footage. And then the other way around. We would have to wait and see what it looks like.
Where do you go from here? Are you currently working on a new TV show?
Steve-O: I am kicking around some ideas for a TV show right now. I like the idea of someone following me around while I do this ridiculous comedy tour. I do have a book coming out on June 7th. Its called Profession Idiot, a memoir. I am very happy with how that came out. And I have this comedy club tour that is bringing me all over the country. I am having a really good time with that.
Are you going to tie those two together? The book tour and the comedy show?
Steve-O: I think it makes sense to do that. Once the book comes out, and I go to a certain city to do the comedy tour, I think it makes sense to swing into a Barnes and Noble, or whatever bookstore there is, and do a book signing. I imagine that will happen. But I am not in charge of all that.
Did you write the book yourself?
Steve-O: I had help. I worked with a writer, but I was really involved. And I revised the whole thing three times. I wanted to make it me.