The diminutive star of this 3D movie talks about his hilarious bar fight, the super-slo-mo, guest stars and much more.
Jason Acuna has been putting himself at risk for the entertainment of others far before he took on the name "Wee Man" for the popular but short-lived Jackass TV series, which ran from 2000 to 2002 on MTV. In 2002, Johnny Knoxville, Jason Acuna and the rest of the Jackass crew took their bizarre and hilarious talents to the big screen with Jackass: The Movie, followed by Jackass Number Two in 2006. Now the crew has embraced 3D technology with the audaciously hilarious Jackass 3D, which will be released in theaters on October 15 (keep your eyes peeled on the Reviews section for my review of this fantastic movie).
Over the weekend, I had a chance to sit down with the Wee Man himself, Jason Acuna, to discuss this balls-out (figuratively and, at times, literally) new movie, and here's what he had to say:
One of my favorite parts of the movie is your bar fight scene. Can you talk about where you filmed that? Did you guys use button cams for these kinds of shots?
Jason Acuna: We went to San Pedro. We talked to the owners and we said we didn't want anyone to know, but would it be cool if we filmed in your bar? The owners loved it so we went in the night before and set up surveillance cameras. Then we had one or two dudes with satchel cams and just waited until the bar was filled with daytime drinkers, just went in and went for it. We all got together and rehearsed it the night before, so we knew what we were doing and how it would go down.
It was hilarious. Every time it went to another level, it really killed in the theater.
Jason Acuna: Oh yeah. What was funny was, some of these daytime drinkers were pretty intoxicated. When we went back to get releases signed from them, they were like, 'I can't even believe that happened here. What's going on in this place?' They didn't know it was a movie that just happened in front of them. They thought they were being interviewed for a newscast. 'What just went down at the bar here, in San Pedro?' It was pretty awesome.
How often do you guys get busted in public? Johnny Knoxville's Irving character has been used several times before. Has a fan ever outed you in public?
Jason Acuna: I've never been out and about with Irving, so I haven't seen him get busted. The only time Knox and I got busted was on the last movie, when he tried to ship me, via FedEx. The guy at the FedEx place knew who he was and said, 'All right, Wee Man. Get out of the box.' Other than that, I get recognized every day and people always think I'm filming. They're always like, 'Hey, what's going on? Where's Knoxville? What's going to happen here?' I'm like, 'Well, I'm kind of just hanging out at the beach by myself. Nothing's going down.'
I heard there were some serious injuries this time. What was the most serious one and what was the most serious that you had on Jackass 3D?
Jason Acuna: I'm just kind of beat up more. I didn't break any bones or anything. I'm just beat up from being tossed around and the stuff we did. The ending, where I flip out and go over the camera, that messed me up. I had to do that like 10 times. It just wrecked me.
I also really enjoyed the end credit sequence, where they show all these old pictures of you guys. They have these old videos of Johnny Knoxville in high school doing these kinds of things.
Jason Acuna: Yeah. Even I've been doing it since then. It's funny, my 12th grade final project in my history and economic class was a video, and my buddy and I just pretty much went out and did Jackass stuff. I think we've all been doing this kind of stuff since we were young.
What kinds of things were you doing on that video?
Jason Acuna: In that video, I went around and I stood on the street with a sign that said, 'Will Leave for Five Dollars.' Then I dropped it down to $2.50. I just went skateboarding around town and we'd go, 'Do you have any Coke...-a Cola?' Just trying to get reactions out of people.
I'm actually from Minnesota and I went to high school with Seann William Scott. It was fun to see him in there with (Minnesota Vikings defenseive lineman) Jared Allen for the football bit. Do these guys approach you for guest spots like that or do you approach them?
Jason Acuna: Oh yeah. We throw out a little, "Hey, do you want to be in the movie?' for some of them. Knox was really good with Seann William Scott, because of The Dukes of Hazzard. I think they kept in contact and he said, 'Hey, we're doing the next movie. Do you want to be in it?' It's always fun to have new guys on the set. They get all pumped. 'Yeah! We're on Jackass! This is gonna be fun!'
Do you haze those guys at all?
Jason Acuna: Oh yeah. We haze them.
Will any of that stuff be on Jackass 3.5, perhaps?
Jason Acuna: I think so, yeah.
We ran a story last week about 3.5 and it will probably come out in December. Can you talk any more about what we might see on that?
Jason Acuna: I just know that there is going to be a lot of great footage in it already. We filmed enough for two movies and we used the best in this, but we still have the best of what we cut out because it was too long. That's what we'll put in 3.5, but we're also going to go, in November, and film an intro and outro to it. There's also talk of it maybe 3D on DVD and stuff because of the TV's coming out. I don't know if it will be right away, but it will be put out later because the footage is still filmed in 3D.
That's awesome. The 3D home market isn't huge right now, but it's definitely growing. The studios are starting to release 3D Blu-rays now.
Jason Acuna: Yeah, and the TV's are coming out more and more. It's like cell phones, when they first came out. They were just black and white and now you can take a video and email it to everybody. But yeah, it'll be out soon.
I read that there was a contest for the fans to come up with the craziest prank idea. I heard it just ended recently.
Jason Acuna: I don't know too much about that, because I've been doing all kinds of other things since we finished, but I did catch a glimpse of it. I don't know what went down with that.
(Interviewer's Note: At that point, we're told what the prank will be, and you can see it go down live, tonight, on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Here's exactly what we were told:
"It's going to be on the Jimmy Fallon show. They're going to play a human Operation on Ehren McGhehey. Knoxville and Fallon are going to have the Operation board game and they're going to have Ehren up on a big Operation thing and every time they mess up, they're going to zap him."
How awesome is that??? Tune into Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight to see how this stunt will go down. Oh yeah, back to the interview...)
Jason Acuna: He's going to be on Fallon doing that? That's f*&%ing awesome.
I'm definitely checking that out. Are there any other non-Jackass things that you have lined up that you can talk about? Anything in movies or TV?
Jason Acuna: No, nothing in movies or TV. I just opened up a new restaurant, Wee Man's Chronic Tacos. I'm just doing that and skate stuff. I'm actually leaving on the 19th to Europe - Italy, Germany and Kuwait - to bring a 2D version of the movie to the troops out there. Just to make them feel like they're at home, all the way over there.
Are there ideas brewing for a fourth one?
Jason Acuna: We just pretty much finished this one and we're not thinking of much else. After we finished the first one, we thought we were done. In between each one, it's been about four years, so Dave England has been saying, '2014, look out for Jackass 4D. I think we'll all be over 40 by then.
Yeah. I can't imagine you can do these too often because it probably takes quite a toll on you guys.
Jason Acuna: Yeah, it does, but we're all the ones that step up and get excited about it.
After I saw the second one, I didn't think there was any way you could up the ante. Then I saw this one and, wow. For you, what part was the most fun for you to watch out of all of this?
Jason Acuna: For me, it's the intro and the outro. In all the movies, they've always been good. They're choreographed, we spend some time on them and we make them awesome. On the second movie, we all had to learn how to dance. This film, we all had to learn how to be relaxed and take blows. Those are my favorite parts because, the Jackass parts we're always going to be able to film however and whenever.
Jason Acuna: Oh, dude, it's awesome. My whole face gets hits with a fish, and you see my whole face move back.
Jason Acuna: Yeah, he caught me early in the beginning, but we didn't have the Phantom camera then, so we didn't use it. It will probably be on 3.5 though. They caught me where they said, 'Yeah, come sit on this ball. We want the ball to explode and you look funny falling.' So I just sat there and looked at the camera acting like I was talking, and he came up and f*&^ing got me. He splashed me and then turned, broke the sunglasses off my face. It was a good one, but it wasn't Phantom camera good. That's the reason it didn't get used.
All of the Jackass fans will head out to see this, I'm sure. For those who might be on the fence about Jackass 3D, though, what would you like to say about why they should check the movie out this weekend?
Jason Acuna: I'll tell you this. If you are ready for it, we have made the best Jackass film ever and the best 3D film ever. You can experience both at the same time. People at the water cooler will be talking about it on Monday morning and you want to be the one who knows about it, and not just hear about it.
Well, that's about all I have for you. Thanks so much, Jason. I really loved the movie.
Jason Acuna: Thank you very much for having me.
Make sure to check out Jason Acuna, Johnny Knoxville and the rest of this crazy crew when Jackass 3D hits theaters nationwide on October 15. And also look for my full review in the next few days as well as tonight's episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for some Operation... Jackass-style.