On the red carpet with Derek Freda and Johnny Knoxville (Jackass).
By roving red carpet movie analyst, Shane A. Bassett.
A hot night in Sydney town, the carpet was ruby, a boisterous crowd awaited the arrival of pop culture icon Johnny Knoxville at the Australian premiere of Bad Grandpa. First up however was Derek Freda, producer of the entire Jackass enumeration.
Shane A. Bassett – You must have the biggest profit margin of any producer that MTV, or for that matter Paramount, have?
They do well, there is no doubt about that. They don’t cost a lot and the movies become very popular.
Do you have a limited budget that you start with on these films or are they variable?
Yes, we always do have a set amount, part of the reason we get to keep doing this isn’t just because we are all nice people, it’s because the movies do so well. You want to control the budget to keep people happy.
Do Paramount Pictures executives say no you no you can’t do that or put a stop on any particular stunts, do they ever say you’re going too far?
Ahh, it’s never a no, but sometimes they say this is what you need to be conscious of or cautious of. Frankly we are all happy to hear that as we are not out to hurt anybody in the making. They have been good through the years with levels of our excess, maybe the first Jackass movie not so much (laughing). It was a whole new thing and nobody had made a movie like that so people watched us closely. Over time we have come to understand each other so we ask for a little more than they want us to do, they will ask me to do a little less and we meet in the middle.
Have you ever had a time when in real life people replicate what tricks happen in the movie, going out to attempt it themselves. Have any incidents come back to you at all?
It’s happened, less though over the years just because there is so much on the internet and whatever else. But one thing I do notice when things are copied, Jackass has become an adjective to describe anybody doing anything nuts and shooting it on a video camera. So a lot of times I find things are attributed to the movies which were never in the movies. It’s simply an instinct when you’re young to try and impress your friends. There are things we won’t shoot or won’t do simply because it seems to easy, most of the things we do now you need some help to get it done, they are not easily imitated. There are limits believe it or not.
Will you ever bring Jackass or Bad Grandpa to Australia?
We were talking about that earlier today, I’d love it. I think it could be done and we actually came down under for Wild Boys, which was amazing, what I can remember. The right time and the right place this would be an incredible place to shoot. You Aussie’s have a great sense of humour.
Johnny Knoxville is led over in my direction, he approaches smiling and sipping on a Heineken, wearing a Tom Jones signature T-Shirt under a denim jacket while waving to his fans behind me. I shake his hand and ask if Jackson Nicoll was the first choice as the grandson after you worked with him on ‘Fun Size’ or were others auditioned?
When I worked with him on Fun Size, I thought he is perfect for Jackass. Then we were developing this at the same time around the Paramount lot and we brought him in, but he’s exactly who I wanted. He’s a revelation. You’re right, he’s amazing, he’s fearless. We have done pranks with kids before and they freeze up in front of adults so we had a test prank with him lined up and ready to go, he nailed it. We had him piss his pants in public, no fear shown, he just loves doing it smartly. I might also add, he’s an intelligent boy.
How did the film come about?
Paramount suggested it eight years ago, we started kicking it around two years after that, then only recently we wrote for a solid year before (Director Jeff Tremain) and I took it to the studio.
I was hoping Irving (Bad Grandpa) would make an appearance down under.
No no, I would love Irving to be here, he would have quite a time with all the lovely Australian women running around, but no.
It would be a perfect set up for a Bad Grandpa sequel. Irving on vacation or would you like to shoot Jackass down here sometime?
I would absolutely love to film Jackass down under, you have so many things here that can kill you in Australia, more than any other country.
How long did it take to transform and do the make up daily for Irving?
Three hours, or five if I also had the chest and back on. But after the first couple of times, I wasn’t into it. You had to stand up the last two hours and it seemed like half the day was gone.
Finally, is there a particular moment in the film which is your most memorable?
The beauty pageant scene is one of the best things we have ever shot, including Jackass, same for the strip club scene, they both worked really well.
Jackass presents Bad Grandpa.Sydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.