“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” with Johnny Knoxville

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Jackass is back on the big screen with Bad Grandpa! Directed by Jeff Tremaine (Jackass: The Movie, Nitro Cirucs, Loiter Squad), the new comedy follows the 86-year-old Jackass recurring character, Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville), and his 8-year-old grandson, played by Jackson Nicoll, on a road trip across the country. On the way, the duo will prank as many people as possible in this hidden camera adventure. 

Recently, I was part of a conference call with Johnny Knoxville and, along with 26 other college students from universities around the country, got to ask him some questions. Mr. Knoxville was very nice and extremely funny, which is what you would expect. Bad Grandpa hits theaters today. I will be there and so will all other cool kids.

Here are some of the most interesting questions and answers from the interview:

University of Arizona: What was the inspiration for adding in this story of a grandfather taking his grandson across country and establishing this emotional connection between the two?

Johnny Knoxville: The inspiration to the narrative we came up with was Paper Moon.  You know, Peter Bogdanovich classic with Ryan O’Neal and Tatum O’Neal and he did this – the character has to drive his daughter two states over to her aunt’s house. That was the inspiration for Irving having to drive his grandson across country. It was Paper Moon.

North by Northwestern: So my question is now, you’re the grandpa the whole time and you’ve got a kid with you so it’s a little scarier.  Were there any times when you thought you might be in over your head with the prank?

JK: It’s a good question because if I’m just doing pranks as Irving on someone, then there is not as much at stake as if I have an 8-year-old next to me.  So when – before I go – if I walk up to prank someone or get the situation, I kind of size them up before I will – you know, commit to it.  And if we’re talking to someone for couple of sentences and I think this guy is probably unsafe, I just walk on. So you really have to gauge things that way.  We really had someone stay close by and pay close attention.  Like I’m that person for Jackson but we always had people ready to jump in if anything went bad.  And so, I thought we were well-covered.

NUCH1: I was wondering if you ever regretted a prank, and not just like, “Oh, I hurt my fingers”, like one that you actually, in your heart, just regret it?

JK: I’ve had instances where, man, I don’t know what that person is on or if he is in his right mind.  And I would just stop pranking him because I’m not going to – I don’t want to take advantage of anyone.  So in the moment you feel bad for momentarily being in that situation, but I’ll just end it and walk away because, you know, that’s not what we’re trying to do.  So I don’t like to get to the point where I just go through with it and feel regret – it’s just common sense, you know.

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