“Jackass Forever,” which opens in theaters Feb. 4, brings back most of the original crew from the three hit movies and 2000 MTV TV series starring Johnny Knoxville. But there was one key member of the franchise who held out, trying to negotiate for more pay from Paramount, the studio behind the “Jackass” films.
In a story in this week’s magazine issue of Variety, resident wingman and stunt performer Steve-O revealed how he tried to negotiate for a better salary on “Jackass Forever,” the fourth film in the profitable series. As the talks dragged out, Steve-O — who hosts the popular podcast “Wild Ride! With Steve-O” — went public about not signing his contract, which led to a rift between him and Knoxville.
Here’s Steve-O’s story in his own words.
Steve-O: I was in shock. I was in disbelief when I learned that Knoxville was trying to make a fourth “Jackass” movie after an entire decade of inactivity with the “Jackass” brand. The contracts have never been fun but this time around, it was even less fun.
You know, frankly, I felt that over the last 10 years that I’d really worked extremely hard to build momentum for myself as a brand in my own right. I wanted to retroactively stick up for myself. Over the course of “Jackass,” I had never so much as countered. I never pushed back. I built myself up. I deserved more now because I worked for more. When my entertainment attorney says “OK, go for it,” then I’m going to go for it.
I could have gone about it a lot more smoothly, and I didn’t. I blurted shit out during interviews that was counterproductive, so that’s what really pissed off Knoxville. We had a little rift, you know? My lawyer finally called me up and said, “Hey, take it, dude. This is going to get ugly.” It might have gone up the smallest fraction of a number. But it did not go up in any sense for me to call it a win.
And in hindsight, I don’t even feel bad about it, because I handled it poorly and I’ll own that. I own it with Knoxville. I own it with you.What can I say? I was an asshole. Since then, I gave Knoxville a call. I said, “Hey, I want to acknowledge the way I handled the whole contract situation — it was fucking bullshit, man.” I called to acknowledge it, and just put it out there that I was wrong and wanted to make it right. It was the most healing conversation that he and I had ever had. I felt emotional about it.
I’m not trying to kick up any mud or anything. The point is without fail, throughout the history of this franchise, as soon as we’ve gotten together in one place, there’s this unbelievable magical chemistry. It was not different this time. It felt more noticeable this time because I had really tried to put up that fight in the contracts.
This conversation has been edited and condensed.